Every year at this time most of us are considering the possibilities that lie in the New Year. Whether it involves relationships, work, or study, whatever direction our dreaming or planning takes us seems filled with the promise of new beginnings and potential.
As I reflected on the content of the “New Year’s” articles that have been published in SPIN for the last few years it became clear that a common thread ran through them—the hope for dreams fulfilled, change for the better, potential realized. Out of that reflection came the question; “Why do we seem to have the same list year after year?” Why is learning to play the guitar and to speak passable French still on my list after so many years? Not to mention exercise more and procrastinate less. Then, as it so often happens, a casual conversation offered the pearl of wisdom; the “aha moment.”
The reason that so many of us have the same list year after year, decade after decade, is we believe or think that what’s on our list isn’t really possible. We believe that we have limits. We have innocently (and unconsciously) bought into the idea that we cannot change. How many times have you heard the old adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” suggesting that we’re stuck with our habits. Our language betrays our self portrait. “I could never speak in public, carry a tune, play the piano, ride a horse, go back to school, live with you, live without you.”
Of course we do have certain limitations that cannot be denied. Some physical restrictions do exist. Some mental restrictions do exist. What also exists, however, is the potential to push our limits and reach unimagined heights. A 72 year old woman wrote her first book. A legally blind skier became an Olympic athlete. A young boy started a grassroots organization for global change. A grandmother got her BA. All around us is evidence, some small, some enormous, that the human spirit knows no bounds.
If it’s truly our thinking that creates our experience moment to moment, and if we do in fact have the ability to change our thinking then why don’t we? Why do we settle for less?
The aha moment that occurred, while seemingly obvious was, at the same time, very revealing and profound. The only thing standing between us and our amazing potential is a thought. The only thing keeping us from changing a habit or overcoming a fear is a thought. It’s the same for all of us all of the time. Is that really possible? You bet it is!