How was your 2016?
Did you have an amazing year?
Were you able to make significant progress toward your goals and move your purpose forward?
If you did!!
Congratulations on your success……a job well done….I celebrate with you and want to encourage you to keep doing what you are doing…..keep building on what you have accomplished…….keep on keeping on….keep on pushing!
Now, if your year was a little more challenging…if it didn’t quite work out the way you intended or were expecting…..…I congratulate you as well!
You know why?
The year is over!
It’s over and you never ever, ever repeat it. That’s sound like a really good reason to celebrate to me.
But look, no matter how the year ended for you,whether it was a particular awesome year or it fell short of our expectations, my hope is that you can find something valuable in what I am going to share with you over the next few minutes and that will help you to have an amazing year in 2017.
So yes, here we are, kicking off another year, it feels like it was only a short time ago, we were celebrating January 2016 but now January 2017 is well underway.
Now, I don’t know if you knew this but the month of January got its name from the Roman god, Janus.
Janus was considered to be the god of gates and doors, and had a rather unusual appearance—he had a double-faced head. Now, I didn’t say he was two faced—which is an entirely different thing! His head had two faces, each looking in opposite directions.
Many believed that he was depicted in this fashion because of the notion that gates and doors looked in two directions. In this way, one of his faces was able to look backwards while the other looked forward.
So having two faces gave Janus the ability to look to the future while at the same time look back at the past.
He had a rather ubiquitous presence in religious ceremonies throughout the year,regardless of the main deity honored on any particular occasion Janus was ritually invoked at the beginning of each one.
I am sure that made the other gods jealous but that’s just how Janus did his thing and the other gods just had to deal with it.
In his role as the guardian of exits and entrances, Janus was also believed to represent beginnings. He was frequently used to symbolize change and transitions, including the progression of the past to the future; the transition from one condition to another, or of one vision to another. He was worshiped at the beginnings of important events in a person’s life, for example marriage and birth. He was worshipped at the beginning of harvest time and planting.
The two faces represented Janus’ contemplation of the happenings of the old year while looking forward to the new one.
If you think about it, we could easily see the month of January in the same light. In a sense, January is looking back on all that happened in the year that just passed—the good, bad and the indifferent and it is also looking at the year that is ahead. It embraces the new year with all its possibilities and the opportunities that it promises.
Now, whether or not the last twelve months of your life have been remarkable, the new year is always an exciting time.
Well I’ll tell you this….it’s not because of all the excitement and celebrations of ringing in the new year
It is more because there seems to be something magical about the calendar changing……
There is something inside of us that makes us want to do better and a change in the calendar kinda connects us with that thing….whatever it is that makes us want to do better….the calendar connects us with it and gives us the idea that we can have a fresh start.
That is one of the reasons, I think, New Year’s resolutions are so popular. Our New Year’s resolution represent a way for us to quantify what we wish for ourselves. They are a means of cataloguing our personal dissatisfaction and perhaps more importantly, they are a method of erasing errors of the past year.
And the beginning of the year just seem like to good time to make a fresh start.
We can begin anew and really excel. We can have a great victory.
It gives you the idea that you can really do what your soul desires.
We can make progress—which is the key to happiness.
This is the time of year when traditionally, most people reflect on the year that has just passed and give thought to the direction they want their lives to take over the next twelve months. They contemplate the goals they want to achieve, the lives they want to impact, the personal relationships they would like to cultivate, the business contacts they want to establish, the changes they need to embrace, and ultimately the person they must become in order to make it all happen.
So, again, no matter how last year turned out for you, you now have a chance to create a new beginning.
And look, its not just about accumulating things—getting a new car , a new job, even a new relationship.
As exciting as all of those things might be, they are not going to make you happy long term if you are not growing.
As human beings we are designed for continuos growth.
If we are growing….that means we are progressing and that translates into happiness. If we are progressing that makes us fell good about ourselves and that makes us happy!
Think about when do most people feel fed up and frustrated? It’s when they feel stuck…..right?
When they feel like they are marking time. They are making a whole bunch of effort…a whole bunch of activity but still they feel like they are going nowhere or worse yet, they feel like they are moving backwards. They are regressing.
That’s when they get frustrated!
It is a much different scenario when you feel like you are making forward progress, even if the movement is small. If you are moving forward….you feel better about your prospects. You become more hopeful and as I often say, “Hope is the lifeblood of possibility.”
And that’s why even though the calendar is arbitrary, we still get so excited about the start of the year.
We look at the beginning of the year and say Yes, I can expand! I can grow! I can achieve! I definitely can start over.
