Ripples #1232: Set Yourself Free


Step out of the history that is holding you back.
Step into the new story you are willing to create.
—Oprah Winfrey, shared by Steve in Utah


Here on the cusp of the new year, my question for you is this: what do you need for yourself and our world this year? Perhaps there is some part of your life where you need to rein yourself in – impose some discipline and restraint. If so, the beginning of a new year is a good time to bring things under control. But perhaps there is also some part of your life where you need to let yourself loose – release your optimism, unlock your creativity, and unleash your enthusiasm. Maybe now is the time to stop holding yourself back. Maybe now is the time for you to discover the outer limits of what’s possible. If so, the beginning of a new year is a good time to set yourself free.
-Galen Guengerich, shared by Darcy of the West


I’ve generally avoided a big push around new year’s resolutions, both for myself and for others…but listening to a recent episode of the Hidden Brain podcast has me reconsidering my previously staunch “Just Say No” to resolutions this time of year.

Host Shankar Vedantam was chatting with How to Change author Katy Milkman on an episode called You, But Better. I was especially intrigued by their conversation around research that suggests lots of people benefit from a “fresh start” mindset around calendar milestones (new years day, birthdays, seasons, etc.). It apparently helps infuse a little extra motivation and enthusiasm to initiate changes they’ve been wanting to make.

Of course, there’s no special magic in these milestones to guarantee a change will stick. Even with a fresh start boost, we still need a decent amount of persistence and patience and pluck to make lasting changes; many people who set New Year’s resolutions in January have long abandoned their efforts by the time February rolls around.

Given that we seem to be finally, slowly, and cautiously emerging from a really rough couple of years, I wonder if this new year in particular could actually be a fabulous time for considering some changes in our work, school or life. A few people may be excited to tackle big stuff, creating an enormous burst of energy from the sheer audacity of a gigantic dream. I think most of us, though, are better off testing the waters of change with some modest tweaks to see how it goes. I’m 100% in. Are you?

P.S. It feels so exciting to start our 24th year of sending Ripples with way more than 24,000 kind souls. We’ve been through a lot, and here we are, still unleashing ripples of compassion and kindness: UROCK! ☮️💟♒️

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