Happy New Year – Celebrate, Introspect & Progress


Finally, this year has come to an end and we gear up to face another year.
Time to take a break and celebrate!!

Ever since childhood, I had always wondered about the significance of the concept called new year. Yes, we need to celebrate regularly for some reason and who does not want to have fun irrespective of the reason or event? If celebration and enjoyment is the reason, then why not celebrate on the 1st of every month calling it “Happy New Month”? or quarterly “Happy New Quarter”? That way we can have fun more frequently. But we dont do that way. So, there must be some other reason.

Science says that the Earth completes one revolution around the Sun in 1 year which is of some significance and calls for a rejoice. Different religions have different reasons right from astrology to birth of Gods or victory of God over Demon on this day and so on. As with any ritual or religious practice, there might be some scientific or spiritual or philosophical reason behind those beliefs.

However, in my opinion, it is the time of celebration followed by introspection. It is the milestone in one’s life to look back and introspect on the events that took place and the progress he has witnessed at different levels (Personal, Philosophical, Society level etc). One of the most essential things for a human, apart from survival, is about progression. That’s what makes humans different from animals. Animals think of survival but humans think of progression as well. Had there been no progression, there would be no civilization and we would all still be in forests, hunting for food :)

How do we determine/measure progress? We measure progress by comparison and competition. But comparison/competition has taken a different meaning altogether today. It has become a means to consider ourselves superior or inferior to someone else by comparing with them. That is neither healthy nor sustainable. What is required is comparing with our own past and competing with ourselves. That is the real essence of progression.

To be able to compete with yourself, you need to introspect on a regular basis. 1 year is a reasonably good interval due to reasons related to biological, environmental (The human body & mind would have witnessed a complete cycle from summer to winter) and professional (since company roadmaps are set according to calendar years).

So the next question: What aspects of our lives do we introspect and work upon its progress? It can be at personal level, family level, community level & society level. It can be anything starting from something as small and concrete as how many pushups you can do, to something as abstract and significant as what impact your work had towards society.

Professionally, it can be about how much more productive you are in office. Intellectually, it can be about how much wisdom and experience you gained. Healthwise, it can be about how consistent you are in exercising. In terms of Charity, how much philanthropy you have done. In terms of learning, did you learn something new? Maybe a new musical instrument or maybe a new song on an instrument which you already know to play. Maybe learning to swim or learning a new sport. Maybe some new skills, techniques, programming languages etc. Some of these are measurable and some are not. But the idea is to continuously and gradually improve on all aspects.

It need not mean that you have to continuously, for example, increase your running. If you are running 5km everyday, you need not increase it every year by 2 km and end up running 45km everyday after 20 years :) . You can continue running only 5 km due to time constraints but it should become easier for you to achieve that result over time or improve your pace or add more challenges like uphill running. After reaching a certain stage, even sustaining such habits can be considered to be progression.

For techniques  & insights into developing sustainable habits to lead a smarter life, you can follow “Smart Habits”:

Of late, most of us have started taking this progression to a new extreme level called new year resolutions in which we set unrealistic goals which go in vain by Feb and leads to a feeling of guilt. An overnight transformation, although desirable might not be practical. Such things have to be taken gradually and as best effort without worrying much about the result. If our efforts are sincere and consistent, the results are bound to follow. The more the delay in result, the more sweeter it is going to be.

In the context of goal setting and progression, if you really want to achieve something, then the whole universe transpires to make it work for you. So the first step is to find out what areas you want to improve upon. Once it is done and you make up your mind, the universe will help you achieve it, but of course, your effort is very much required.

Think of what you did in 2013 and think about how to improve in 2014 and progress further. All the best.

Wishing you all a very Happy, Prosperous and Progressive New Year!!

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