A New Year Every Day

J.M. Elam
4 min readJan 3, 2021

It’s finally 2021, and although we know the problems of the past year won’t magically disappear, we have a bit of hope.

When the New Year begins, we take note of endings and the new beginnings buried inside them. There are other special days like this. For me, I always see my birthday as a new beginning. There are also many different holidays that present non-Gregorian markers for the end of a cycle.

Because that’s part of the magic of New Year’s Eve, it’s a marker that a cycle has ended, even if it’s just a mathematical one. The thing is that a year is 365–366 days every year. That is our calculation for how long it takes our planet to move around the sun. From one arbitrary point to the same point, it takes about 365 days.

We can start over any day that we want. Tomorrow is not New Year’s Day, but it is the beginning of 365 days. I’m not pointing this out to take away the joy and hope of New Year’s Day but to point out that you have the power to start over right now.

You don’t have to wait for another year, month, or even day. From this point on, you can make a change. You can also reset your day (month, year, etc.) if it isn’t going well. You can start over right now.

I don’t know what kind of day you’ve had by the time you found this article, but I’m going to share a way that you can make it better. It’s not the only way, but it’s something that works for me. If you want to play along, it begins like this.

1. Thoughts: Sometimes, we confuse our thoughts with our experiences. You aren’t experiencing the past right now, only remembering. You aren’t experiencing the future, only imagining. The same is true of anything outside of your physical space. You are experiencing the present, but only yours. So that leaves you here, right now, reading an article. Take a few breaths. Let the thoughts go for now.

2. Intentions: What would you like to happen, ideally? Don’t worry about whether it’s feasible yet, but believe that maybe there is a way it could happen in this world of infinite probabilities. If you want, write it down.

3. Emotions: How do you want to feel today? How do you feel right now? What can you do to feel better? If you don’t know the answers yet, look at your feelings. Don’t judge your emotions, but observe them. They aren’t you, and they don’t reflect reality, but they reflect what you believe about that reality. There isn’t any shame in that.

4. Gratitude: So now appreciate this moment for what it is. If you want to start with typical gratitude, then do it. Note anything that’s going well (even if it’s not what’s upsetting you). Next, try and appreciate this moment for what it is innately. Just be here. Actions are coming next, so don’t worry about them yet.

5. Actions: Once you’re feeling better than you were, remind yourself that you want to have a good day and want good things to happen. More importantly, remind yourself that they still can happen. Choose one task that you can do right now, whether it’s toward your goal, for self-care, or even the smallest task that you can manage. Regardless, this second is a new beginning.

New perspectives reveal possibilities that you couldn’t see before. There are quicker ways to do this. The more that you practice starting over, the faster it comes. I’ve started over with a few breaths. I’ve also started over with a day of self-care.

You can begin again. Any time you’re learning something or changing a habit, you’re going to mess up. It’s part of the learning process. Only shame will keep you down. There’s no need to give it the rest of your year, or your day, or this hour.

People often talk about forgiveness as though it’s attached to shame, but it detaches from shame. It is simply changing our minds and releasing ourselves to make new decisions and take a new path. Let yourself move on and move forward.

There is something unmistakably special about New Year’s Eve, but I don’t think we have to lose that magic. We can wield it. Here we are at a New Year and a new opportunity to begin again, grow, change, and learn. But tomorrow is also a chance. It can be a New Year Every Day.

This year, I’m sending you so much love and goodwill. Whatever you’re trying to overcome, it is possible. You deserve a good experience, and you are enough all on your own.



J.M. Elam

I'm an artist and writer in Louisville, Kentucky, in love with learning and personal growth. If each year I'm a better person than I was, it's time well spent.