Unless you’ve been living under a rock your entire life you’ve no doubt heard the song “Auld Lang Syne”.  It’s traditionally sung on New year’s Eve to ring in the new year.  You’ve probably sung that song many times and never given a second thought to what exactly those three words mean.  According to my internet search the song is a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788.  Translated into English the song title means “old long since”, “days gone by” or “old times”.  In the context of the song we sing on New year’s Ever it means to me  “out with the old, in with the new”.  I think that’s very appropriate as we leave the old year behind and look to the brand new year ahead of us.

In all the years I’ve been on this earth I’ve had two years that produced the most personal growth.  2015 was one of them.  The other one was 2009, which secured my faith in God that had slowly eroded over time and resulted in my years long borderline atheism.  While that was monumental growth for me I believe that 2015’s growth was just as important.

This past years growth was learning to let go of a lifetime of negative thinking and retraining my brain to think positively instead.  I learned to stop doubting myself and to believe I could achieve whatever I wanted to if I stopped thinking it could never happen.  I learned to set a goal, be serious about it and not let anything or anyone deter me from making that goal a reality.  I wholeheartedly believe that learning about positive thinking is what led me to create (with God’s help and guidance) The Micah Principle.

I learned to stop focusing on the negative aspects of relationships and instead focus on the good aspects.  In doing so my relationships with family and friends improved tenfold.  It’s amazing how you can see someone in a different light when you stop thinking about all the things they do you DON’T like and instead think about the things they do that you DO like.

I learned to be thankful and grateful for EVERYTHING, not just the good stuff but the bad stuff, too.  While the good stuff is well, good, it’s the bad stuff that makes you appreciate the good stuff even more.  The bad stuff also teaches you lessons that you need to learn.  I am thankful and grateful for the biggest things in my life all the way down to the tiniest, most minuscule ones.  Feeling gratitude brings more good things into your life.  What you put out is exactly what you’ll bring back to you so feel thankful and grateful about everything and you’ll have more things to be thankful and grateful for.

I learned the power of forgiveness and how the sheer magnitude of it can bring you feelings of inner peace you never thought you could feel.  I still have ways to go on this one but I have taken the very important first steps towards it and it has brought a much-needed feeling of calm deep inside my soul.  Not forgiving someone rarely hurts the other person.  It’s you that it really affects.  Not forgiving is a cancer that grows rapidly inside you and there’s no cure except finding forgiveness.  Although it may seem hard or even impossible to forgive it’s something you really must try to do for your own sake.  Aside from learning to forgive others I also learned to forgive myself.  I can’t say enough just how important this is.  We’re only human and we do make mistakes.  Forgive yourself, learn from those mistakes and carry on.

I learned to be a nicer, kinder person this year.  I don’t think I was necessarily a mean person before but I definitely had moments of being unkind to people.  I learned that every person we encounter is fighting a battle of some kind and that may affect how they treat you.  Unkind people need kindness the most.  If you have any doubt about that read “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” and see how one little town’s kindness to a very unkind Grinch turned him into the kindest Grinch ever.  See? Anyone, even a lifelong, confirmed Grinch, can change for the better.

I learned to be a braver, more assertive person.  That was huge as I have always been a shy, introverted, reserved person.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and did things I thought I never would have done.  It was very empowering to leave the safety of my comfort zone and each time I do I go farther than I did the time before.  Before long my comfort zone won’t be needed at all.

I learned to acknowledge what I am in life and to stop saying “I wish I was this or that”.   Simply put, stop wishing you are something and instead declare that it is what you are.  Be confident and don’t shy away from  telling people what you are.

I learned so many new things this year but these are the really big ones.  I am a total different person than I was a year ago.  I like myself so much more now.  That’s a big thing, too, as I never really liked myself before.  You can love other people but you must also love yourself, too.  I have evolved so much from who I was that I think if I saw or talked to someone I hadn’t seen in many years they would have a hard time believing it was really me.  That’s how profound the change has been.

When we wake up tomorrow morning it will be the beginning of a brand new year. We have a fresh, clean slate and the ticker has been set back to zero. While we are accustomed to making New Year’s resolutions I have decided to change that for myself.  I will no longer make resolutions.  Instead, I’ll just be continuing the evolution I started this past year and I will continue that evolution until I leave this earth.  The coming year is going to be spectacular for me.  How do I know that? Because I am POSITIVE it will be, I made the DECISION it will be, I set a GOAL that it will be and I BELIEVE right down to my very core that it will be.  I’ll unwrap the gift of another brand new year like I have never done before.  I’ll give my thanks and gratitude for a new year and the opportunity to keep growing and evolving.  And, when I hear “Auld Lang Syne” being sung tonight I’ll be beaming with joy on the inside and outside because I know I’ve left the old behind and are welcoming in the new with a very thankful and grateful heart.