As I write this post, the ground outside my window is covered in a fresh blanket of snow, pristine and unmarred by footprints or tire tracks. I know that before the day is out, it will be well trampled and traveled, but for the moment, it is a clean blank slate of glimmering white. To me, the fluffy fresh blanket seems an apt metaphor for new beginnings. We begin each year with hopes for greater prosperity, better health, and happier lives. But unless we act to make those things happen, we will be disappointed.
The Dirt Beneath the Surface
Just beneath the surface of fresh snow lies the dirt of yesterday. Dead leaves, mud and litter have been hidden from view, soon to be revealed at the first melt. In a similar way, we often carry the dirt of the past with us into our new beginnings. Holding on to feelings of fear, shame, un-forgiveness and self-doubt, we set ourselves up for failure by allowing our old selves to tarnish our dreams and goals for the future.
Clearing the Way
In order to move forward and attain a better brighter tomorrow, you must first let go of the past. You cannot change it, and in truth, it no longer exists unless you continue to breathe life into it by revisiting it. In an article in Psychology Today, author Dr. Judith Sills recommends getting rid of things from your past that may keep you from moving ahead. Photos, memorabilia, even furniture can be constant reminders of past hurts and failures. Discarding them, or at least putting them out of sight, can help you move forward. Dr. Sills also recommends reaching out to heal broken or tarnished relationships as an important strategy for moving forward.
Starting over can be difficult, but looking forward instead of back is fundamental to success. Visualization is a powerful tool that can transform your mindset and put you on the path to a better life. Imagine your future as you would like it to be, and color the picture in your mind with sights, smells, sounds and feelings. Allow yourself to daydream, banishing any negative thoughts from your reverie. Take time each day to count your blessings and express gratitude for the good things already present in your life. Only by changing your thinking can you truly begin to change your life.
Psychology Today: Let it Go!