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Turning Point:

December 30, 2015

by Audrey Berger, Ph.D.
As the New Year approaches, you may be thinking about making New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps you hope to improve your life by eliminating self-defeating habits or establishing new positive habits.  While you contemplate what you want to do in the coming year, you might find yourself thinking about resolutions you made but didn’t keep during the past year. But,  if you only focus on what you didn’t accomplish this past year,  you can end up feeling like you’re not good enough or that you’re a failure.
Beginning a new year with a defeated mindset will only make it that much harder to reach new goals. Instead, focus on what worked well for you this past year and what you achieved. Then lay down more stepping stones.
A good place to begin is with a sense of gratitude. Ask yourself, “what has blessed my life?”: health, loving friends, a comfortable home, special family members, employment–you fill in the blank. Also, try to think about your blessings in context. Maybe your job doesn’t pay as much as you’d like, but you find your work fulfilling. Perhaps you’ve experienced some health struggles, but you feel good about the way you handled those challenges. You may not have tons of friends, but the ones you have are truly special. Your family may not live nearby, but you love each other and keep in touch regularly. Take some time to really savor these good things in your life.
Focus as well on giving yourself credit for your own successes, large and small. Even if you didn’t meet all your goals this year, it’s important to recognize and celebrate the things you did accomplish, and, give some thought to how you contributed to those accomplishments.
Next, consider how you can build upon your blessings and your successes. Maybe you want to develop new ways to support your health, such as learning how to make healthy food choices that are also tasty, finding enjoyable ways to increase your activity level, and so forth.  Perhaps you can deepen your relationships by showing your appreciation to your friends and family.  Maybe you can make your work more satisfying by performing random acts of kindness at the office (who left that cookie tray in the break room?), or by finding creative ways to make the work more interesting. Even if you want to grow in completely new directions in the coming year, you can still use the blessings and successes from this year to inspire and encourage yourself.
Lastly, set reasonable, incremental goals. Think about your larger goals, and then break them down into smaller steps so you can experience a series of successes on the way to achieving the overall goal. For example, if you decide you want to develop a new exercise routine, but you haven’t exercised regularly in a long time, try to begin by walking 20 to 30 minutes 3 times a week, rather than trying to run for an hour daily. Then you can gradually  increase the amount you exercise, if that’s your larger goal. Remember to keep track of your progress, so you will be able to recognize how much you are accomplishing and give yourself the credit you deserve.
The same applies to any resolution you set: use small, achievable goals towards your ultimate goals. As you reach your smaller goals, celebrate each accomplishment. You’ve earned it!
 LEARN MORE ABOUT AUDREY BERGER, PhD AND TURNING POINT LIFE COACHING: Audrey has been a life coach, psychologist and psychotherapist for 35 years. In her life coaching practice, she specializes in mid and later life transitions such as retirement, empty nest, midlife transition, positive aging in general, and living well in the face of life challenges such as chronic illness or creating a new life after divorce/loss or breast cancer treatment. She also works with an array of other issues and goals, including helping couples to create the relationship they want. Since coaching can readily take place on the phone, you can coach with Audrey no matter where you are located. You can learn more about Audrey’s coaching services, and arrange for your complimentary coaching consultation with Audrey, by going to Audrey can also be reached by email at or by phone at (585) 292-0095.
This article was originally published on the Turning Point Life Coaching blog.