On Motza’ei Shabbos, January 1, Chazaq, Torah Anytime, Daily Giving, and Chickens for Shabbos hosted “Turn Saturday Night into Motza’ei Shabbos,” featuring Dr. David Lieberman, PhD, a psychologist, author, and well-known speaker, and Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, well-known speaker and author. This amazing program is featured every Motza’ei Shabbos at 8:30 pm on TorahAnytime.com/Live events.

Robbie Aboff, Events Coordinator of Chazaq, introduced the program. The real new year is Rosh HaShanah. The secular new year is January 1. A study showed that seven percent of people keep their “new year’s resolutions.” Why is that?

Dr. David Lieberman taught: “There is no such thing as a person standing still. You are either growing or dying. We are wired for growth.” He pointed out how, around the secular new year, gym memberships go through the roof. Thousands sign up. Yet we don’t hear of gyms expanding. We get excited in the beginning, but we are unable to consistently carry through on our resolution. The reason for this is that we take on too much and it’s too big. It is better to make small, consistent changes that will allow us to move forward. “When we take on something too big, it is easy to grow discouraged.”

He advised to pick one goal and chop it in half. Then put a plan into action to move forward. That consistency builds muscles and the momentum of success. “That’s what change is about. It’s that consistency that makes a huge difference.”

He shared the example of people who want to lose weight. In order to succeed, they need to structure their entire day to accommodate with what they want to achieve. They need to create structure in life that allows for the easiest, swiftest path forward. “You want to pave the way to make it easy to achieve what you want to achieve.” So, going back to the weight loss goal, a person should have chopped vegetables available and no junk food around. He explained that humans are innately lazy. A little extra effort will make a big difference. If someone doesn’t want to speak lashon ha’ra, and he knows that if he speaks with a certain person that person will speak lashon ha’ra, so then he needs to avoid speaking with him. “Avoid putting yourself in harm’s way.” You want to avoid triggers. If you want to lose weight, then don’t drive by your favorite restaurant and don’t walk by a candy machine, etc.

Dr. Lieberman concluded, “Be compassionate with yourself. Be honest with yourself. Do it b’simchah.” Growth is positive. Look at what is not working. Be honest about your motivation.

Next, Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser shared insights from Pirkei Avos. He quoted the mishnah, “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?” Rabbi Goldwasser shared that a person needs self-esteem. Without it, it is difficult to accomplish one’s mission in life. People wait to hear a good word and sometimes it might not happen. This mishnah is teaching us that sometimes we have to give ourselves a pat on the back. It is so important.

 “If a person doesn’t have the courage, he will give up on certain things.” If somebody sees that you don’t respect yourself, then he or she won’t respect you.”

“If you honor others, then they will honor you.” Rav Ovadia Yosef zt”l taught that Chazal tell us that Avraham couldn’t save Yishmael. Yitzchak couldn’t save Eisav. “Sometimes a person needs his own efforts.” We are obligated to try to fix ourselves. Everyone knows what he has to fix and what area he needs to improve in. We have the z’chus of the Avos and that will always help us. We still need our own merits. We have to try on our own, as well.

He added the next part of the mishnah: “But if I am only for myself, what am I?” We are here to help others. Rav Chaim Volozhin taught that our purpose in life here is to be a giver and to try to give to others from the gifts that Hashem bestowed on us. “Everyone has some gift and everyone can help someone.”

This beautiful shiur can be viewed on TorahAnytime.com.

By Susie Garber