But I Haven’t Changed All Year!
4 common thoughts that block change before Rosh Hashanah.
“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life,” leadership expert Robin Sharma once said. Soon it will be Rosh Hashanah and I feel almost exactly the way I did the year before. Could all this time have gone by without me making any real changes? Am I going in circles, living the same year over and over again?
What are the key thoughts that block us from change every year and how do we dispel them?
1. Thinking that we can’t learn. We become so entrenched in our habits and our routines that many of us believe that we can’t learn how to begin again. But there is a saying: If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. But when you are determined to learn, no one can stop you. There are countless scholars and successful people in every field who struggled when they first started out, but they were determined to learn. We are not imprisoned by our past; it’s never too late to learn new ideas and change the story.
2. Believing that we tried everything. Many people try to change and give up after trying different approaches. But as Thomas Edison warned, “When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: You haven’t.” Often we feel like giving up right before we are about to find our answers. We feel like quitting right before we are about to succeed. The path to success is only through failure. As long as we are alive, there are more possibilities and more ideas to try. Every failed approach is a lesson that brings us closer to our goals.
3. Thinking we can remain the same. Even if we’re on the right track, we’ll get run over if we just sit there. Sometimes it seems like the safest route for us is to remain in our comfort zones and not change at all. But not growing doesn’t keep us in the same place; it pulls us down. And when we are down we begin to think that since we have already veered off track, we might as well push off changing for tomorrow. Or next week when our schedules are easier. Or perhaps next month we’ll try again. But when we find ourselves in a hole, the first thing we need to remember is to stop digging. Don’t run back to what broke you. Keep moving forward, however slowly you need to go.
4. Forgetting that we are created in the image of God. Rabbi Noah Weinberg ztz”l said, “Treat yourself with the same awesomeness that you would a volcano. There is tremendous energy available. You just need to tap into it. Open yourself up to see your real potential. Stop looking at what you are. Look at what you can be.” You have the potential for greatness. Instead of knocking yourself, at the end of each day, focus on something that you did right that day and take pleasure in your accomplishment. Connect to the Divine spark within. You can’t change if you’re constantly putting yourself down. Treat yourself as if you have extraordinary power to change yourself and the world around you at any moment. Because you do.
This Rosh Hashanah, let’s all take one concrete step forward in improving ourselves and taste the sweetness it brings to the new year.