New Year New luck? It's the same every year: for a few days, weeks or sometimes even months, many of us finally pluck up the courage to change something in our lives - even if it's just going to the gym regularly. When the year changes, we are more open to new beginnings. We should maintain this openness all year round.
Unfortunately, we humans are creatures of habit. We are all too happy to stay in our comfort zone. And often until it becomes not only uncomfortable, but almost unbearable. So we cling to relationships in which no one is happy for a long time or invest valuable time and energy in the job that only frustrates us day after day.
Sound familiar? Don't worry - you're not alone. There are even some scientific theories as to why we prefer to settle for dissatisfaction rather than change something in our lives. For example, the “Prospect Theory”. It means that we secretly hope that our frustration will pay off at some point. So we avoid starting anything new.
It's a bit like gambling machines that we keep throwing money into just to win the jackpot. Unfortunately, gambling is not only addictive, but often also robs us of our (financial) resources. This is where the principle of “cognitive dissonance” comes into play. Instead of admitting that we have gone in the wrong direction - for example, by throwing more and more money into the machine - we do everything we can to not fail in order to maintain the world view that is consistent with us.
The only problem is: If we live a life that doesn't suit us, then all the effort in the world won't help us. At some point we will have to admit that a change needs to be made. At the latest when your own resources are at their limit. In this context, the sociologist Annelie Keil speaks of an “unlived life” in her book “When life calls for help”. She is certain: Anyone who repeatedly denies themselves a new beginning will not only make themselves unhappy, but also sick in the long run.
Nevertheless, we often only act when we have already found ourselves in a real life crisis. The impulses that really bring us to a new beginning can be roughly broken down into two major motivators: suffering and passion. Either the suffering is greater than our evolutionary fear of the uncertainty that a new beginning brings with it - or our passion for a goal or a dream overshadows the potentially negative sides of a lifestyle.
But what are we actually afraid of? In order for something new to begin, we have to say goodbye to something old. And we humans are not designed to let go. We are hunters, gatherers and herd animals – we need companionship and a certain amount of structure and security to feel comfortable. If we now decide to start anew, we have to leave old patterns, dreams and values behind. This is often accompanied by an uneasy feeling in the gut.
But if we take a closer look, we will see that life by nature consists of a series of new beginnings and farewells. We learn to walk and stop crawling. We start working and leave school behind us. We are moving out of our parents' house to start a new phase of life in our own home...
We have everything that makes up our lives today - be it our relationships, jobs or our circle of friends - because at some point we said “yes” to a new beginning at the right moment. This means that new beginnings are something completely natural. Of course, it still takes courage to take a new path in life. But if we manage to lose the awe of new beginnings and instead see the opportunities in the new, then completely new possibilities open up.
It's like this: We all (probably) only have this one life. And life only rarely runs in a straight line. Above all, the many turns into unknown territory far from your own comfort zone are what make life special. Hardly anyone wants to know exactly where they will be at the end of 2023, right? So: If you are dissatisfied with your current life and have a dream that you don't dare to dream, then just ask yourself: Why not?