I love new beginnings. Starting a new year, chapter or phase brings with it new possibilities and hope.
Whether we want to improve our financial situation, increase our health or fitness, or simply find true love or the dream job, at the start of a new cycle we often feel that we are given another chance to realize our goals—including those we tried but didn’t achieve before. I find this space of opportunity extremely empowering and exciting.
However, in order to truly experience a fresh start we have to understand and accept the fact that new possibilities and hope exist in our own heart and mind, not in the circumstances and world out there. In fact, our ability to realize a fresh start depends on how we think and what we say. The only person who can give us a fresh start and new beginning is our self.
For example: I have a friend who has had his share of challenging circumstances. Every time I ask him how he is doing he says something to the effect of “Same day different shit!” When I talk with my friend about new possibilities and try to help him change his predicament, he is quick to push back and explain to me again and again how things just can’t be different given his circumstances. I haven’t given up on him yet, but I am definitely less inclined to engage in these conversations any longer.
Another example: in my corporate work, I often encounter people who say they are open minded but when others try to enroll them in new possibilities, they are quick to push back and provide all the reasons for why these new ideas won’t work. They refer to their point of view as pragmatic, realistic, or merely giving an accurate account of the way things are. But, most other people around them experience them as skeptical, cynical, closed-minded or often simply negative.
Sometimes in order to create a fresh start we need to let go of old perceptions about ourselves, the world, and/or those around us—especially the perceptions that have constrained our ability to improve our self or our circumstances. Sometime we need to forgive others or ourselves for past mistakes and shortfalls that we are still holding on to, or holding a grudge about. And, sometimes we simply need to change our point of view, interpretation or conclusion about past events from disempowering to empowering.
During the Christmas, break I saw the recent Woody Allen movie Magic in the Moonlight. It was a fun movie with a relevant motif to this blog. The story is about an arrogant conjuror who goes on a mission to unmask a woman posing as a mystic, who is a possible fraud. After failing to find flaw in her method the conjuror drops his cynicism and begins to believe, with a elated sense of joy, that there is more to life than meets the cynic eye … and, of course, he falls in love with the beautiful mystic woman. When later in the story the conjuror discovers that the mystic is indeed a fraud, he finds it hard to go back to his cynical views and ways because he realizes that his short-lived bliss was based on his own attitude change from cynical to optimistic, even when founded on a false premise.
In order to create a new beginning, we should also not be shy about explicitly, clearly and boldly declaring what we want and what we will achieve in the new year. The notion of striving and working toward a future state that we are looking forward to and are excited about today makes a big difference.
I wish us all a great 2015.
Photo by: Fitz Crittle