Last year, last month, last week….was bad for me but it’s morning again….I can have a fresh start….I can start this whole thing over and create some new opportunities.
The question that some people might have for me is Devon….
What does starting over mean?
And can we really start over?
Is it possible? Is it really possible to start over in your career? Your relationships? Your health? Your financial situation? Your way of looking at how the world works?
The answer is unequivocally…….YES! You can always start over.
But you need six things ….I believe
Six important keys to unlock the door to an effective and successful new beginning
And what are those?
1. The first one is a personal commitment to change
Now, when I talk about commitment or being committed…I mean you have to demonstrate a willingness to do whatever it takes to fulfill and follow through on what needs to be done. You may not necessarily enjoy it….it may not be fun but when you are committed, you do it anyway!
I mean that you have to throw your all into it.
It is you saying to yourself, man, I have to take control of this process and not just kinda sit back hoping that it is going to workout.
No, no, no….that won’t work!
Too many people,I believe, stroll passively through life
They are intrigued by a whole slew of possibilities and opportunities but are not in the least committed to making any of them a reality.
I think that is why so many resolutions don’t work out and people abandon them.
They set them at the beginning at the year but there is no real commitment to go along with it…..it is more a wish list……they are saying this is my list of things I would like to happen for me this year. It would be really nice if it could happen, and they hope it works out….. and yes, they call it a resolution!
But there is one problem….one BIG problem….There is no real energy or intensity behind it!
So when someone sets a goal….have a desire or wish but there is no intensity behind it ……it tells me that they don’t really know what a resolution is!
When you RESOLVE something, you basically make a decision that this is how its gonna be.
The word decision by the way…the meaning of it’s Latin roots….”DE”….means to cut off from ….and “cide”, as in homicide, suicide,pesticide, and so on means to kill of
So when you decide….when you cut off any other way except this is how its going to be, …..when you that ……..in that moment you change your life.
To really start over …creating a new beginning for yourself so that you can take full advantage of the opportunities that you could not even imagine when the clock rolled over to start the New Year, you have to truly decide and be committed to that decision. You can’t just be interested or merely be involved in that change process.
There is a BIG difference.
If you are only interested or involved, then you take action when its convenient. When you are committed, you do what needs to be done; when it needs to be done.
They say that in a breakfast of eggs and ham, the chicken is only involved…the chicken is merely participating in the process by providing the egg that creates the breakfast but the pig? Well he is totally committed. He’s not just involved…..he is not just participating He is all in. He has literally given of himself.
You know the saying ……”if its to be, its up to me”? Well, for the pig, that’s just a mantra, he’s living it….metaphorically speaking of course.
But you get my point….right?
So whatever it is that you have decided that you need to change or work on in your life……..finance, health, relationship, career,whatever it is……..if its something you are merely interested in, or involved in then you will always procrastinate. You won’t have the fire in the belly to go get it.
You need to decide. You need to commit. Commitment creates a sense of urgency and gets you to focus on what’s important.
If you are merely interested, you make excuses. If you are just participating, you rationalize your actions or lack thereof.
Commitment says…let’s acquires some new skills. Let’s come up with some new solutions. Let’s figure a way out.
Being involved…..just participating says …..let’s wait and see what happens.
So again….commitment is making the decision that this is how it’s gonna be.
It’s “do or die.”….”sink or swim.” Use whatever saying or image you would like.
If you want to take the island, burn the boats.
Because when you burn those boats, there is no going back. You are all in and you are going to find a way to make things work.
The second key that you will need to effectively and successfully start over is
2. Aclear vision and a good plan to get you from where you are to where you want to go.
Now, what I am talking about here is a vision for what you truly want. Not what would you think you should have or would be nice to have.
Your vision is that deep down in your gut kinda of feeling
Think about it….what are some of the goals or resolutions many people have at the beginning of the year?
I am going to eat healthy….I am going to quit smoking….I am going to lose 10 lbs. and the list goes on….
Now I am not suggesting that anything is wrong with those goals…except to say that for most people, that’s not very inspiring. You see, goals like these don’t tell you what you are going to get. They only tell you what you are not going to do. They focus on what you do not want and it’s kind hard to become invigorated or inspired by that.
For some, creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but believe me it’s not!
A vision is something aspirational. It’s about what you want to create. It is something that inspires you and excites you.
Creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams—the life you feel deep in your heart that you deserve.
A vision isn’t and should not necessarily be easy to get but if it is compelling; it will be the kind of thing that makes you cant wait to get up in the morning and go after it. It creates a passion and a hunger inside of you.
