Henry Ford once said, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” Or was it Tony Robbins, or Mark Twain? I’m not sure exactly who said it. Maybe they all did. And now I have, too. The point is solid no matter who said it.
So many of us want to see real change in our lives, but we don’t seem to get the point that if we are ever going to see that change, we have to actually make changes to our lives. How often do we sit around, bemoaning our lives, wishing everyone else would change? If he would just do this… If she would just stop saying that… If they would only be different… THEN my life would be better.
I think we say those things or think those thoughts far more often than we consider the changes we could make in our own lives. We want different, we just don’t want to do the work of achieving that difference. We want other people to do it for us. We want to do what we have always done, and let others do all the changing.
I am beyond ready for this New Year to roll around. It’s a myth, and I know it is, but the New Year always seems to hold new and different possibilities. I mean it’s not like each new day isn’t the exact same thing, but there just seems to be something special about the newness of a new calendar year. We can wipe the slate clean, throw out the old, and bring in the new. We can say goodbye to stale, harmful habits, and work on new, healthier ones.
But here’s the problem with making change. As much as we gripe about the things we don’t like about our lives, there is a certain familiarity that breeds a sense of security from those things. New patterns, new habits, will shake things up. We might not be able to predict how things will go if we make changes. We’d almost rather continue living in our despair than risk everything for the uncertainty that change brings. How completely ridiculous is that? Pretty ridiculous.
As we learn and experience life, our brain makes physical neural thought pathways. I think that’s pretty interesting. Our repeated thoughts, and their subsequent actions, make those pathways wider and stronger. It makes sense, the roads we habitually travel the most are usually the easiest to navigate. But if we stopped going the same way we always go, that well-worn path would begin to break up, and eventually, getting down that old road would not be as easy as it once was, and the more times we decide to go down the new pathway the easier that would become. It’s the same with our brains.
Our brains, at any age, have the ability to make new pathways. We can actually rewire our own brains. I love the idea of that. Yes, old habits die hard. The patterns are literally, physically, ingrained in our brains. But with minimal effort, new pathways can form leading to new ways of thinking and behaving. We just have to be willing to go a different way. Initially, the going will be slow. As a daughter of a road builder, I know that new roadways are not built overnight. But they can be built.
Some of my old thought patterns are holding me hostage. There is more, different, and better out there for me. I’m going to leave behind some of my old pathways and I am going to build new ones this next year. I’m not going to continue to live like I have always lived. I’m not going to do what I have always done, and get what I’ve always gotten. My God wants to do more in me and through me this next year, and the only thing standing in the way is me. How about you?
“…assuming that you have heard about him and we’re taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:21-24