Wipe The Slate Clean
January 1 brings up mixed feelings. We want that clean slate, yet as we switch out of the holiday rhythm and head back to work, we also face the lingering issues and unfinished tasks of the prior year. Is the New Year really a fresh start? Despite the legitimate work that continues regardless of the date on the calendar, the answer to that question is yes. Even if certain challenging realties remain, January is an opportunity to bring a fresh perspective to them.
When I looked up the derivation of clean slate¹ I found a related expression: to wipe the slate clean. It turns out that the way we get the clean slate is by doing something. Wiping the slate clean means: “to prepare for a fresh start, either by paying off debts, or by expunging the score of the previous game to make room for the next.²
Prepare For A Fresh Start
If we understand the definition above, we realize that part of preparing for a fresh start has to do with taking care of unfinished business. We must decide what to “pay off” and what can simply be erased or expunged (great word!). So, deciding what to take into the New Year is partly up to us.
Another way to prepare for a fresh start is by consciously choosing the commitments we want to renew or perhaps establish for the first time. Every day, in the moment to moment decisions of our lives, we are renewing our commitment to something. We often do this unintentionally. For example, when we stubbornly cling to an unhealthy habit or situation, we renew our commitment to the status quo or to struggling. Every action we take reinforces something. This works in our favor also. Each time we do something with kindness for a loved one, we are recommitting to his or her well-being. When we approach our work with thoughtfulness we are demonstrating our desire to making a difference. Every time we take the smallest step in a new direction, we reinforce our bold intentions.
Renew Your Commitment
This week, prepare for your fresh start by answering this question: What commitment do I whole-heartedly renew this year? Write it down and keep it where you will see it frequently. Rather than making a pressure-filled resolution, renew a heart-felt commitment instead. Wipe the slate clean, prepare for a fresh start, and renew you.
Here's to you,