“You can never go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
– C.S. Lewis
I was at a meeting the other day and the person leading it began with this quote. It immediately resonated with me. As it always happens, the beginning of the year brings a sense of energy and excitement to start over again. I embrace the opportunity to make better life choices. It is helpful that there is a natural support system surrounding us because everyone is working on something. We have #accountabilibuddies, group challenges, and friends and loved ones to lean on. I am ready to revisit the resolutions I started last year (and the year before, and before that) and really take them head on.
But then I started thinking, why am I working on this again? Why did I give up halfway through the year (or month if we are being honest)? I considered my approach, which has always been one of willpower and perseverance. The "I can do this mind over matter" sort of mentality. Part of that is true: the mind is a very powerful tool when it is being used correctly. But the constant push is an unforgiving method that leaves you feeling defeated when you have even one little setback. The mind wants to put you in a state of comfort, so you begin to let things slide.
So this year I am going with a new approach, and I found two books to be very helpful. I am still in the process of reading them (New Year’s resolution #5: read more!), but so far they have been very insightful. The first is by Amy Johnson, called
The Little Book of Big Change: The No-Willpower Approach to Breaking Any Habit
. The second is by Annie Grace, called
This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol
(This book is useful for any habit, not just alcohol. It just happened to be the thing the author was struggling with.). Both books offer a mindful approach to taking control of habits and urges. What I like most is that it is not black and white. There is room for forgiveness and making mistakes. Mistakes are also a learning technique we sometimes try to ignore or hide. Being aware of the urges that create the habit and realizing that
are in control (not the habit) is a message from both authors. There does not have to be a new beginning every time there is a setback. The beginning has already been written.
What is the next chapter in your journey?