If you think magic is only the sleight of hand tricks used by magicians and illusionists, you are only partially correct. If you think magic is only practiced by people who delve into the occult, you are only partially correct.
As a verb, magic is defined as the ability “to create, transform, or move as if by magic” (dictionary.com).
To me, it is the words “as if by magic” that are important here.
So many times people have no idea how or why an individual has chosen to improve their own life. We don’t see their process; we just see the outcome.
Here’s what I mean by personal magic.
In My High School Classrooms
As each school year began, I welcomed my students with “Happy New Year.” Most thought I was a bit crazy. (Ok, they were probably right.) But hear me out. Here’s my philosophy.
The Normal New Year
When we change the calendar from December to January, we celebrate the new year and even plan to make changes in our lives. Some make great changes while others attempt to make small changes. As the new year rolls forward, however, some of these New Year’s Resolutions fall by the wayside.
you might have planned to hit the gym and make this year our healthiest year ever. BUT –
Here a roadblock (bad weather), there a roadblock (over-time at work), everywhere a roadblock (illness, over-extension of time, family commitments).
By the time March or April roll around, we have all but abandoned our transition to a healthier lifestyle.
When a new school year rolls around, it is also time to celebrate that new year. Students have had a two to three-month break from school and many have grown emotionally, mentally, and physically. They are not the same person they were at the end of the previous year.
This was painfully, or maybe delightfully, obvious to me during one of my first years of teaching. I looked over the names on my new student rosters and was disappointed to see one or two names on my list again. No, they had not failed a course; instead, they had passed their freshman English course and were now sophomores. As an English teacher, my course load rotated according to the electives I taught and the balance of required courses. I had had these two students the previous year as freshmen. Now, they were sophomores, or at least in my sophomore course. I decided to grin and bear my fate.
As each of the two students walked into my classroom, they greeted me. They had their class supplies. They didn’t try to act like the class clown or distract me or others in the class. It seemed like they had magically transformed over the summer.
They had chosen to tackle the school year as a different student, and I was grateful.
A Different Approach to New Year Celebrations
I prefer to look at the decision to make a fresh start as a new year (new you) celebration. I have several new year celebrations: January 1st (of course), but also my birthday, each seasonal change, and even each new month. Sometimes over the past year or two, it has been each new week or each new day.
The thing is you don’t have to wait until January 1st to make major changes in your life. The time is NOW. The day is TODAY. Believe in yourself and your ability to make things happen for yourself.
How to Change
There is a new song in my Power Song playlist. No surprise that the vocal artist is Sia. She talks about the courage to change. When I thought about it, I started to ask myself if I actually had the courage to change. The more I sang the song with Sia, the more I realized that I did have the courage to make changes in my life.
I can’t tell you how to change. I can’t tell you that you should change. I can’t demand that you change.
Any and all changing that you want or need to do is under your control.
What I can tell you is that you are not alone in your journey, and I can share with you how I am attempting to change.
4 Steps to take to make things happen and start believing in yourself
A Bedtime Routine
Each night as 9:30 rolls around, I take a look at the bedtime routine I made for myself. I wrote down the things I need to remember to do before I crawl into bed. In fact, I printed them out and stuck them under the glass of a picture frame. Now, I have a surface that I can reuse each day. I’m not talking about things like “take the dogs out” although that is on there. The dogs will not let me forget this, but I also include to make sure their water bowl is full. Most importantly, I listed the things I usually leave undone. Those undone things that leave me disappointed in the morning: empty the dishwasher and add dirty dishes; set up the coffee; take my bedtime vitamins and supplements, and general pick-up of the surfaces in the living room, dining room, and kitchen. I’m a great one for looking at the clutter and telling myself that it will still be there in the morning – I can deal with it then.
Write it down
Each night as 9:30 rolls around, I write several things in my The ONE, The EVERYTHING Notebook: a reflection of the day, three things that I appreciated today (not three things I am grateful for), one thing that made me smile, and what was the best thing about the day.
I know most gurus suggest we record our gratitudes for the day, but that concept seemed off to me. I researched to find some reason I struggled with the idea of recording three things I was grateful for. I found the answer in the definitions. I now record three things that I appreciated during the day.
Why the terminology shift in my mind makes sense:
Definition of “appreciation” – “recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something”
Definition of “appreciate” – “recognize the full worth of”
Definition of “gratitude” – “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”
Definition of “grateful” – “feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful”
The concept of appreciation seems a step above gratitude, and so I have shifted my mindset to what I appreciated each day.
Set Up My Notebook for the Next Morning
Finally, I set up the morning page of my The ONE, The EVERYTHING Notebook so that when I get up, I can sit down with my coffee and focus on my morning pages. This morning page includes the top items in my “Today’s Blueprint.”
One of the most important things to understand as a day ends is that the day is ending. I work to understand that if the day did not go as planned, if the Grief Monster grabbed my shirt tale and encouraged me to allow games on my phone to suck time out of my day, or if the weather or a sleepless night sucked my energy dry, tomorrow has the promise to be different. Therefore, because I believe in the magic to change and make the next day better lies within me, I go to bed vowing to work hard tomorrow to make the magic happen.
Thanks for reading.
I would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, and questions in the comment section below.
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As you move through your day, please remember to
Live Life –
Keep Things Simple –
Look for the Positive –