Mastering New Year Reinvention: Mimic Nature’s Natural Renewal Cycle

As the kaleidoscope of autumnal colours fall away and winter sets in, many of us feel a nagging call to hibernation. Of course, modern life doesn’t often accommodate such an extreme example of leaving the fast lane! For the achievement oriented, our instinct is likely to fight against the urge to fold in upon ourselves, but indulging a pause in that winter stillness — even if only for a moment — can offer substantial value. Undoubtedly, there is a bare honesty to this time of year that can be difficult to avoid. The question to ask as we face down that unfettered reflection of our current state of play is: why would we avoid it? Nature is giving us perfect cues to an annual opportunity for reinvention.

More Than Meets The Eye

In the natural order of things, powerful work takes place when all around us appears to be sleeping. As both the light and the temperature dims, there is more going on than meets the eye. Trees that appear undressed continue to grow beneath the soil, having shed the version of themselves that existed the year before. They are preparing to bring forth a new, improved, and more substantial iteration as soon as spring arrives. Mycelium spreads through the damp soil, making quick work of reclaiming that which no longer serves, and contributing to the loam from which new life will soon burst.

There is something to be said for stepping into harmony with nature’s rhythm — something that we can always connect with, even in the most urban of environments. Faced with such a whimsical metaphor, however, the practically minded among you are probably tapping the tabletop with impatience, wondering: but how does this translate for a human being? Without sprouting roots from our toes, how can we mimic the tree outside our window, and why would we want to?

Reasons For Renewal

At certain junctures in our lives, the drive to reinvent ourselves seems obvious. A bad breakup, illness, bereavement, a career setback, or worse might have pulled the rug out from underneath us. At others, cultural indicators tell us to commit to our “new you”, be it a milestone birthday, or an office party prompt to confess New Year’s resolutions. However sometimes the most rewarding reinventions come from an origin a little more nuanced. We might recognise that — while on paper all seems well — we are in a rut, stuck waiting for things to happen rather than facilitating change, or failing to engage our whole selves.

Rather than making New Year’s resolutions that serve as an addendum to your status quo, imagine the potential that could be manifested if you let every bad habit, choice that doesn’t serve you, or unhelpful hesitation fall away just as those crisping yellow and red leaves do. Nature returns to the drawing board each and every year without hesitation. It doesn’t cling to the season past, but learns the lessons, lets go, recharges, and then goes again. With this in mind, rather than rebelling against your inner urge to go to ground, take it as a call for introspection. When we withdraw momentarily from always pushing ahead, we can take the time to identify what we wish to manifest in the future.

The Human Variety Of Reinvention

If we imagine that our formed facade falls away with the turning of the year, and that it can be reborn in equal likeness, or with a radical new direction of growth, what might we do?

The leading notion might be that we want to be better in some way, but its also worth recognising that we might simply want to be different. Our personal projects should align with the person we want to be — and the person you want to be in 2021 might be quite different from the person you set out to be in 2020. As you introspect and envision what form your sprouting self might take, practice laying your branches bare with the following questions:

• Does the way you spend your time reflect your values? Deft execution of an immaculate timetable does not define time well spent any more than procrastination does. So, mentally clear your schedule. Rebuild it based on the things that you have to do, and the things that really matter to you. How will you use the time freed up? We recommend adding in more of the latter!

• On the scale from positive to negative, where are you perched? The person with a positive mindset experiences the world very differently from another with a pessimistic outlook. From the emotions that we feel to the ways in which we react to the world, moving this slider can be transformative. If your outlook has room to grow, identify someone whose positivity inspires you, and emulate them.

• Are you content with how you define yourself? The roles we take in life tend to come with tags: I’m a gamer, I’m a teacher, I’m a home-maker, I’m a lawyer, and so on. The great thing about such definitions is that all we need to do to change our narrative is take on a new skill. New definitions such as: I’m bilingual, I’m a great cook, I’m a programmer, or I’m an artist are only a proactive leap away.

Every time we reinvent ourselves, we grow and change. We become someone different — be it subtly or dramatically. Thinking back to that tree, we realise that this pattern is familiar. Not only is it familiar, but it’s entirely ordinary — so why wouldn’t we be able to do it for ourselves? As it turns out, reinvention is the most natural thing in the world, and knowing that is pure liberation. So, are you ready for your New Year renewal?

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