A No Excuse New Year


Start this year fresh. Start it right.

By April Jones

New Year’s….just saying it brings about a sense of excitement, hope and promise. There is something so gratifying to closing a year, whether good or bad, and beginning a new one. We celebrate the arrival with glitter and glamor, champagne and noise makers. It’s like a pep rally for potential.  We await the time with baited breath to count down the end of a chapter, a season, a year. We shake our rattles, pop the confetti, then seal it with a kiss, often times in inebriated bliss.  It is a most auspicious celebration with foods to invoke good luck and the tradition of creating a “Resolutions List.” We sit down with the very best of intentions to develop a list—a guide, if you will—of all the things we would like to see ourselves accomplish and/or “do” throughout the year. Since there are no “rules,” we can be as conservative, or as outlandish as we want to be.

For some, sincere time and dedication is given to develop a plan for accessing the power this New Year brings. These are the ones that will actually set out to accomplish the list. They might not do them all, but they get an A for effort. They are focused, determined, and use the list to remind them of the course they need to follow. For others, and quite frankly, probably the majority of us, the list is made half-heartedly, if at all. We might find the same “projects” or “ideas” on our list that we have had for the past seven years, maybe even the past 20.

What is it that holds us back from fulfilling our lists, creating them even? What keeps us from finding our purpose? Following through? Committing? Could it be that we pile up a list of excuses? Reasons we “can’t,” we “shouldn’t,” or heaven forbid that we simply “wouldn’t?” I hear all kinds of excuses for why people can’t make change. I don’t just don’t deal with the body here- I deal with the spirit too. This “why” is what I like to get to the bottom of. Many couldn’t tell you the true reasons “why” they feel or believe the way they do, but they do know the lines they’ve learned, repeated, and continued to use have worked. These excuses have allowed them to evade and/or avoid making change.

Many have had their spirits broken, crushed, or suppressed. Many have been told for so long what they can or can not do, or who they should or should not be, that they begin to believe those things as truth. Now I’m not saying people don’t have legitimate reasons for not doing things. We all know there are very real limitations that can be caused by a variety of circumstance. But that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about are the excuses we make to hold ourselves back. Isn’t that really what we are doing? Isn’t an excuse given in exchange for an action? If my kids miss school, I must provide and excuse. If you’re late for dinner, work, or a social event, you must provide one. And because we’ve become so accustomed to offering them, many times, we begin to simply create them whether they are needed or not.

The most common: “But you don’t know what I’ve been through in my life! Where I’ve come from! What I’ve done; what’s been done to me…blah, blah, blah.” You know what? We’ve all been through the muck. Every…Single…One of us. Have you read the statistics for domestic/childhood/sexual abuse? Forget statistics, how about headlines? Divorce?  Addiction? Disease? Homelessness? Bankruptcy? Seriously? Do you not think, for a moment, that every single one of us could fall back upon our own personal histories and choose to believe that what was is what determines what can be.

All of us have something in us that has the “potential” to hold us back. But the very REAL truth of the matter is that unless we want something, we aren’t gonna go for it. If you don’t want to dedicate yourself—you don’t. If you don’t want something different—you don’t seek it. We inhibit many of our best efforts through negative self-talk, limiting beliefs, and inherited ideas. We are own worst enemies. We will talk ourselves up and then tear ourselves down. If you can raise your hand to be apart of the class that says you’ve got some issues, then BRAVO! I applaud and commend your bravery to acknowledge your imperfections. You, my friend, have the greatest potential of all, for you can see you are flawed and have needs If you want to make change, real change, commit to simply observing your approach to new ideas and opportunities. Enlist the help of a professional. There are countless people that are gifted with insight on our behavior and have a genuine desire to see you improve your life. Psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, and life coaches are all dedicated (without any attachment to your excuses) to helping you move PAST your limitations. “But, April—those are expensive! That takes time and money! Neither of which I have.” Really? Insurance, sliding scales, and payment plans are all options these days. If you are serious, and you want it, you will do whatever it takes to make it happen.

What conversations are you having with yourself when you make plans to do something new? Something uncomfortable? Something risky? Do you accept the challenge to step on uncharted territory, or do you immediately begin to find ways to stay cozy in the carriage? If you’ve found your self stuck, know you don’t have to stay there! Start this year fresh. Start it new. Start it right by deciding you will confront your excuses so that you no longer need them. Start this new year with a BANG, not a barrier! Namaste, ya’ll.

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