A New Beginning

I’ve made a tradition out of avoiding New Year’s Eve celebrations. It’s not the parties I particularly mind, but the sense of impending doom that comes with it: The notion that this is the final fling before the oppression begins.

new beginning

I’ve spent most of my adult life in San Francisco, a city with abundant opportunities to celebrate the New Year. Yet, I always hear that New Years’ gatherings are disappointing, and herein lies the answer: New Year’s Resolutions. There’s nothing worse than spending an evening with a group of people about to start a diet, a punitive exercise regime, a detox, or a fast. We obsess over our perceived flaws.

Standing on the edge of one of the year’s most significant moments—a moment of transformation—we waste it in guilt. Ashamed, we subtract from the ledger of our lives and try to convince ourselves that we’re better off without all of life’s little pleasures.

But what if we made an addition to our lives rather than a subtraction? What if we used the New Year to invite in some expansive pleasures rather than to impose stringencies?

new beginning

Adding a new pleasure into our lives implies change, a step toward fulfilling our desires. Whenever we decide to change, our environment will often support us. Remember, the initial eagerness and energy may not last, even if it’s for joy!

Challenges to a New Beginning

Here are a few common CHALLENGES in behavior change that can get in the way of bringing pleasure into our lives:

  • Time
  • Money
  • Physical effort
  • Brain cycles
  • Community/environment
  • Non-routine

Can you think of a time when you wanted to do something fun, but one of these challenges got in the way? Integration of positive change requires patience and perseverance. Unfortunately, many want instant gratification and quickly move on to something else. Yet, real, lasting inner change takes time.

In Sanskrit, the word atha means auspicious beginning, uninterrupted continuity, and an appropriate end. So, when we experience a challenge that knocks us off our pleasure path, remember atha. Every moment can be a New Year’s moment to bring pleasure into our lives.  

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