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December 28, 2012

Personal Matters: New Yaer's and the spirit of change

With the approach of another New Year’s holiday, it’s important to remember that it is often true that endings and beginnings usually travel in pairs.

With the end of an old year, and the start of a new one, you may have many memories and expectations on your mind. The prospect of a fresh new year may give you just the opportunity you need to refocus goals and renew commitments.

It also, of course, can give you the chance to reflect on the current year’s accomplishments, and to assess your progress. Such reflection and anticipation are appropriate, emotionally healthy activities if they help you to learn and grow. The secret here is not to become caught up in unhealthy self-criticism.

For some, the New Year’s celebration can be a time of sadness, guilt, and frustration if the feeling that you should have accomplished more this past year overwhelms you. Perhaps your finances are still tight, or you remain at odds with your family, or you could not find another job. Maybe you didn’t finish repainting the house or you were unable to make a 3.0 grade point average at school. If you do not actively nurture your self-esteem you may start to feel unworthy, unsuccessful, defeated, or simply too old.

Evaluate your situation realistically and hopefully. Admit your mistakes but search for alternatives. Most importantly, acknowledge what you have accomplished. Then, re-examine what you want to do and where you want to go.

From a psychological viewpoint, the New Year holiday may not be the best time for you to make resolutions. If you make promises simply because ‘everybody does,’ or because you feel pressured into it, you can set yourself up for failure. Make resolutions when you are emotionally ready to handle them, whatever day that may be. Your chances for success will probably be better.

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