A new year should never mean a new beginning.

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The new calendar year… a time associated with celebration yet often tainted with the thought of beginning anew. As January rolls in, many of us are overcome by feelings of starting over, in correlation with forgetting of the past. Whilst new year’s resolutions should often to be employed if you believe you have the ability to become a better person, trying to forget or ignore previous life experiences would be cheating yourself.

What if those life experiences disturbed either yourself or someone close to you? Well, that makes it even more of a pivotal reason why you should not be contemplating running away from it. We all experience negativities within our lives. Whether you have lived on the street or are surrounded by riches, we all have some form of negativity within all of our lives that is, or has been, biting at our heels like fish in a lake.

But there is a glorious component of all forms of ill that I think many of us selectively ignore. The ability of us to mould our future direction based on experiencing those darker moments. Those darker days are usually the ones that help define us. Take me, for example. I have been in Cornwall for the past few days, to which this latter statement has never been more impactful. Whilst walking over the cliffs in Tintagel, I decided to walk tentatively towards the edge. In that moment, I realised I had total control of my life. I decide whether I live, or whether I die. At any given moment, sickness forbidding. At several other points in my life, if I had been looking over those cliffs, I would have contemplating walking off the side. A beautiful cinematic backdrop, ending what I would have believed to be a tragedy of a life.

I realise now the waste it would have been. Coming to terms with mental illness can be difficult, for some men especially. Many of us are taught to develop this unstoppable masculine persona, eternally living through the idea. The toxicity of which cannot be overstated. Fortunately, this appears to be changing with the times. People are becoming far more open about the struggles of mental health difficulties, which will only be further strengthened in the months and years to follow.

Here is my point. I embraced the negativity. I have come to terms with the severity to which my depression can occasionally manifest itself. I have learned to harness that emotion and put it into something constructive. Helping yourself, followed by supporting others should remain at the top of your priority list, specifically in that order. Consistently putting everyone else before yourself is selfless, but does it actually help you advance your own life goals? The answer is usually an unquestionable no. You don’t ever want to be alone at the top. However, if you never put yourself first, you will not get to the proverbial ‘top’ anyway. I want to go into a new year with a changed mindset, but that shouldn’t mean forgetting about previous decisions or mistakes. We should all use them for guidance. Regrets and bad decision making are incredible motivators which can often open many potential doors alongside lighting the path to progression.

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Success is a convoluted mistress. More like a ball of yarn rather than a unidirectional arrow. Hiccups and failures are an essential part of that process, as long as we all learn from them. They become crucial components to facilitate our progression into the best version of ourselves.

Pushing the reset button when a new year rolls around tricks yourself into trying to forget about your past and start entirely anew. If you never acknowledge previous mistakes, you’ll be prone to repeat them without even realising it. So before you tell yourself this is the time for change, make sure you look towards your past to help you sculpt and a develop your desired and promising future.

Hiccups and failures are an essential part of that process, as long as we all learn from them. They become crucial components to facilitate our progression into the best version of ourselves.

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