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Opinion
Each Monday, Tommy Tomlinson delivers thoughtful commentary on an important topic in the news. Through these perspectives, he seeks to find common ground that leads to deeper understanding of complex issues and that helps people relate to what others are feeling, even if they don’t agree.

On My Mind: New Year's Day, Take Two (Or Three, Or Four...)

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Tim Mossholder
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Unsplash

You’re probably listening to this on the first Monday in January. And if you’re like me, you’ve already broken several New Year’s resolutions by now.

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The whole idea of resolutions is to keep us from doing things we really want to do, or start doing things we really don’t. So it’s not surprising that instead of getting up at 5:30 this morning to a healthy breakfast, you might have woken up five minutes ago and had a Diet Coke and a Hot Pocket.

Sometimes these first few days of the year are the most dangerous, because there’s a part of our brain that’s always ready to give up. And that part of your brain figures that if you’re blowing resolutions on Jan. 4, you might as well wait and start over next Monday, or next month, or next year.

But here’s the thing about New Year’s Day: It’s artificial. It’s man-made. Different cultures celebrate it on different days. It doesn’t mark anything in particular except the point where some subcommittee of the Roman Empire decided the year should start.

The calendar doesn’t control how we choose to live our lives.

I’m saying this for you, but I’m saying it for me, too. I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life, and one of my faults is that I always look ahead on the calendar to the day that will save me. There’s always some day in the future that marks where I’ll start the race. That ignores a simple fact: If I wanted to, I could start running now.

When you’re facing any problem – trying to get over any hump in your life – tomorrow is the golden day. But as anyone who’s been to AA knows, the only day that matters is today. There’s no tomorrow. There’s just a bunch of todays strung together.

So, where resolutions are concerned. If you started some this year and you’re still on track, great. But if you’ve stumbled, just remember that yesterday doesn’t matter and tomorrow doesn’t count. It’s OK to set the clock back to zero. Everybody else can have the regular New Year’s Day. This one can be yours.

Tommy Tomlinson’s On My Mind column runs Mondays on WFAE and WFAE.org. It represents his opinion, not the opinion of WFAE. You can respond to this column in the comments section at wfae.org. You can also email Tommy at ttomlinson@wfae.org.