My third 'New Year' of the year (On fresh starts & embracing imperfection)

By Kiley Owen, PA-C

boys in fall leaves smiling at the cameraI tend to celebrate three New Years — three distinct "fresh starts" each year. These are:

  • January 1st (of course)
  • The first Monday after Memorial Day
  • The first Monday after Labor Day 

I love fall. The weather gets cooler... The new school year starts... The relaxed days of summer come to an end, and a new beginning emerges.

While I love the relaxed, restorative nature of summer, what follows is a great opportunity to:

  • Gain a better routine
  • Get back on track if I've slipped off course
  • Make progress in important areas of my life.  

I tend to set some rather lofty goals. This is the time of year when I envision a magical new world where:

  • My life finally becomes organized. There's a place for everything, and everything is put in its place (somehow... with two young children who have other ideas).
  • Lunches, backpacks, and clothes are always prepared the night before.
  • We never run late.
  • My fitness routine is flawless.
  • Meals are healthy and home-cooked, with dinners enjoyed together as a harmonious family.

Of course, this magical world never unfolds quite the way I imagined it... because real life happens.

Things get messy, imperfect... well, real

refrigerator door with family organization systemBut even though I know the outcome won't be quite the way I envisioned it, there is a lot to be gained in the tryinglearning, and growing. It's the good old "shoot for the moon, land among the stars" scenario. 

Even if I only adopt one better habit, I've still made progress.

How about you? Is it time for a new beginning? Perhaps you too could use an unofficial "New Year" — a fresh start, with a renewed sense of hope, excitement, and motivation toward a healthier way of life.  

Embrace the imperfection as you move from inspiration (the ideal image in your head) to action (the real, non-glamorous, hard work that it takes to make positive change).

Expect to mess up. Leading a healthy life is not about having a flawless record. Falling down is not the problem — it's the failing to get back up. 

Focus on increasing your ratio of good choices, learning from setbacks, celebrating life's little wins, and letting those little wins motivate you toward bigger wins.

Wishing you a happy and healthy "New Year"!  :)

Kiley Owen is a physician assistant, blogger and preventive health enthusiast. This post — along with helpful links to other resources — originally appeared on her blog, makinghealthapriority.com.