I came across this quote in my 2021 planner—organizing a new calendar is a favorite January 1 activity for me—second only to setting goals for the year. And these two favorite things got me thinking about the power of belief.
Why does one random, arbitrary day carry such weight for me and so many others? Why is it that we wake up on New Year’s Day and plan for a fresh start? What makes this day different than all the others?
The difference is that we believe it is different. I believe in the power of that new, blank calendar. I believe in the opportunity to do things in a new way, to make required adjustments.
The things we believe are powerful…in good ways and bad. We have limiting beliefs that impede our lives. We tell ourselves we’re lazy, stupid, bad, not enough in one way or another. And we live down to those beliefs. I’ve done it myself plenty, and I see it every day in my therapy clients. I also see people change those beliefs every day. I see someone realize they are good enough, they are capable, they can succeed—and then they do.
Which reminds me of another favorite quote: “She believed she could, so she did” by R.S Grey. I believe this with everything I have, yet I also continually forget! I continually lose faith in myself, stop believing in the power of my mind, my intentions, my inner strength. On January first, I remind myself, over and over.
As I shared in my 2020 New Year’s blog, I have a folder with decades of goals for myself, my family, my siblings and their families. This year, I didn’t plan to bring up goals with them. I thought they wouldn’t want to reflect on this difficult year, on unmet hopes and dreams for 2020, that maybe they wouldn’t be in the mood to hope for much from 2021. But I was wrong. My partners in this tradition were appalled that I would let it slide. It is tradition. Plus, charting a course makes us feel empowered.
We need to believe that 2021 will be better. We need to feel like we have some power and control over our lives, our destinies. And so we believe. We believe in New Year’s goals, putting together a kick-ass planner, making plans and setting intentions to do things differently going forward.
Believing moves us closer to making it real.
I took a class this weekend called Projects & Practice by Nina LaCour, and we began the class by reflecting on a variety of things related to projects we’ve completed in the past. I remembered that when I wrote my first book, I didn’t know what the story would end up being—I simply felt called to start writing and I believed that if I started writing, the rest would come. And it did. Same experience with my second book. I’ve been hesitant to start my next project because I don’t have all the answers about what it will be. But guess what? I’m going to choose to believe that if I start writing, the rest will come. When my inner critic tells me my new idea is stupid, I will gently and kindly remind myself that all I am doing is trying, which is brave and exactly who I want to be. I believe in myself (sometimes!) and there is great power in that.
As I write this, one of my favorite songs of all time is stuck in my head. It’s from the Broadway play The Wiz, which I saw when I was about eight years old. We bought the album and I’ve listened to that song consistently for over forty years. It’s called “If You Believe,” and you should track it down and listen right now!
I will tell you what Glinda tells Dorothy in the song…
“Believe in yourself, right from the start. Believe in the magic that’s inside your heart. Believe all these things not because I told you to. Just believe in yourself, as I believe in you.”
Happy New Year!