By WILLIAM HODGES
The upcoming year can be the best year of your life — depending upon what you choose to do with it. It is a clean slate upon which you will write your own destiny. What will you write on the slate? Will you write of the excitement that you feel? Will you write of all the plans that you have made? Will you draw on it a map so you will know the direction that you are planning to take? What will your slate contain?
Above all else you must be sure the slate is clean. We must erase all the negativity, hatred, anger and fear that we have generated over the past years. These lines from “The Lord’s Prayer” should be our guide: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Take this thought and make it the rule you live by rather than just words. Start the new year not only forgiving in your heart those who have hurt you in the past, but, more importantly, erase from your mind the sting of those hurts. Once you are able to do this, you will find you are free to move on. You free yourself to develop and maintain more positive relationships.
Now lay down the old baggage that you are carrying—those thoughts of insecurity and insufficiency. There is no doubt that you are a good and worthwhile person. Do not hesitate to write that on the chalkboard of your mind. Fill your board so full of positive thoughts about yourself that even if someone tried to write negative thoughts on it, there would be no room. Start this year acting and believing that you are “somebody.” When the Reverend Jesse Jackson and I both spoke at a high school in Detroit, I saw the tremendous effect he had on those young people, many of whom had a poor self image. He had them repeat over and over the simple phrase, “I am somebody.” Maybe you’ll find it valuable to start out the year by looking in the mirror and proclaiming to yourself, “I am somebody!” You are, you know!
Draw a map on your board—not a map to Cleveland or Chicago—but rather a map to the future. Plan where you are going. Choose a destination and determine the way stations that you will pass along the way. Most importantly, be sure that the destination is worth the trip. Don’t choose to conquer the Alps if you don’t enjoy scrambling up steep slopes, wading through cold mountain streams, and hanging by a rope, totally dependent upon the other members of your team. In other words, if the journey is not fun, the destination will be found lacking. Life can be fun if you plan the trip right.
A new year. A clean slate. It can be the greatest year of your life depending upon what you determine to write. Start with “I am special, I am unique, I am great,” and move UP from there. It’s your choice. What will you write?
William Hodges is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. He also hosts an interview-format television program, Spotlight on Government, on the Tampa Bay Community Network, that airs Mondays at 8 p.m. (Bright House channel 639, Verizon channel 30) and Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. (BH channel 638, Verizon channel 36). The shows can also be viewed at www.hodgesvideos.com. Phone: 813-641-0816. Email: email@example.com Website: www.billhodges.com.