Well, friends, you survived the holidays and now it’s a new year—a fresh start—and you have a great chance to start over and begin anew. So what will it be this year? What new ideas do you have? What new places will you visit? What new adventures will you try, and what will you leave behind? What problem or issue or circumstance will you make a clean break from so you can start with a clean slate?
What? You’ve not thought about leaving the old and finding the great adventures that this new year will afford you? Wait a second, I thought you were planning on getting things done—finishing your projects and cleaning out the files to begin your day, week or month. Or (if you’re like me) you’re actively re-ordering your days to provide the right amount of time to rest so you can regroup and be renewed to take on the world.
Ah, friends, it’s a new year—a fresh start—and we need to refocus on where you’re heading.
I know the holidays are tough times for some people. For some, they are a few days of great joy and peace and love, spending time with friends and family, and for others it’s just another couple of weeks on the calendar, but no matter where you fall on the spectrum of great joy or back to work, I’m asking (now that you’re back) what’s next? Have you made a plan to accomplish something new or big or different this year? I hope so, because success takes careful planning, and I believe than anyone can be successful and accomplish great things with the right tools and mindset and a quick reflex to grab a hold of opportunity as you pass it by.
Let me remind you that even if you’ve just come through a hard season of life or love or business, I want you to see the opportunity to come alive with the joy of a fresh start in the new year, a new occasion and maybe even a new you.
I love the idea of a New Year and a Fresh Start
Recently, I was reading about how “different countries ring in the New Year and, while each culture’s New Year celebration has its own flavor, there are certain common themes. The period leading up to New Year’s Day is a time for setting things straight: a thorough housecleaning, paying off debts, returning borrowed objects, reflecting on one’s shortcomings, mending quarrels, giving alms. “
And I love the different stories of “how in many cultures, people jump into the sea or a local body of water-literally washing the slate clean.”
Many local customs stem from “a similar belief: by ending the old year with respect and beginning the new one in the way we would like it to begin, we establish our intentions for the New Year. Whether we gather together to watch the ball drop in Times Square or set off firecrackers at midnight or clink champagne glasses with our loved ones, we are acknowledging an important transition and welcoming a fresh start.”
So whether you’re going to do a polar bear jump or simply return things that you borrowed this last year, I just want to remind you that now is a good time to think about your fresh start and focus on where you are headed.
As I was talking with some friends during the holiday break, I had to provide a little comfort to a couple of them who were going through some hard times, so much so, that they really had not thought about what new adventure or fresh start they would consider this new year, and, in fact, the idea of doing anything more than crying seemed to be out of the picture.
Now I’m not a real sentimental person, so tears make me uncomfortable, especially when the person who is crying can’t tell you why they are crying. Between the staccato gasps for air and words tumbling out about love and life and loss, I sort of got the picture, but after a long day of intermittent tears (around 5:00 p.m.), I had to say… It’s okay to have a meltdown; just don’t unpack and live there.
Listen, I know that life is hard, but you’re going to be okay. Even if you don’t feel like it today, you’ll have to trust me that it will be okay, or at least okay enough to just push through, even if you think you can’t. It’s amazing what you can do when you get mad enough to make a fresh start.
My theme today is from the quote, Don’t forget that you’re human. It’s okay to have a meltdown; just don’t unpack and live there. Cry it out, and then refocus on where you are headed. And I want to add to that, since it’s the New Year, you have a clean slate to create whatever life you want. You have a clean slate to create whatever dream you have or whatever purpose you feel you need to accomplish.
The key to every successful adventure is to focus on where you’re headed: Where you’re headed now that you are divorced, where you’re headed now that you’ve lost your job, where you are headed now that the door of life closed on you has left you outside of all you’ve known and held so dear. You see, if you don’t stop and make a plan or at the very least refocus on where you’re going—if you don’t see the vast opportunity of a clean slate to create your future—you might not end up in a better place, and that will not only be a waste of time and energy, but it could also end up costing you more then you expected.
For many listening, crying may not be how you show your emotions, and that’s okay. Just promise me that no matter what you do when you come up for air after you’ve hit bottom, you will not just float along with the current, but you will reach out to someone for a lifeline to grab onto to help you find your way to the shore.
The greatest danger is, after it all melts down and leaves you with what you perceive as nothing, that you don’t just stop and wallow in the tears and anger and destruction. Most people will agree it is okay to have a meltdown. Cry it out, let it go, funnel that energy into a long run or swim—put some focus on your pain and work it out, not to your detriment, but to your healing. Once that is done and you rebound, even a little bit, keep moving in the right direction, because you’re human, and It’s okay to have a meltdown. Just don’t unpack and live there. Refocus on where you are headed, understanding that you choose to begin the new year in the way you would like it to begin or (for some listening) you are simply going to have to begin again, and that is okay.
Those who “unpack” and live in the mire of lost love or rejection or idleness have a very hard time getting back up and out there. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but, friends, life and power are very much like a vacuum, and, if you step aside, someone else will take your place. That is why you must refocus on where you are heading and at this time of year be grateful that you are in the season of new beginnings—a new year a fresh start, so don’t hang on to the old, the broken, the dirty and the sad. You are better than that! Even if you feel broken, remember, feelings are in your mind and you can change your mind at any time.
You may not believe me now, but some of you will one day be glad that you were given an opportunity to pursue your dreams. Since everything else seems to have fallen away, you’ve got nowhere to go but up from here.
Life has handed you a clean slate to start again. You are now free to dream, to hope; to become. Your wings are no longer clipped or tied. Now that you’re free, don’t be afraid to fly, friend. The cage door is open, so you can always come back and nest, but now you’ve been given the freedom to do so, ah, friend, shake out your wings and get ready to fly.
Without a doubt, many people have found their life’s love and joy, their new opportunity and hope—the wholeness and calmness of their new situation that is no longer burdened with the old, the broken, the dirty and the sad—and many of you will find it in the ashes of what was. That would never have happened if life hadn’t changed around you and you’d refocused on where you wanted to head out to. No one said it would be easy—because it never is. We’re just glad that you persevered through the hard times to see the safety of the shore and feel the breeze of a new start at a new year for a new you.