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Emerson and the new year

There are some things I tell almost all my clients. One of those is this paraphrase of a quote I heard from someone several years ago: "You might as well start with the truth since that's where you'll wind up, anyway." It means, at least when I use it, that before you can begin making any real or meaningful change in your life, you must be absolutely and blatantly honest about where your life is right now. It's not easy, this being completely honest about yourself. It forces us to look in the mirror and not only acknowledge every "wrinkle and blemish" but to admit we are the ones who got us there. You are the one responsible for where you are. I am the one responsible for where I am. We made our decisions. Decisions to do or not do, to do one thing or another are the way we got to where we are. It doesn't matter if the decisions were the best we could make at the time, or if we had to choose from a set of less than desirable options. We made our decisions and we enjoyed (or suffered) the consequences of them. That's how life is.

A few months ago I decided to take a break from writing for Examiner. No big deal. The problem is, my couple of weeks off became a month. A month became two months and now it has been almost 3 months since I've published here. Now, I'm starting to feel the effects. And that's the way it normally works, isn't it? Most of the time we make what seems to be a small decision. It's a bad decision, but it's a small one. We make out small, bad decision and guess what? Nothing bad happens. The world doesn't come to an end. We don't lose our jobs. Our businesses don't fail and fold. Then, we make another small and not-so-good decision. Again, our world doesn't come crashing down. But, at some point, we begin to experience the consequences. In my business as a success and life coach, it seems to happen at about the ninety day point. That means a few bad decisions, a few times of ignoring some basic daily disciplines, and I begin to see the effects about ninety days later. I'm not as sharp as I was with helping my clients. I'm not quite as insightful. My appointments have fallen off. My income takes an unexpected drop. All because of a few bad decisions repeated several times. It's true for me and I suggest it's true for you as well. It affects every area of our lives. A few bad decisions, a neglect of some simple daily disciplines repeated over a long enough period of time and the negative consequences are inevitable. Which brings us back to starting with the truth.

When I started this article, I initially began it with the phrase "I haven't written anything in a while." That's true...sort of. I say "sort of" because when I wrote that I was hiding behind the last two words: "a while." See, that's vague and nebulous. It's one of those phrases that just sort of floats around without any real meaning. How long is a while? Two days? A week? A month? 3 Months? A year? For me, starting with the truth meant being brutally honest about how long it has been since I've written anything. Today is January 9, 2014. My last article, before today, was written and published on October 25, 2013. Can you see how that's different than "a while?"

Why return to writing after this long? Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote a lot. He happens to not be one of my favorite authors. Still, some of his stuff was pretty good and, since I'm always looking for quotes that express a lot in vivid way, I read him every once in a while. Here's one of those quotes: "The law of nature is, Do the thing, and you shall have the power; but they who do not the thing have not the power." In my case, "the thing" is writing and "the power" is all the ways it benefits me, my business and my clients. And so, I return to writing because I and my clients need me to have this power. The power to affect my life and theirs. The power to change and to help them change.

If you are feeling stuck or overwhelmed or if you feel like you're working harder and harder and making less and less progress, it may be that you are avoiding "doing the thing." Let me suggest you start by being brutally honest with yourself. It doesn't matter where you are right now as much as it matters that you be honest about where you are. After all, you don't plan to remain there! Once you've done that (and that brutally honest self-examination can take a while sometimes) then you can decide what you need to do ("the thing"). The struggle most of us have at this point isn't that we need to do something that's incredibly difficult. It's that we have to do something that we're not used to doing and that makes us uncomfortable. But to get the power, the life transforming power, we must do it. I encourage you, be honest with yourself. Be honest about where you are and how your decisions got you there. Then continue to be honest. Decide what it is you have to do to change things. Then, do whatever it is.

The new year is a great time for this. It's a time of new beginnings. A time for fresh starts and beginning over. Not a time for resolutions that are abandoned within a week. It's a time for absolute self-honesty and a commitment to do "the thing" (often the one thing) that will transform your life, so that by this time in 2015 (and every year after that) you can look back and say: "This is when it happened. This is when I decided and followed through on my decision to do the thing so I could have the life transforming power and since then my life has never been the same!"

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