Greetings & Salutations Foundations Friends!

Happy new year one & all. 2020 tested us to be sure & it seems we are more than ready at this time to turn the calendar page to a brand new year. With new beginnings afoot, I invite you to engage in some inner reflection & ask yourself “How are you doing?”. Mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, financially, spiritually, personally, professionally…how you living? What is working for you in your life right now & where might you need or desire something different?

Create Awareness

There are many dynamics that make up the rich, complex tapestry of our lives & key to health, happiness & optimum wellbeing is nurturing the many dimensions of our wellness. Heading into 2021, what do you notice about your life?  What are you thinking & how are you feeling?  Take some time to sit down, take a few deep breaths to center yourself & reflect upon what comes up for you in your head & in your heart. In this moment do not feel the need to judge your thoughts & feelings as good vs bad; simply notice, honor & reflect. Write your thoughts & feelings down so you can get them out & then seek to understand what they mean to you & why. The goal of this exercise is to create self-awareness & expand understanding for who you are & where you are at right here & right now in your life.

Seek To Understand

Next we are going to use some wise-mind processing (balance of right brain emotion & left brain logic) to process the information we noticed in the self awareness exercise.  Our brain is the most powerful tool in our body. What we think leads to how we feel which leads to how we behave.  What are you thinking?  How do those thoughts make you feel?  Next, we need to evaluate our thought process for any cognitive distortions (thought patterns that keep us stuck). Below is a list of Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANT’s) provided by Therapist Aid:

Use A Growth Mindset

If we identify cognitive distortions in our thought processing, it is important to challenge those thoughts that are keeping us stuck by asking ourselves “Is there is another way we can look at things?“.  The truth is there are always alternative ways to see something if we can be open to doing so. Reframing our thoughts & using a growth vs fixed mindset helps us to see the possibilities & seeing the possibilities in life allows us to adapt & persevere.  Life doesn’t always play out as we envision. That does not mean we cannot still achieve our goals, rather it means we are going to have to adapt our game plan. Here are some examples of growth vs fixed mindset statements:

Determine Alignment & Meaning

Next, we need to determine what our thoughts & feelings mean to us & assess for how that meaning is affecting our lifestyle. Who are we & what what do we want & need in life? What are our goals & priorities?  What time framed & realistic action steps are we willing to take to get there? Once you have this list made then evaluate to see if your wants & needs are currently aligned with your goals, priorities & action steps. The more in-sync these interdependent dynamics are the stronger the quality of your life satisfaction will be.

Identify Motivation

If after this thorough self-assessment you find things in your life are going great & you have no desire to change anything at this time then congrats you are on the right track so simply rinse, repeat & enjoy! If not, the next step is to check in with yourself to determine how motivated you are to make those changes at this time. Doing things differently takes time & isn’t always easy so it is important we use motivation to guide us. Example: If you are unsatisfied with your current job & want something new, then seek to understand what you are looking for. Next, ask yourself what specifically are you willing to do to make that goal happen. Then check in with yourself to understand how motivated you are to take those steps. Example:  If having greater job satisfaction is really important to you but your motivation & commitment for the action steps required to make that goal happen is a 5 out of 10 on a 1 (very low) to 10 (very high) scale then you are looking at a 50/50 chance of persevering when the challenges of pursuing that particular goal arise, as they always do.  The higher your motivation the greater likelihood for success. When timing is right & we are highly motivated we are unstoppable!

Hope & Support

Best of luck to you in the new year! Cheers to you & believe you have what it takes to achieve your hopes & dreams. Hope that things will get better & support from others on your journey are two of the biggest reasons people persevere & move beyond barriers to success. We hope this article has provided you with both by giving you things to reflect upon & offering clinically proven strategies for helping you move forward in a way that will add to your quality of life. If you could use additional hope & support, consider inviting the expertise of a professional counselor into your life. We are experienced & credentialed health & wellness professionals & we would be be happy to speak with you more about ways in which we can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Cheers to you & all the best in 2021!

Counselor Lori – Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor @ Found4Life.org