Choice and Change in the New Year

Welcome to 2019. Here in the North Country where most folks delight in a real winter, I reflect on the meaning of beginning anew in the midst of a season that calls on all my resources to keep warm, be healthy, and stay positive.

January 1st as an arbitrary beginning—not connected to any natural rhythm. Yet each time it comes around I find myself drawn to the hope offered by new beginnings. I find myself thinking about personal habits and behaviors that are less than desirable and consider the possibility of trying something different. I dare myself to begin the process of change.

So what am I choosing to change this year? Well, there’s no shortage of possibilities. As I reflect on this question it occurs to me that maybe what needs to change is not the what but the how. Will I feel guilt after eating another piece of chocolate? Will I be discouraged if I skip a few days of exercise? How I respond to my choices is in itself a choice.

Consider the words of my mentor and yoga teacher, Elissa Cobb, “At any one moment, how I am being is my beliefs, my thoughts, my actions, my choices. It is entirely up to me how it is I choose to build the next moment. Every moment of my life I am offered the opportunity of choice. In each choice lies the opportunity to choose the same way as I have in the past or to choose differently.”

Each moment of our lives is an opportunity to choose for more of the same or for something different.

As you reflect on what you resolve to do this new year, consider the possibility that the most relevant change you can make is exercising your ability to choose. Recognizing that choice is available to you in each and every moment brings awareness to those personal habits and behaviors that are often done unconsciously. Even if what you are choosing for is more of the same, make that choice with awareness. And with each conscious choice the process of change - and growth - unfolds: moment to moment, day to day, and year to year.