(Update: I no longer start my year on Groundhog Day. Instead, I start it on this day. But Groundhog Day is the midway point of my year, so it still holds a place of importance for me. And it’s as good a time as any to start your year too.)
In the movie Groundhog Day, Bill Murray’s character lives the same day over and over again. Eventually he gets it right and time begins to move forward again. The movie has become a cult classic and it’s one I watch every year on – you guessed it – Groundhog Day. And while I don’t start my new year on Groundhog Day any longer (I did from 2012-2015) it is still a great day to start a new year.
Why does February 2nd work as a start to the new year? There are a number of reasons why:
1. You’ll Have More Energy to Move the Right Things Forward
The thing about January is that while it is the start of the Gregorian calendar year, it comes at a time where our energy levels are at one of their lowest levels. We’ve just come out of the holiday mode, and to try to take on a new habit or resolution when we have so little in the tank is less than ideal.
So don’t do it.
Instead, take the time in January to review the time gone by, recharge your batteries, and renew yourself. You can refine plans for the months ahead and prepare accordingly. Then when Groundhog Day arrives you’ve got the energy needed to take massive action and make the right things happen.
2. You’ll Have More Space to Move the Right Things Forward
By taking the first month of the year to really refine my plans for the year, February gives you the breathing room and space needed to really propel your intentions in the right direction. The mindset of starting the new year on Groundhog Day ensures you give myself the time and space needed to develop a strategy for delivering quality work over the long haul. It will also keep you from attaching yourself to resolutions that have a strict timeline attached to them.
Oddly enough, when I began my year in February I actually started to eat healthier and exercise regularly as of early January. I didn’t attach that lifestyle change to a new year’s resolution of any sort. I just decided I needed to take steps to improve my health and fitness so that I could feel better and have the energy I needed to keep up with my personal and professional aspirations. In essence, I worked on myself during the month of January (reviewing, recharging, and renewing) and by doing so and not attaching it to any sort of specific timeline I’ve given myself the space in February to really take the ball and run with it. After all, you can move the ball forward a lot further when you have more space in front of you.
3. You’ll Have More Focus to Move the Right Things Forward
With more energy and more space, your focus will be much clearer. That means that you can really hone in on what you want to accomplish and make solid progress. You can pay better attention to your intentions, which makes them more powerful.
Attention without intention is powerless. Intention without attention is directionless. And focus is what attention and intention need to be effective. Taking January to map things out gives me the focus you need to take action as of Groundhog Day.
I don’t want to have the same year happen every year. I’m sure you don’t either. Back when I used January as the starting point for my year, that seemed to happen. Failed resolution after failed resolution. A sluggish start. Compressed for time. A year with less focus was the result. When I used February as my jumping off point for my year, I proceeded with vitality and resolve.
While I no longer being my year on February 2nd Groundhog Day is still an excellent choice to kick off your year right. You’ll want to map out plans before February, of course, but Groundhog Day marks the beginning of the execution of those plans. Because you don’t want your new year to be the same as the last year.
You want it to be better.
Put YOU first.
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