Monday Author: Susanne Skinner
“Everyone gets a second chance. It’s called tomorrow.”
Everyone likes the idea of a new beginning. We know we can’t turn back the clock or unmake the dough but the notion of a clean slate appeals to all of us, mostly in retrospect. We look back and acknowledge things that didn’t go as planned, promising to get it right next time.
A new year offers us the opportunity to look ahead. Good, bad or somewhere in the middle; our lives should be viewed from the vantage point of the present, even if there is unfinished business or wrongs to be made right. Redemption is a feeling we can all relate to and the truth is we are given that option every day.
Seeing the Bigger Picture
It’s just that most of us are more likely to view the bigger picture of our lives at the start of a new year. We wake up inspired, filled with the certainty that all the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men can put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
When we were kids on the playground we yelled “do-over” to get another chance for a winning advantage. As adults, calling for a do-over doesn’t mean we are losing, it just means we are not going in the right direction. We need to leave behind what has already occurred and start again. Our plans are allowed to change.
Adulthood doesn’t magically arrive at the age of 21. It occurs in stages defined by family, school, relationships, children, careers and finances. As we navigate these passages we know we can’t reverse time to correct past actions, but we can learn from them and use the knowledge we have gained to make better decisions. It’s a different kind of do-over.
2017 offers each of us the gift of resolutions, do-overs, and second chances.
There’s no getting around it, 2016 was a tough year. We have a world that is hurting, a Twitter junkie in the White House and historically high statistics in violence, crime, drug addiction and unemployment. For the first time since 1993 the government has dropped the average life expectancy in the U.S. to 78.9 due to Alzheimer’s, cancer and heart and lung disease. But we cannot dwell here.
We must enter 2017 with a positive attitude and the resolution to be kind. How we treat each other is at the heart of every action and interaction on our planet. A single act of kindness will strengthen your immune system, sooth anxiety and produce oxytocin to reduce free radicals and inflammation. Kindness improves all types of relationships. When we are kind to each other we are also kind to ourselves.
With that in mind, here are my 2017 resolutions:
- I Will Remain Positive
I will be mindful, maintain a positive attitude and find ways to move forward. The mind must believe it can do something before it is capable of actually doing it. Negative thinking creates negative results. Positive thinking creates positive results.
- I Will Simplify My Goals
I will create goals that are meaningful, clear, achievable, and time bound. I will hold myself responsible and accountable throughout 2017.
- I Will Challenge My Beliefs
I will keep an open mind. I will challenge myself to improve my well-being and my attitude. I will challenge limitations and let go of things that weigh me down.
- I Will Practice Kindness
I will remember that the smallest act of kindness can make a big difference.
A do-over can be many things. It can be a phoenix slowly rising from the ashes or a full-force scorched-earth attack. It can be easy, but it can also be hard. When we interrupt our routine we shake ourselves out of ruts and create top down thinking to realign our goals. We consider the long term rather than the immediate, empowering ourselves to make changes.
In China, people clean their homes to symbolically sweep away the old year and usher in the new one. I like the visualization this offers both in practice and perspective. We can remove bad karma and create a space for new beginnings. Each day we receive the gift of time.
When I hear myself saying I don’t have time I realize I am making an excuse—the grown-up version of the dog ate my homework. It means I need to change my priorities. Everyone gets the same 24 hours. Time is what we make of it, and when a new year unfolds it brings all of us to a fresh start and a clean page.
Everything that happens to us is a teachable moment. Everyone we meet and every situation we encounter contributes to the learning experience called life. We are human; we rarely get things right the first time. Almost every accomplishment in our lives starts with the decision to try, and the ability to get up after a failed attempt to try again.
The only difference between an opportunity and an obstacle is attitude. A second chance is about granting ourselves and others the opportunity to grow beyond past disappointments and failures. It’s about adjusting our attitude toward what is possible.
It is human nature to believe that resolutions won’t last, do-overs are for children and second chances are rare. We believe this not because it’s true, but because we think we are not deserving of them. We learn, grow, and change because we made a promise, tried again, and were given a second chance.
This New Year belongs to each of us. Let us all live mas in 2017.