Abhijit BhaduriGuest Author

2017 a year of possibilities

By Abhijit Bhaduri

We are always fascinated by fresh beginnings. Every candidate who promises a new beginning captures the imagination of the voters. We will all make new year resolutions. We think of new behaviors that we will adopt as we put up a fresh calendar on the wall. It symbolizes a chance to do what we have not done before. It is an opportunity to restart a project we abandoned midway. The first day of the year seems like an unopened gift package whose contents are unknown but they never fail to trigger hope. In many countries even government agencies make known their new year resolutions.

Aspirational behaviors

What is it about the 1st day of the year that creates this desire among millions of people around the world to try to do something challenging. Religion also offers us to make a fresh start. Confessions or seeking forgiveness are two common methods by which religion infuses hope among its believers. Festivals are symbols of fresh starts. Birthdays and vacations are all opportunities that motivate us to try out aspirational behaviors.  

Mental accounting

A job change is a chance to reimagine one’s career. Life events like marriage, births and deaths of loved ones can prompt us to swear to try out new ways of living. A major life event is a chance to create a new version of ourselves.

 To try out the new behavior we have to discontinue the old patterns. A brand new notebook and pen can inspire someone to start writing a novel. A new semester, transitions from school to college and a new relationship could be triggers to try out life altering choices. Psychologists have found that our choices are altered by mental accounting periods. When we create a new marker, we create a mental balance sheet where we turn away from the old “me” and start designing a new upgraded version.

Creating a break in the way we perceive time allows us to disconnect ourselves from an imperfect self. A new mental account will allow us to distance ourselves from the past. It is no wonder that Google searches for the word “diet” and “exercise” peaks on 1st January every year. Whatever be your resolution, remember that you have many opportunities for a fresh start throughout the year. Any day that can create the feeling of a new beginning is an opportunity to complete an annual goal like an annual medical check-up.

Many opportunities many lives

If there is a behavior you wish to start or stop then this year has plenty of opportunities. You could start it on 1st January 2017 to mark the new year or on 2nd January which is a Monday. The Chinese New Year will be celebrated on January 28th. If you miss that then remember that the Bengali New Year starts on April 14. The Parsi New Year in 2017 will be on August 17. The Jewish new year will be on September 20-21.

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