January 1 - New Beginnings...or Once Again?

  Do I really want a new beginning?

I know that I always thought I did. I can remember the first day of school each year. Grasped in my arms, I would have a stack of new textbooks and new notebooks. I just knew that this year, I would NOT procrastinate; I would do my assignments daily and never have to stay up all night again.

However, I never took the time to figure out why I procrastinated in the first place, so my resolution to do it differently didn’t have much of a chance. And it never materialized…before a week or two had passed, I was behind once again.

It was quite similar when I was drinking. I would wake up each morning determined again to do it differently. “Today I will not drink,” I would declare to myself, oftentimes out loud. But I didn’t have any support in place, and because of the denial present, I chose to overlook the many negative effects that drinking had on my life. It wasn’t until a good friend pointed them out to me and a twelve-step group helped me remember them that I was successful in my quest for sobriety.

When I decided to stop smoking for the last time, I fortunately had learned (and remembered!) some effective techniques from my prior struggles. I carefully noticed each and every one of my smoking habits. When I went to light a cigarette, I would ask myself, “Why do I want this? What would I feel like if I did not have it?”

Then I made a list of all of the reasons why I wanted to be a nonsmoker, and I copied them and left them everywhere I spent any time at all. 

I trained my mind to focus on a new way of life, one that would increase my enjoyment of life and my length of life. I educated myself.

And I reminded myself that if I smoked even one cigarette, I would have to start all over, and I definitely did NOT want to do that again!

I did not begin anew. I used every experience, those that felt good and those that felt horrible, to enable me to achieve the results that I

Each morning I consciously remembered when I awoke what I wanted out of life and what I did not want any longer and why I did not want it. I remembered the pain of smoking, the embarrassment, the odor, the black lungs, shortness of breath, isolation, withdrawals, the expense, etc., etc.

Did I want a new beginning? No thank you; I needed to remember every moment of my life experience to achieve my goal of becoming a nonsmoker. It all came together perfectly to provide support for my resolution to become a nonsmoker. That was in the late 1980s, and I am grateful each and every day for the freedom that this accomplishment has afforded me.

And it is all because I remembered my life. Had I wished for a new beginning, I might still be repeating the same behavior! So on this first day of our new year, it seems a perfect time to make a list of what your life has taught you...and to keep it on your bedside table, in your car, and in front of the television. When you go to the store, carry it with you. It is your life letting you know what you want to do next…and what you want to leave behind.

Honor it, your wisdom, and a successful new year will be yours!
Happy New Year, my friends!

What new habit do you want to establish this year? What habit might you want to leave behind? What do you need to remember to support your journey? What do you imagine that your life will look like once you are comfortable with your new habit? What will life feel like as you remember the old in order to continue with the new?


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