Posted by: Ed Deiss | January 7, 2016

Each Day Can Start a New Year

each day can start a new year1A blank page, three hundred and sixty five of them in fact, of change and new beginnings.  The yearly calendar rollover is often seen as a point in time where we can embark on a new start, a fresh opportunity, or a chance to change something in our life. May I ask, is today any different for you than last week, last month, or last year? I have noticed the gym has been more crowded than last month. Though a new year is seen as a place for a new start, it can often be forgotten by St. Patrick’s Day. The desire for change is there or just wanting something different for our life, however we can easily fall prey to never taking the steps to do anything about it. We just keep on with what we have been doing and then wonder why we are still at the same place years later.

“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do” – Anonymous

What is it that makes resolutions stick? As I thought about opportunities and changes in my life, they have come in a variety of ways. Sometimes through knocking, searching, or perseverance, and other times through actions and circumstances beyond my control.  In all cases what comes to mind is the word intentional and living intentionally.  It involves taking responsibility to pursue changes and opportunities each day. It’s reassuring to know I do not have to wait until the next New Year’s Day for my next chance.

What does living intentional look like? Lynne Hughes comes to mind.  She is the founder of Comfort Zone Camp. It is a bereavement camp that transforms the lives of children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver (I’m honored to serve as a big buddy volunteer). Lynne lost of both her parents, her mother died when she was nine and father three years later.  She shares that after her parent’s death, no one had to be there for her and that the two people who wanted her were gone. She became aware that any time someone reached out a friendly hand, it wasn’t something they had to do and learned to appreciate, enjoy and grow from it.  She conveyed an “Aha” moment when her Junior High principal and mentor said to her about leaving your mark: “…you leave your mark every day, in each person you meet; each person you touch. You leave your mark every day here at this school with each of your classmates and each of your teachers and in everyone you come into contact with. You don’t have to be famous to leave your mark.”

You know what? That sounds like a great resolution, each and every day. Lynne certainly took it to heart to pay it forward and is leaving a mark with each child that experiences Comfort Zone Camp.

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” – Maria Robinson

As exemplified above and I’m sure many reading this can relate that throughout this year as in past years, life can become difficult and seem unfair. This is not saying anything new. I found this especially true going on about my days without intention or purpose. It was as if I was existing to get by while hoping for something without any involvement.  What became clear is that if my desire for change did not include a change in actions, I would just be in the same place twelve months removed (and older).

For example:

  • We say we want a new job, however don’t get out there and have conversations or prepare a resume, and then put little to no effort in searching.
  • We affirm we want to meet someone however don’t put ourselves in a position to meet new people or change past patterns of behavior.
  • We state that we are going to accomplish something this year, however don’t take any actionable steps towards that goal.
  • We say we want to get more involved in our community yet are frozen by indecision and uncertainty as to where to start and how to go about it.

We have to be intentional. No one else is going to do it.

As I was talking to one of my daughters this week about her upcoming workload, activities, and wanting to look for work next school year, she expressed some anxiety about how she was going to handle it.  Natural for all of us, fear of the unknown.  I flashed back to a few years ago in the sudden transition to being a single parent and getting through Tuesday.  I have also gone through two job losses and as every single parent knows, when it is all on your shoulders, anxiety and fear surfaces real quick.  A fresh start and perspective was needed, along with the ability to have more control of my time so I could fulfill the most important role I will ever do, be a Dad.  What I encouraged Rachel was to have a little courage and that fear is often just an illusion.

What does it take to be intentional? To convert a desire for change into action?

Benjamin Mee is single dad who after the death of his wife, felt he and his kids needed a fresh start.  What did he do?  He bought a zoo, the Dartmoor Wildlife Park in Devon, England in 2006, that came with a house too. This scene from the movie based on his story ‘We Bought A Zoo’ says it well…a little courage and it is amazing what can happen.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” -Walt Disney

It is quite an adventure when we pursue living purposefully, deliberately, and intentionally.

It can be done any day and no need to wait to see the crowds next New Year’s Eve on Times Square.

Each and Every day can start a New Year.

Until Next Time,

Ed

 

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