Just think about a time in your life when you really wanted something. You wanted it so badly, you could almost taste it and getting it was perhaps the greatest thing you could imagine. It could be your first job after college or a career move. Maybe it’s when you were a kid and you fell in love with that hat puppy you just had to have. Whatever it is—for me, as a kid anyway, one the things that comes to me is winning that first medal, which I didn’t do until I was 14 yrs old but again, whatever those desires were….there was an intensity that came with having them! Isn’t that true?
That was all you could think about!
That is the intensity that a clear compelling vision creates!
Along with your vision though, you have to figure out the reason why it would it be important for you to have, get or create what you want.
Yes, it is one thing to create the vision but most people don’t have strong enough reasons to push them through when things get tough—when the obstacles in their way start piling up and start appearing more and more frequently.
You know those times that I am talking about, right?
Those times when money gets tight, the economy’s lagging and your plans are falling apart. The times when nothing you do seem to stick or the people around you people are discouraging you. They are telling you….”Its crazy to even think about that doing that!”….”It could never work!”
if you have strong enough reasons ….instead of giving up on your dreams, you will take whatever detours that are necessary in order to get to your goal.
We’ve all had to face those moments in our lives at one time or another…
Those times when when you are exhausted and stressed and you know you should work out. When that happens, you have to get in touch with your reasons “why”…..your motivation……your motive for action.
And to be honest, it doesn’t matter if those reasons are positive or negative.
It might be man, if i don’t work out, I’ll be overweight and my cholesterol will never go don and my blood pressure will be too high and the heart palpitations will never subside and I will always be out of breath when I walk …..so I have to make sure I work out and stay away from the pastries……whatever it is…chocolate in my case…
Whatever it is for you, as long as those reasons motivate you to take the action you need to take, then that’s all that matters. If you have a compelling vision and strong enough reasons that will push you through the tough times, you are going to be able to successfully and effectively begin anew.
A quick word of warning though…..
Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight. Envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You can’t be sitting on the sofa with a beer in your hand glancing at the game and trying to create a vision for your life.
Honestly,that wont work. It might seem cool to you….the kind of stuff you see in the movies but it simply will not work.
This is a process that requires some serious soul searching.
And this is probably the thing that makes creating a vision difficult—taking an honest look at ourselves. It demands that we be introspective and looking deep in ourselves.
And guess what?
This is the hardest work any of us could ever do! It’s difficult to peel away the layers—one after another and leave ourselves bare. Frankly most people are not willing to do it.
But the truth is, that’s exactly what we need to do….me ….you ….all of us…if we are going position ourselves to reach our full potential and ensure that this year is better than last year….that’s exactly what we need to do.
You have to invest the time to cultivate your vision.
And then you need to have a plan.You need to have a sensible plan. You need to have a good plan. Not a perfect plan. A workable plan.
Your vision is the destination and your plan is the road that takes you there.
Many years ago, I was sitting in the back of a NYC cab engaged in a lively conversation with the driver.
He gave me one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received.He said, “Plan your work and work your plan”
You see, your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations but they will forever remain in the ether if you don’t come up with a strategy—a firm, sensible plan on how you are going to actualize them. As that cab driver told me, you have to work your plan.
One of the best way I know how to start is with a review of our past experiences.
3. A process of self evaluation.
A speak about this quite often.
A process of self evaluation will give us a keen insight on specific things we need to address and include in our plans. So ask yourself the following…….
What habits did you develop over the past year that served you well?
What habits do you have now that does not support the goals and aspirations you have this year?
What was the biggest challenge you overcame last year?
What were your biggest setbacks?
What lessons did you learn from them?
The honest answers to these questions will provide you with good fodder to create a solid plan.
Yes,January 1st traditionally represents that time when most if not all of us see a chance for a fresh start. Mentally, emotionally , psychologically…….. we put aside the failures and frustrations of the old year and we look forward to the next 12 months with hope, optimism and a determination to have a better year.
But what if January 1st was everyday?
In other words, what if everyday as you woke up and rolled out of bed, you viewed the day, regardless of the failures and frustrations of the previous one, as a chance to start over again…to get it right or at least to do better? What if you were to start each day of the year with the same level of excitement and positivity that you started January 1st with?
What do you think? Do you think that would make a difference in your day?
Do you think it would affect your accomplishments for the year?
Do you think it would improve your outlook and your attitude towards life?
Here is the thing that I would like to impress upon you ….everyday represents a chance for a brand new beginning!
Each day, as someone once said is a brand new beginning upon which to draw and color you dreams.
Your challenge is to embrace that!
To see each day as a brand new beginning filled with possibilities and hope and optimism.
