December 2014
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Hello Readers,

For many of us, this is the time of year when we set new goals, and try to implement strategies to accomplish those goals. Sometimes these plans work out well, but often things go astray before our plans have a chance to succeed.

In this month's feature article, I offer a few ideas to help you accomplish your goals for the New Year. Then, in the Top Ten, you will find some suggestions for a few things you might consider giving up in 2015 to give yourself more time and energy to focus on what is most important to you.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and successful New Year,

Getting More Out Of The Year Ahead

What goals do you have for the upcoming New Year? What changes do you want to implement? Changing the way we do things can bring opportunities for growth and increased happiness. But, change can be scary. It can be tempting to give in to fear, which can cause us to act either with too much caution, or worse, not at all. However, there are some adjustments that may ease the way to change by freeing up energy, time, or money to create new opportunities.

How do you decide what changes are the most important ones to make?

Ask yourself these questions:

1. What are you tolerating, but hardly noticing, that drains your energy every day? Are you picking up everyone's shoes and socks at the end of the day? Or, when you get up from your desk is there someone who always asks if you mind grabbing something from the printer for them? The small things we tolerate are good indicators of issues in need of being addressed.

2. What obstacles are currently getting in the way of your goal? The solution may be to focus more on your dream than the challenges in your way. If you stay focused on how much you will enjoy that Tuscan getaway, it will be easier to bypass the Starbucks and put that money toward your trip.

3. Is there a fun route to your goal? So, if your goal is to eat more healthfully or lose those extra few pounds, why not host a dinner party where each guest brings a "calorie responsible" but yummy dish and shares the recipe?

What do you need to change to have a better year?

Choose passion. Connect to your bigger purpose in your personal and work life and the rewards will flow. Passionate people attract success.

Higher learning. Have a new goal? There's probably an app for that. Get up-to-date on technology and information that can make meeting that goal easier and faster.

Celebrate success. Acknowledging and rewarding success keeps everyone motivated. Mark those mini-milestones with celebration and recognition!

Add, don't just subtract. When what you are doing isn't working, try something new. Don't just stop doing. And, before you stop anything, make sure you have been giving your current method your full effort and a reasonable amount of time to have the desired outcome.

What are your blind spots?

Blind spots are those obstacles to your progress or goal that aren't easily recognized. It may be necessary to get some outside help in determining any blind spots you may have. It's hard to do this for yourself.

Seek professional help. Getting assistance from a therapist can help you with insights and support to make reaching your goal easier and get you there more quickly.

Coffee date. Spend time with a friend or colleague who will offer honest feedback and genuine support.

Making changes in the New Year doesn't have to be a scary proposition. Have goals, free up time and energy, get support and succeed. If you decide you need some professional support along the way, I'm here to help.
Top Ten Things To Give Up For The New Year

1. Going it alone. Did you ever notice the "Lone" Ranger wasn't alone? He had Tonto. Resolve to ask for and accept help from friends and colleagues.

2. Finding fault first. Give others the benefit of the doubt and they will return the favor.

3. Only seeing what you don't like in the mirror. Very few of us can say we wouldn't change a thing about our appearance but focusing on your favorite features will boost your self-esteem, and that is beautiful.

4. Envy. Wish others well and work toward your own goals. If it helps, remember no one puts pics of their struggles and burdens on Facebook.

5. Worry. It's human nature to worry sometimes, but try to focus on positive future possibilities, rather than negative.

6. Wasting time on social media. Instead of keeping up with 200 "friends," have lunch with one or two. It's much more fulfilling.

7. Road rage. So last year.

8. Eating dinner with your smart phone instead of your family.

9. Doing what you've always done. Do what elevates your life.

10.Reality TV. Ok, I went too far.

Author's content used with permission, © Claire Communications
Barbara is a psychotherapist with over 20 years of experience helping individuals and couples to achieve happier, more fulfilling lives. She assists clients to better understand themselves, improve their relationships and develop more effective responses to life's problems. Barbara works with adults confronting all types of challenges but is especially skilled at helping survivors of trauma.

Barbara always welcomes the opportunity to work with new clients.
Barbara Hill, LCSW-C
6236 Montrose Road
Rockville, MD 20852
Phone: (301) 340-3050