Winter is coming, for those of us living in the northern hemisphere, bringing with more darkness and often snow and cold weather conditions. As this reality begins to set in, made more real by the appearance of frost and the end of daylight saving time, it seems natural for us to think that we’re losing sunshine and summer and pool parties and picnics and all the wonderful things we have enjoyed over the past few months.
And let’s face it, we HATE the idea of losing something, whether it is money, a particular possession, an opportunity or something else. (There are some notable exceptions like losing weight.) In fact, we even value things that we already have more than we would be willing to pay to acquire that same thing, something psychologists have labeled as the endowment effect. Perhaps it stems back to when we were more nomadic or living off the land and didn’t have the ability to have or keep many possessions, making those we did have that more precious. But from the time we are little toddlers when someone tries to take something from us, we are quick to shout out, “Mine!”
The approach of winter also is the signal that the calendar year is almost over as well. In addition to the potential excitement and anxiety of the holiday season, we may also begin to freak out because we haven’t made the progress on our goals that we intended to make. And, really, if the year’s almost over, why not just resign ourselves to the fact that we’re not going to make it and throw in the towel now?
Well, of course you’re not going to make it if you give up! Maybe it’s possible that you won’t make all of your goals, but wouldn’t you rather make more progress than less so that you can start out the new year poised to continue progress rather than starting from scratch and a place of despair and “I can’t?”
And we often think the same thing about our lives as the years pass us by. “Well, I’m 50 [or insert your age] – it’s too late for me to make a career change or to do what makes me happy.” Really? So you’d rather spend the rest of your life unhappy?
When you find yourself starting to think these ways about the end of the season or progression of your life, I’d invite you to channel your inner two-year old and shout out, “Mine!” Each day is yours. Endow it with the value that it actually deserves because it is impossible to buy another one. Each day spent bemoaning where you are is a day that you’re not growing and moving toward a place in your career, relationships, health or other aspects of life that you value.