Now, don’t think even for a minute that I am suggesting that that each day is a nicely paved road that you just get to stroll along happily without a care in the world.
I wish it were so but life is not set up like that.
Life is designed to be be a story of achievement inspite of adversity, joy after the tears and rest after industry.
Each of us have our own circumstances and our own path to navigate. Sometimes , the day and the situations that we face are there to strengthen us, to challenge us and help us grow. Sometimes it is to offer us friendship and support and sometimes it is to give you a moment of laughter or joy.
Whatever it is,we have to learn to seize it
As the old latin phrase goes….”Carpe Diem!”
Former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said and I quote…
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
Every day, there are opportunities all around you for a fresh start, but you don’t take advantage of them…..you procrastinate….you decide to wait until tomorrow……in short….you lack the commitment.
And we discussed earlier….one of the keys to effectively creating a new beginning is to be committed. That means doing what needs to be done when it needs to be and not putting it off.
So you need to get moving man!
Don’t say you are going to do it tomorrow or next week or next month.
Before you know it…..the year has ended and you are right where you ended last year and the year before and the year before.
Remember, you impact the future through your action and inaction in the present moment.
Each day is an opportunity for us to get it right. It is a chance for us to do better than what we did the day before. That is part and parcel of the continuous growth process that we are all designed for and are meant to experience.
Now the truth is that many people will tell you that they want to start over. They want a better life but that is all they will do. Talk about it. They just will not do anything about it.
I am sure you know some of those people. They will complain about the same thing for years ….for years…….practically everyday. That is their mantra. That is their favorite song on their play list. Although every single day presents an opportunity for them to make a change, they remain there…just sitting on their hands.
For example, How many people do you know who constantly complain about their job? Or complain about their spouse or significant other? Or complain about the neighborhood they live in?
They dislike certain things about their lives but will do nothing to improve it.
They refuse to go seek a better job……or improve their skills so that they could get a better one. In fact sometimes all they need to do is type up their resume because they are already qualified for that better paying job. But do they do it?…..NO!!!
These are examples of the kinds of people who lack the commitment to change—.who just didn’t make the decision and quite frankly don’t have a clear vision of what they want or where they want to be. If you were to listen to them closely, you would realize that they are very clear on what they DON’T want ….which in itself is a big part of the problem.
The fact of the matter is that most people don’t strive for new beginnings….don’t seize the opportunity that each day present to have a new start
Let’s explore that after this quick break.
You are listening to Keep On Pushing radio….I am Devon Harris……and we’ll be right back.
Thanks for staying with us. You are listening to Keep On Pushing radio and I am your host Devon Harris
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We are talking about creating a new beginning.
We spoke about the fact that traditionally, although the calendar is arbritary, when it changes,it gives people the sense that they can have a new beginning.
I shared with you 2 important keys to successfully and effectively start over
Firstly, A personal committed to change—-being all in. Demonstrating a willingness to do whatever it takes to follow through on what needs to be done. Making a decision. Killing off any other possibility except this is how its going to be.
And the secondly, Have a clear vision of what you truly want.
It has to be something that excites you and connects you with the reasons why you want to make the change. Something that will motivate you when the going gets tough.
I also challenged you to view each day as an opportunity for a fresh start—a chance to get it right or at least to do better that the previous day. AND, when we went to break, we were about to explore WHY it is that most people are reluctant to seize the opportunity to have a new beginning
Why do you think that is?
Why would someone, although they might be doing well by most standards not want to take their game to the next level?
Or worst yet, someone who is in a less than desirable situation, why would they not want to change?
The answer comes down to an ugly four letter word beginning with F
In fact,you could look at it simply as the F word….FEAR. Some say FEAR means False Evidence Appearing Real.
They are crippled by fear. They are afraid of leaving their comfort zone.
The fear of not knowing what’s around the corner prevents them from ever, ever committing to the process of creating a new beginning.
By the way, this is true even for people who don’t like( and that is putting it mildly) people who don’t like where they are at the moment (job, relationship, anything).
They chose to stay in those situations because as unsavory as those situations are—they are still familiar, and predictable. It is still within their comfort zone.
Now, it is true that we don’t know…… can’t know with any degree of certainty what the future holds.
What we know for sure is that behind the door looking forward, lies unlimited possibilities
Successes and failures? YES!
Some ups and downs? definitely!
And even some smiles and frowns.
As we put on the persona of Janus—one face looking backwards and the other looking forward.
What we find is that the past is oftentimes easier to reflect upon because it is finite, it is done and it cannot offer any new surprises in your life.
So in a sense,the past, is easier to control; while the future seems mystical and uncontrollable.
