“There will come a time when you believe that everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”
There’s nothing worse than feeling as if you’ve reached the end of the road, as if you’ve run out of options, as if tomorrow holds no promise. There’s nothing worse than feeling trapped in the mistakes of the past or defined by the current pain those past mistakes might still be causing.
Did you ever just want a fresh start, a new beginning? If so, you aren’t alone. Why do you think that the concept of New Year’s resolutions is so perennially popular? According to the website proactivechange.com, at least 40 percent of Americans adults make at least one resolution each year.
Every year so many millions of people have a (somewhat) burning desire get in better physical or financial shape. Every year so many millions of people out there are (somewhat) determined to love and care for themselves in a more meaningful way. So many millions of people out there are sick of being dragged around by the problems—by the demons—of their past unhappiness. So many people are sick of beating their heads against the same old walls, and they’re finally ready to find a new beginning.
But is there such a thing as a new beginning, really? And if so, how can a person embark on one? To do so, must we drastically change our diet, quit our job, sell our home, renew our passport, and move to a different country?
If you’re feeling stuck and unhappy or unhealthy right now, then maybe your path to a new beginning might include one or more of the “radical” ideas mentioned above. But it certainly doesn’t have to. In fact, your new beginning can start right now without much more than a decision.
Let me repeat that. Your NEW BEGINNING can start RIGHT NOW with little more than a decision.
We all have these romantic visions in our heads of what “new beginnings” mean—of all the exotic locations and “out-of-the-comfort-zone” experiences they might involve—but we need to recognize that real new beginnings are going to mostly start, and end, with a mental and spiritual transformation. And those things can begin in our own minds—in our own zip codes—and they can begin immediately.
1.Make a decision to believe.
Believe that each day (each hour, really) is an opportunity for your new beginning. This is a very spiritual concept, and it is one that will make you happier in both the short- and long-term. It is a powerful concept, one that can lead to a true transformation in your ability to get “unstuck” from negative circumstances and patterns. The simple belief in new beginnings will push you forward to better things.
2. Make a decision to change something.
Remember, this change doesn’t have to be huge. It could be a large change—a decision to switch jobs or zip codes—but it might also be a “simple” change, a decision to exercise three evenings per week before enjoying that drink or dessert. A decision to get outdoors more. A decision to spend 30 minutes three times a week renewing an old hobby or learning a new language or instrument. A decision to compliment your spouse once each day this week. A decision to get to church or read a few devotions this week. A decision to get online and begin researching travel ideas. A decision to find daily and weekly pieces of joy even if you aren’t feeling physically or emotionally well right now, and even if you don’t have a lot of extra money. A decision to change how you think about yourself or your situation. You might say, “I’m going to forgive or love myself or others more,” or “I’m going to begin thinking about my life as a success story rather than as a tragedy or as something inconsequential.”
Today or later this week, make a decision to change one or two little things—physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.
3. Let’s pause for a moment.
If Number 1 above seemed impossible, then right now is the time to say, “I’m going to change how I think about new beginnings. They are real, and I’m living one right now, even as I read this.”
Okay, proceed to Number 4.
4. Take action.
This action will be based on the decision (or decisions) you made in Number 2. It might be reading that first chapter of an inspiring book. It might be saving that first $20 of your “relocation” or “travel” fund, or it might be making the first reduction to the medications you swallow each night or to the cigarettes you smoke each morning. It might be going for that first short walk. Again, this action doesn’t have to be huge! In fact, I think that most times the greatest transformations and journeys begin with just a small step or two. Let me give you an example from my own life. It involves something I refer to as “The Miracle Walk.”
About six years ago I was suffering through the first portions of my protracted withdrawal from the SSRI medication Paxil (as well as navigating the beginnings of my taper off the tranquilizer Xanax). I was in a lot of pain (mentally, physically, and emotionally), and motivation and locomotion seemed nearly impossible to come by. I was overweight, depressed, fatigued, and despondent. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in the springtime, and I was having a hard time leaving the dark confines of my bedroom (there, bleak scene set). The rest of the world had already gone to church and enjoyed brunch, and they were no doubt laughing and smiling as they shopped at home improvement stores or took drives in the country. But I felt frozen, and scared. Scared of the sunshine. Scared of life. It hurt to keep my eyes open.
But then, against all odds, I showered and dressed and got in the car with my wife, who was also dealing with some health issues at the time. Despite our mutual motivational challenges, we drove to a nearby park for a short and easy-paced walk. And I allowed the fresh air to breathe some much needed life and hope into my soul.
Now that short walk didn’t seem like much to the rest of the world—it wasn’t like I was running a marathon on only one good leg or something—but it was a huge deal for me. It was a very real part of a new beginning. It is a walk that I’ve referred to in my head ever since as The Miracle Walk.
Again, I think the small steps of that Sunday afternoon’s walk were in a very real sense the first steps toward so much more for me. At that time I had no idea that I would eventually be able to persevere in my efforts to quit the Paxil and Xanax, and I also had no idea that I’d go on to quit the three different blood pressure medications I was taking as well as the cigarettes I was still smoking. I had no idea that I would eventually regain my lucidity and energy and become a running enthusiast and someone who would inspire others with his writings and videos about health and healing. But, I was holding out hope that small steps might lead to bigger things.
Take your own small steps this week. Make them the first steps of a new beginning.
5. See “ends” as beginnings.
If you’re someone who is at a low point right now—if you feel as if you’ve reached the end of the road in some respect—then change your viewpoint. Get convinced that this is actually the beginning for you. Maybe you just lost your job or your spouse, or maybe you are a hundred pounds overweight and just lost your self-respect by binging yourself into a sugar coma for the thousandth time. Maybe you’re trying to move yourself away from prescription pills or heroin or cigarettes or negative thought processes, but you’re having little success because you keep getting stalled and dejected. If you are at some emotional low point right now, then the concept of New Beginnings is exactly what you need. There are new ways to do things—ways that will lead to your happiness and contentment—and those ways start with simply believing, deciding, and taking small action. So start believing that this moment, right now (right as you read this) is a part of your new beginning.
6. Repeat any or all of the above steps every single day until you find a new rhythm in your life.
Eventually when you do find that new rhythm and make those changes you so desperately dream about, trust me, you will be able to look back at today (or at some other day in 2019) and say, “Damn, that really was the first day of the rest of my life!” That was the beginning of a New Beginning for me!
Michael Priebe is a writer and personal development coach who has studied psychology, literature, and print journalism. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he graduated with honors. and over the years he has used both fiction and nonfiction formats to write about health, sports, professional life, politics, relationships, and spiritual issues. He puts out a variety of spiritually inspiring content at The Lovely Grind, and he blogs about his life at www.michaelpriebewriter.com. He invites you to reach out to him on Facebook and Twitter.
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