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Vail Valley column: The art of re-creating yourself

Neil Rosenthal
Relationships
Vail, CO Colorado

Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series

It’s the end and the beginning. It’s the end of the year, and it’s the beginning of a new year, and all of us have a choice: we can look backwards and dwell on the triumphs and tragedies, the victories and the defeats regarding what last year brought, or we can look forward – toward the new year and into our future, to what possibilities, opportunities, visions or dreams the new year may hold for us.

Let me invite you to look forward. Peak into the future and look at what lies yonder for you, especially during this coming year.

I am not referring to the ever popular New Year’s resolutions many people make, promising to exercise more, lose weight, watch less TV or to finally clean out the basement. Those goals are often solely about personal self-discipline, and although worthy, they tend not to be life transforming or visionary.

Most of us suffered losses in the past year of one sort or another. We all had setbacks and reversals, disappointments and disillusionments. But the beginning of a new year is a great time to rediscover our inner resilience, to once again recreate ourselves by looking at the big picture of our lives. Where are you in that picture? Where do you want to be? Are there changes you would like to make in the direction your life is taking in order for you to be a better you?

Here are my suggestions for how to make those changes in your life and forge into the new year with a renewed sense of purpose and vision about what lies yonder for you:

Look at what gives you hope, and focus on what you’re interested in creating. What do you want to accomplish or experience before you die? What part of that could you begin this year? What step (or steps) could you take this week? What steps next week?

Learn, practice and live this attitude: If I focus on what I don’t have, what has failed, what I’ve lost, what’s wrong or what hurts me, I feel badly. If I focus on what I have, what I’m trying to create, what I’m hopeful for or what I have to look forward to, I feel better.

Let other people in. Make it one of your missions in life to have successful, close relationships with others. Allow yourself to feel vitally connected and engaged with other people -and especially in your significant relationships – and tend to the health of those relationships. Make your words and actions pro-relationship instead of anti-relationship.

What’s fun? Figure out the answer to this question, and how to integrate having fun more frequently in your life. Play tends to knock adults out of despair and hopelessness. So find some healthy new ways of playing.

What things would you like to experience, experiment with, learn or try? Commit to choosing a couple of those things, and give them an honest chance of succeeding with you.

Hold yourself accountable for everything you say and do –and everything you don’t do. Be responsible for creating the life that you seek. If you’re not willing to do that, who do you think will do it for you?

What adventures do you want this next year? In the next five years? What qualifies as an adventure for you?

What are the work or career issues you need to change or deal with?

What could you do to improve your health, body and level of fitness?

Find a person or a cause to give yourself to. To really give yourself to. No holds barred.

Happy New Year!

Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in the Denver/Boulder area, specializing in how people strengthen their intimate relationships. He can be reached at 303-758-8777, or e-mail him from his Web site, http://www.heartrelationships.com.


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