So, the fact that the future seems mystical and uncontrollable while the past seems easier to manage, coupled with our fear of change and the unknown or our preference to stick with what we know results in most people failing to make that commitment to change ……to make the decision that from now on this is how things are going to be.
The other thing to note is that before we can have a new beginning….a fresh start, we have to have closure.
4. Many of life’s experiences call for closure.
Now when I speak of closure here,I am not speaking of finality but rather of transition.
I read somewhere recently that life is a “collage of beginnings and endings that run together like still wet paint.”
I think that is actually a good imagery to describe life experiences. There is no real abrupt ending, at least emotionally. Everything flows from one to the next.
It is this sense of completion…….like The old year transitioning into the New onethat frees us to open the door to new beginnings.
But again…..its not finality,it is a process of transitioning. It is a process of understanding of what has happened and seizing the opportunity to glean whatever lessons we can from an experience.
Hey, think about it, when you end a relationship for example…. Do you somehow erase all memory of that relationship? Try as you might in some instances….you simply cannot!
But hopefully, no matter how that relationship ended, you were able to take from it with some lessons that will allow you to have an even better relationship next time around.
When you start a new job…..you take all your knowledge and experience from the old job as you transition into your new role….correct?
So no, nothing is final in the sense that it comes to an ultimate conclusion. It is all a process of transition.
Two things you have to do to effectively brings things to a closure and create a new beginning are:
Recognize the ending.
Now, it is true that some endings can be bad…….or difficult…maybe that’s a better word……. difficult….. and in such situations many people struggle. They struggle with with ending well and letting go. For example, the end of a cherished relationship or the transition from being a full time parent to becoming an empty nester, that can leave us longing for yesterday or a little brokenhearted. As a retired athlete I know that many athletes struggle with the idea of not retiring from competition
It is tough to leave the camaraderie behind and the competitive juices are somewhat addicting.
The point I’d like to make here is that:
Whether good or bad, happy or sad, endings are all part of life and are not always a bad thing. In fact, they can be liberating and full of positive possibilities.
Even the ending of a cherished relationship, frees you up to forge a meaningful experience with someone else, especially yourself.
Likewise, you will find that ending a bad habit that has cost you years of poor health or robbed you of peace of mind is incredibly liberating.
Someone once said and I quote,”Gratitude is preventative medicine and a powerful healing balm.” end quote
Anger, bitterness , disappointment, resentment unforgiveness are such bad energies and cannot take root in a grateful heart. In the end, we do have a choice over how will respond to an ending and the kind of energy we will give off.
So, when faced with an ending, let me suggest that you make a list of all the things you are grateful for. Having an attitude of gratitude will give you the grace to move on with a healthy perspective.
While we are all different and the the details of each life are unique, regardless of how challenging and bitter some of our experiences are, being grateful will soothe the pain and help with the transition
The familiarity of the comfort zone, the sense of safety that the comfort zone offers definitely keep you from exploring and creating new things that are potentially good for you. When you hold on too tightly to the comfort zone you don’t want to change things, you don’t want to take risks and the challenge that life presents us with is this:
You don't achieve your dreams by playing it safe. You don’t improve your life by holding on to what you know like your life depends on it. You have to take risksand that doesn’t mean carelessly putting yourself in jeopardy. Risk taking is simply the necessary steps you must take in order to actively pursue your dreams. Risk-taking opens you up to a world of possibilities you have yet to consider.
Yes, stepping out and starting over can be scary but do you know what is scarier? Regret!
I encourage you to Live your life so that you never have to regret the chances you never took, the love you never let in, and the gifts you never gave out.
6.Keep On Pushing
Remember, earlier I said that as human beings we are designed for growth….continuos growth?
The truth is that you either grow or you perish…..they say you are either green and growing or ripe and rotting.
Life is not meant to be static. it’s not meant to be stagnant. It is fluid. It is dynamic…. It is ever changing and you are meant to Keep On Pushing yourself so that you can continue to grow and shape the events in your life.
You can continue to thrive amidst all of the changes that are taking place around you…you can continue to make progress…..you can continue to reach forward
Nobody reaches the pinnacle of their success because they they dropped off there.
They had to push themselves forward, through the anxieties and the fears, the obstacles and the setbacks.
And every waking day presents an opportunity for them to begin anew—pushing themselves until they do get to the mountain top.
In the end, it’s your ability to Keep On Pushing that allows you everyday to live and work towards that which you truly desire on January 1st……..to improve….to expand….to feed your soul.
I am Devon Harris.
This is Keep On Pushing radio.
Thanks for listening and as always.
Keep On Pushing!