When Is The Best Time to Start?
Beginnings are often filled with uncertainty. I want to do everything thing I can to start off on the right foot. I always used to focus on “what” when starting something new. After reading Daniel Pink’s latest book, When, I’m now going to consider “when” as well.
Daniel Pink writes, “Shifting our focus – and giving when the same weight as what won’t cure all our ills. But it’s a good beginning.” In the book, he devotes an entire chapter to beginnings: starting right, starting again, and starting together. In the final chapter, he concludes:
“I used to believe that the best way to overcome a bad start at work, at school, or at home was to shake it off and move on. Now I believe the better approach is to start again or start together.”
80+ days of the year when we can make a fresh start
Daniel Pink listed 86 days, which I include below along with my additions.
Let’s start with the two most obvious dates: New Year’s Day and your birthday.
If we miss New Year’s Day, we have eleven other chances on the first day of the month.
There are also twelve new moons each year. (Full pictured above.) We cannot physically see the moon during this first phase of the moon cycle because the moon, sun, and Earth are all on the same longitude line. Many cultures view the new moon as a symbol of new beginnings and a time to plant seeds for the harvest. If you would like to learn more from an astrological perspective, check out this article on new moons and this one on the phases of the moon, which has an adorable illustration using Oreos. To learn the dates of the new moons, click here.
There are 52 weeks a year, which means there are 52 Mondays (or Sundays depending on what you consider the beginning of the week) to start fresh.
The first day of spring, summer, fall, and winter. The seasonal equinoxes are an excellent time to start something new or to assess my current situation. Here is my seasonal review practice.
Your country’s Independence Day (more if you are a dual citizen). If you’re curious like me, here’s a list of independence days.
The first day of school or semester.
The first day of a new job.
Anniversaries of weddings or other significant events (good or bad).
A day after graduation.
The first day back from vacation.
The day you sign divorce papers.
The birth of a child.
The last day of chemo treatments.
The day you drink your last drink.
The day you get fired from a job.
The day you survive a tragic event.
How to avoid a false start with your new beginning
Have you heard of post-mortems? You analyze a situation after it’s happened to make improvements the next time. Daniel Pink suggests incorporating pre-mortems. Imagine the worst case scenario and what went wrong. How could you have prevented that? This technique is a way to make mistakes in advance rather than while the project is happening in real time. I haven’t yet used this technique, but look forward to trying it out.
For a New Beginning
I leave you with the poem, For a New Beginning, that I use in my Desire Map workshops and with my coaching clients.
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
To Bless this Space Between Us
Are you ready to design a life that feels good?
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