The question of what to bring with us into the New Year - the future,  the next great segment of our lives - and what to leave behind is not a frivolous one. Nor are the answers necessarily obvious or all that easy. 


As I was packing last week for a ten-day family holiday sojourn at our old farmhouse in Connecticut, I realized I'd done it again. I packed like I was going to be gone for months. Did I ask myself what do I really need, given what we'll be doing, or what clothes make me feel good to wear, or what the weather will be like? Yes, at the beginning but then, I lost it.  By the time we started loading the car I realized I'd brought three hanger bags of clothes plus three more bags. (I know. It's embarrassing.) 


 "Are you kidding?" my husband, Jim, asked, as we squashed all the stuff into the way back, barely leaving room for our Golden Retriever, Willa, to sit, never mind to lie down. "You're never going to wear all this stuff!" "Well, you never know," I said. "Things come up." That's code for "I don't want to think about it now, so I'll just bring everything."  Jim rolled his eyes. 


That's the kind of thinking that creates what I call "the debris of indecisions" - a kind of paralysis that comes over many of us when we look into a closet, shop at our local supermarket, pack for a vacation - or peek through the keyhole of the door to the future. It's possible that the real trick in life is nothing more - or less - than having the chutzpah to stop dithering and decide. To realize that the only way to actually move forward, to get what we really want, what thrills us...is to decide. And to act on that decision. 


We've actually got to say "No, I'm not" and "Yes, I am." It's called "taking control of our lives"...and there's no better time to do it than right this minute.  For me the best place to start is always with the mental and emotional stuff because that's the "debris" that does the worst damage. So let's take a crack at deciding what old "thinking habits" we need to leave behind...and what new ones we need to replace them with. I call the process "Doing the "from/to's."


 Here's my list. See what you think and add your own. 






-  From: Fearing the worst To: Assuming the best 


-  From: That's just the way it is To: There's no way it is, there's only the way I say it is....                                                

-  From: Why does it have to be so hard? To: If it weren't hard, somebody would already have done it...


-  From: That's just the way it is. To: There's no way it is...there's only the way I say it is.


-  From: What if this is the time I mess up? To: This'll be the time I hit it out of the park.


-  From: I'll never have enough. To: I'll have exactly what I need.


-  From: Being right about how wrong it is To: Buying into a larger commitment.


-  From: I can't find the answer To: The answer will find me.


-  From: The Universe has already made its mind up about me To: The Universe only knows what I show it today...


-  From: It's too late. To: This is my moment. 


-  From: How bad could it get?! To: How good could I make it? (My favorite...)


So look, the next time you pack to go somewhere, take your life in your hands and just "decide," okay?  Maybe what you leave behind will say even more about you than what you bring with you.... And like all truly defining moments in life, you'll say to yourself (or maybe out loud like I do), "Hey, if I could do that, what else could I do?" And the answer will come back clear as a bell: "Whatever you decide..." 


Happy New Year.





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