For several years I have maintained a routine on the first day of every year. It is my special way of getting into the year even before Social Media came on board. When Social Media came on board, it didn’t change a thing. People around the world have a culture of exchanging pleasantries and we spend a lot of time doing that on the first day of the year. We make so many phone calls and send way too many text messages.
I am even aware some friends or family members that become offended when they do not get messages from you for the New Year and they have refused to send you one. They think it is a mark of respect for you to send them messages and they get a chance to respond to you. I am not saying you have done anything wrong by greeting a lot of people and calling or texting via the various social media platforms or conventional media platforms. I just do it differently and hope this can help someone to get something right as we begin the year.
When I return from church after the Cross Over service with my immediate family, one of the first things I do is to turn off my mobile phones. This isn’t just turning off internet or wifi. I turn off the phone completely for most of the day. Why do I turn off my phone? It is simple and I will share a few reasons.
The first among a few others is the fact that I usually want to spend the first day of the year reflecting on the possibilities of the New Year. The opportunities abound and the actions that I need to take are also many. It is not that I haven’t written a goal for the New Year. I mostly write my goals before the first day of the year but I still choose to shut the world out on that first day. I often take a look at my unaccomplished goals from the previous year and begin with them when writing my goals for the New Year. I add the ones that I need to continue with so my goals are usually sorted before the first day but I still take this first day of the year seriously and spend most of it reflecting and in some ways praying about the year.
When you also notice the buzz of that first day from messages, it is also a reflection of how we often get lost in the year in the middle of so much and end up accomplishing nothing or little. It does not mean that those who get into the frenzy of these messages don’t eventually get anything done but I don’t want to get into this frenzy on the first day of the year. That’s how we sometimes go into the year focusing on what other people think is important and not what we have decided is important. Many other people think it is important for you to greet or just reach out to them one way or the other. While there is nothing wrong with that, you should remember that it can also be a reflection of the year in some ways. At different times of the year, you’re simply responding to what others say is important and not what you think should be important.
My first day is to shut down the world completely for the first six to twelve hours. Sometimes I go the entire day without any communication with those outside my house. I need strength for the year. I need focus for the year. I need to brood on some things I have written and I can’t get started in the middle of the noise.
While this has worked for me, I am not pushing it out there as a principle or a rule for every other person. I am simply sharing my routine on the first day of the year and if you think this will work for you, why not? Feel free to embrace it. Let me add that this kind of activity shouldn’t be done on the first day of the year alone. We all should find time to shut down the world around us completely either for a few hours or for a few days. We need to take out time in a year and do it a couple of times just to reflect on what we have been doing and what we will be doing. I believe this will help our direction, getting out priorities right and moving forward in the right direction.