Beyond the First Monday

The last Sunday of the end of year impacts me strongly. Some years it is with dread, because I am preparing myself for challenging times. Some years it is with anticipation, because I can hardly wait for momentus events. But every single year it feels like there is something extra about the night before the first Monday of the year. And, I’m not the only one who feels that way, as my social media feeds are blowing up with memes reflecting the fact that tomorrow is not just any given Monday.

But isn’t it?

Not that a new year isn’t special. I will be reminded of that specialness for weeks as I turn a 5 into a 6 and feel guilt over failing to magically develop better habits. But I just had a crazy feeling — maybe it’s not that we should look at the first Monday of the year as less special, maybe we should look at the other 51 Mondays as more special.

Over the years, I’ve been buoyed by the ‘fresh start’ endorphins that come with putting old patterns to bed and starting something new. New school years. New audits. New jobs. New homes. So why is it that I haven’t taken more advantage of every single new week and it’s new start — a chance to put aside whatever baggage I’ve created in seven days and focus on the new. A new Monday.

Probably because for me, like for most people, clinging to the baggage is easier. It sits there unless we actively force it away like a full email box or the piles of real baggage sitting in an airport after a hundred flights are cancelled. We have to pick it up and deal with it and it feels wrong to just throw it over a cliff and say, “Sorry, I thought you were a priority, but you just aren’t. I need to deal with this stuff because it matters more now.”

Wow, that sounds heartless.

But what if it’s right? What if the baggage that is piling up really is less important than the stuff ahead of you? What if it doesn’t matter that the old baggage came first? What if the only way that you can move the needle is to constantly reboot, forcing out the stuff that is stuck to make space for the stuff that is important? And what if you need to do that not just once a year but more. What if you could do that not just on the first Monday of the year but every Monday of the year?

I’m not saying anything revolutionary. I’m confident that any number of self-help books focus on using techniques to reprioritize the important and urgent items in your life. But, the idea of considering Monday not as something to be dreaded but as a trigger of a new opportunity has promise. A promise of how to think differently — and perhaps act differently — in the new year.

And every single Monday after that.

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