I can’t believe it’s the year 2020. Two decades have passed since many thought the world would come to an end. We just keep trying to live to the fullest!

I DO believe you CAN make this new year a really great one. Do YOU believe that?

I’ve usually believed this about myself, but there have been countless times I have used that pesky old CAN’T when thinking about goals I wanted to pursue. Many years ago, I often competed in state public speaking competitions for Toastmasters International. To even reach the state level, a speaker has to win three other contests using the same original speech. In one particular contest season, I crafted and gave a speech titled “Yes, You CAN!” and in that presentation, I stated that CAN is an acronym for “Conquer All Negatives.” I came in second, but the important thing for me was the feedback from people telling me how they needed to hear that message.

Truth be told, we all do.

I can’t do this, and I can’t do that…

Really? Says who? (Answer: You and me from time to time)

I’m going to get a little graphic on you here, but I want to share the most powerful story of CAN in my own life.

My father was captured by the Imperial Japanese Army in 1942 after a long and exhausting battle on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines. He and his fellow prisoners were forced to march 65 miles to Camp O’Donnell, a POW camp with horrible living conditions. Many men gave up on the Bataan Death March. They were tired, emaciated, hungry, thirsty; and when they fell down, they were kicked, hit in the head, or bayoneted to death.

The ones who survived this trek were moved from one camp to another, working in the scorching tropical sun for hours on end, being beaten or killed if they didn’t obey orders or salute the Rising Sun flag each morning. They suffered from malaria, dysentery, beriberi, and other potentially fatal disorders. My father had bouts with all of them. Starvation and solitary confinement figured prominently in the prisoners’ treatment. Add to these horrors the time spent on the “hell ships,” and it’s truly a wonder any of them survived. Here’s a short read about this atrocity: https://www.uso.org/stories/122-surrender-at-bataan-led-to-one-of-the-worst-atrocities-in-modern-warfare

Those who survived didn’t say CAN’T. My daddy often told me that dying was not an option for him, and he instilled in me a sense of commitment, of service, and of doing my best.

When I was pregnant with my first child, so many people implied I’d probably need a Caesarean section because I am so petite. Mind you, no doctor said that to me, but I made up my mind from the beginning that a C-section wasn’t an option, and that I wanted to do natural childbirth with zero medications or an epidural.

Let me stop right here and say there is nothing wrong with any of these wonderful and often life-saving medical options. Had I or my baby been in distress, I would have been so grateful for that surgical option, but during my pregnancy, I chose to focus everyday on picturing myself having THE most wonderful birthing experience with a really fast labor. I mean I focused on that vision until I came to believe it would be my reality. I prayed about it daily. My husband, who, at the time was a power lifter, reminded me how he focused on his lifts of 700+lbs for weeks before a competition. Besides the power of “I CAN do this,” I walked and swam up until the night I gave birth, with a labor that lasted only four hours. With my second son, I made it to the hospital 45 minutes before his head emerged.  I realize how incredibly blessed I was with my sons’ births!

Here’s the thing:The power of CAN is between our ears. So is the power of CAN’T.

Which do you choose in this new year and in your life?

Listen to me closely: You CAN. 

That’s it. No elaboration or explanation or example. You CAN!

I want you to conquer all negatives and to believe in the power of CAN.

And as you decide to conquer all negatives, don’t forget the most important thing in life: You are a divine and unique creation of a loving Father, the Great Creator.

If that doesn’t move you to CAN, I don’t know what will.

Believe in yourself.

Amy Walton is a certified Christian life coach, author, and speaker residing in coastal Virginia. She coaches women who are in midlife and beyond to live with joy and purpose and the power of CAN. Connect with her at amywaltoncoaching@gmail.com.