When you set out on a journey, the direction you are pointed in makes a huge difference where and when you will arrive at your destination. If you alter your course by one degree, where you end up could be altered by a hundred or a thousand miles.
So it is when we begin a new year. If you are clear on where you want to go, you will get there far more rapidly and efficiently than if you harbor mixed intentions.
To upgrade your year, begin by upgrading your expectations. Take a few moments this month to decide where you really want to go this year. When touch typing on a keyboard, the first step is to position your right index finger on the letter “J.” From that point your other fingers are aligned with the keys they are intended to press. Once your fingers are on the right keys, you can type for an entire session without having to look at the keyboard again.
If you misplace your starting finger, all of your other fingers are out of position and nothing you type will make sense. When you are at the right place, everything that follows makes sense.
If you want to make your year extraordinary, consider not just the material things you wish to accomplish, but place your spiritual experience at the top of your list of priorities. In addition to your “to do” list, make a “to feel” or “to be” list. Each morning choose a word that describes the primary experience you would like to enjoy during your day--flow...ease...joy...connection...exhilaration... inner-peace...wholeness...self-honoring...and expanded life...are all good choices. Then decide that no matter how many items you check off of your “to do” list that day, you will consider your day a success if you stay true to your “to feel” list. What’s the use of getting 12 out of 15 things done if you feel harried, stressed, and lackful as you go? Behold the blessed contrast between ongoing frustration and a sense of having danced through your day. This is the difference between hell on earth and heaven on earth.
The only true measure of success is happiness. If you grow happier this year than you were last year, the year will be a huge success. In Paul’s famous letter to the Corinthians, he notes, “When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.” Paul is not speaking of material things. He is speaking of spiritual growth. When we are spiritually immature we seek answers and fulfillment primarily from the outer world. As we mature, we find satisfaction in inner wholeness--moving from a standard of material nourishment to a standard of soul nourishment. That degree of shift that makes all the difference.
It matters not how many mistakes you made last year or in previous years. Regretting or bemoaning what happened will only keep you stuck in that energy and move you to repeat those experiences. It matters only what you want to do this year. Back to our typewriter analogy, if you find you have been typing on the wrong keys, the only reasonable action is to shift your fingers to the proper keys as quickly as possible. You don’t need to apologize to the typewriter, flagellate yourself, or make an offering for your sin. You just need to get back on track. Any time you spend other than getting on the right keys is just more time wasted.
As Thomas Paine declared, “We have it in our power to begin the world again.” Now that feels like the right finger on the “J.”
ALAN COHEN, author of inspirational books, including I Had it All the Time. This January Alan inaugurates All About U, a university without walls for people without limits. For more info, or Alan’s free inspirational quotes, or his daily Wisdom for Today via email, visit www.alancohen.com firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-568-3079.