I was always so excited to start a new semester of school because it was as if the last one hadn’t existed. I had fresh notebooks, a clean desk, and the best of intentions to completely change my study habits overnight and become the successful student I had always intended to be. This hope for transformation has followed me into other areas of my life over the years:
A new day! I will make good nutritional choices all day!
A new week! I’ll get all of my tasks done and wrap up Friday with a neat little bow (or sturdy square knot)!
A new month! I’ll make time for all of my friends AND have plenty of space for personal reflection!
A new year! My life will be radically different; I will finally put into practice all of the changes I’ve been working on for so long!
Sound familiar? Maybe you're not quite as enthusiastic about the fresh notebook feel... I get that, but chances are you've tried to make drastic changes to your life at some point and expected a well worn leaf to suddenly turn over.
We all know that’s not how change works, and as a part of the change process, I’d like to offer you the following to consider:
What do you have to let go of in order to attain something new?
With every “intention” for the new year, whether that’s a word, goal, or resolution, we need to identify what first has to be released.
In order to reach out, open handed, to that new version of yourself, your hand must first drop what it is already holding.
This can be terrifying….
Because in the time between dropping the old and opening to the new, we are vulnerable, we have lost our security blanket of what is known and familiar and we’re not sure we will find whatever is out there waiting for us.
What if we approached the new gifts from the world the way Maz (therapy dog in training) receives her next toy?… by letting fall from her mouth the once prized, well-loved, and chewed stuffed Chewbacca… and now looking for, yearning for, and wagging excitedly for that next gift.
You want to be more courageous this year? You must let go of comfort
You desire more time in nature? You may have to let go of your routine hour in the gym
Your intention is flexibility in all things? Put away the checklist
You crave authentic communication with family members? You need to risk hurting someone’s feelings
You need to practice better self-care? You may need to stop prioritizing pleasing other people
You have to let go of what you have in order to take hold of something new.
So in every new year’s resolution, intention, or goal, maybe it is not only about adding something… but first letting go of the familiar, stepping out in trust and faith, and taking a risk to discover and receive a new possibility.
2016 is dying… 2017 is being born. What are you willing to part with in order to step into your next year of life?