Oftentimes, we plan to enact some kind of meaningful change in our lives “tomorrow morning” or “starting fresh the upcoming Monday” or “right at the start of the new year.” Though if you think I’m going to try and dissuade you from doing this, bringing up the age old saying of “don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today,” you’re mistaken.
From my experience, categorical life changes need to be implemented at certain times, when your body and mind are most prepared to receive them. Whether it’s giving up a bad habit, starting up a workout routine, a change of workplace, or any kind of personal transformation, choosing the right time is vital, and here’s why.
Life on Earth as a whole is subservient to a variety of cycles and rhythms, including natural ones (solar, lunar, seasonal, even time of day), calendar-based ones, and even just social cycles defined by our social norms (e.g. working five days a week, nine to five).
Any given individual’s day resembles a miniature model of that person’s life.
“Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death.”
- Arthur Schopenhauer
A profound statement, if ever there was one. Waking up is indeed a lot like birth. (By the by, if you’ve ever doubted this common advice, waking up early really is better for you.)
The morning leading up to noon then represents the most active part of one’s life, i.e. childhood, youth, learning, and the forming of character. As such, this is the best time to start something new or undertake serious changes in life.
“Each morning brings a hidden blessing; a blessing which is unique to that day, and which cannot be kept or re-used. If we do not use this miracle today, it will be lost.”
- Paulo Coelho
Weekly and monthly cycles are of a similar nature.
Chances are you’ve noticed, or perhaps read somewhere, that our levels of productivity steadily grow starting on Monday and reach their peak in the middle of the week (Wednesday or Thursday), at which point they again begin their decline. Well, the same goes for months. To make optimal use of that peak in the middle, it’s best to start out at the beginning of the cycle.
Another important pattern that affects our level of energy is the lunar cycle. The best time to start something new is with a new moon, or at least during the initial few phases (though there are exceptions, such as starting a fast, which is better done when the moon is waning during its latter phases).
So given all this, it seems like the best time of all to start something new, to take the first step into a new life, as it were, is early morning on the first of January under a new moon, right?
Not quite. There’s a bit of a “gotcha” moment here with our western calendar.
Curiously, the Chinese calendar is more accurate in this regard, since their new year starts in spring. Looking at that model, everything really comes together. After all, springtime is the seasonal indicator of a new beginning, when everything is reborn after the cold darkness of winter. Then, between spring and summer, we observe a process of growth and development. And so on and so forth. In my humble opinion, the Chinese calendar’s attachment to the lunar cycle makes it a more accurate model all around.
Based on my own observations, I can say with confidence that those who start to change their life at the start of a new cycle (e.g. on Monday) tend to make it further in their efforts than the seemingly heroic people who go about demolishing any and all rhythm in life to start immediately while ignoring all circumstances.
I’ve done that myself a few times, as a personal challenge of sorts, but most of the time, I still make it a point to introduce something new in life at the start of a cycle. It’s comfortable, it brings confidence, and it’s in balance with the universe – what’s not to like?
The takeaway? Don’t be afraid of forming a habit of starting things based on natural or social rhythms. It isn’t a sign of laziness, but rather a natural and effective approach.
Up ahead, we’ll explore habits and just how thoroughly they affect our lives. We’ll start with the bad ones, the ones that steal our valuable time on a daily basis and have thus earned from me the title of “time killers.”
The 3-Month Guide to Change is currently available for Amazon Kindle.
© 2015-2017 The Phoenix Codex by Sergei Borodin
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