I love fresh starts. Clean slates. New beginnings. Love ’em.
That’s a good thing because we’ve moved to a new place three times – two cities and even a new country – over the past 12 years. I’m well acquainted with freshening my starts and cleaning my slates. I’ve learned how moving is, indeed, a clean slate catalyst.
This must be why I love a new year. It’s our chance to begin again, to declare intentions for a new year, to resolve to do (or not do) things that will serve our mind, soul and body.
Starting a new thing can be a victim of inertia, though, can’t it? An object at rest remains at rest…a quick Physics lesson explains why it is so hard to begin. Natural law is against us.
Maybe you aren’t a “resolutions” person for this reason. Or maybe you don’t like them because your track record hasn’t been great in year’s past; you might not have a problem beginning a new habit or practice, but you have a hard time maintaining it or being consistent. So you give up and let life and all her demands alter your trajectory. Maybe you overslept and missed your daily scripture reading or you had to run errands after work and didn’t make Zumba or you had a late-night ice cream binge or you spent that money you meant to save…
And by the time March roared in, all those intentions were blown away like a dandelion’s spiny seeds. A bright, bold start scattered into the dailiness of a demanding life.
You shrug your shoulders, defeated. You resolve to renounce resolutions once and for all. You’re done with living the cliché of beginning something destined for failure.
To which I say Stop being so inhospitable to yourself!
If one of your friends confided her sense of defeat for a failed resolution would you beat her down or lift her up? You know the answer to that–you’d encourage her and tell her not to be so hard on herself. You’d remind her of what she has done not dwell on what she hasn’t.
You’d pick her up, dust her off, and challenge her to begin again.
Be hospitable to yourself. Welcome in – accept – who you are. Be kind to yourself. Be a friend to yourself.
It’s that simple, isn’t it? But simple doesn’t imply easy. In fact, I think simplicity makes us think it’s easy, and when it’s not, we give up or think it’s not worth it or doesn’t matter.
But your good intentions do matter. They’re worth your determination to begin again.
You see, I’m convinced there are two powers at work in our lives, the One who wants the best for us and the one who wants the worst. One is a friend. One is an enemy.
Listen to your friend. Hear the voice of truth in your head and heart. Let your self-talk be words of affirmation. Those things you’re doing to improve yourself are rarely totally self serving. A stronger, healthier you benefits those who love you. When you learn a new hobby or begin a new practice, the results can serve to bless others.
Have you ever thought about resolutions in that light? They are about you but they aren’t only about you!
So…if you began a fitness program in January and gave it up before the end of the month…
If you wanted to improve your photography skills but haven’t pick up anything bigger than your cell phone…
If you were determined to learn how to cook but haven’t taken the first step…
If…if…there are a thousand ifs! Let none of them have the last word!
You aren’t promised tomorrow but you’ve already begun today, so put on your Michael Finnegan and begin again.
Treat yourself the way you treat guests in your home. With kindness, generosity, and believing the best.
And do tell me what you started…then stopped…and are willing to try again.
Spring is here! January may mark a new year in fireworks, but spring’s arrival brings flower works–a perfect “show” to mark a fresh start.