As You Begin the New Year . . .

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As we start 2014, we have a tendency to focus on our goals and plans for the new year. But this is also the perfect time to reflect back and think about how far we have come in the past year. In our busy culture, we seldom slow down enough to appreciate the experiences we have had, the things we have learned and the ways we have changed. Even if some situations did not go as we wanted, we can still recognize how we grew or learned from the bumps in the road. It also feels great to savor our successes and those moments we enjoyed. Dr. Darlene Mininni, author and professor on happiness and well-being, recommends reflecting on the following as the new year begins:

  • How are you better? Maybe you gained new wisdom or strength from a challenging experience or improved on a quality you value.
  • What do you have? Before you think about what you wish you had, consider what treasures you already possess. This could include having a reliable car, a warm place to live, or even that favorite pair of shoes.
  • Feel it. When you think about the positive events from last year, take the time to savor them. Replay the experience and feel the positive emotions again.

Author and professor of Positive Psychology, Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar has a great saying – “Appreciate the good and the good appreciates.” He talks about how this strategy can be applied to our life, our relationships and even our job. So take a few minutes, pause, review 2013 in your mind, and enjoy how far you’ve come. It’s a great way to start the new year!

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