By Robert Pagliarini

This is the one (and maybe only!) time of year that most of us look toward the future. We think about the new year as we ponder what we did and didn't do in the past year. We have fun creating and sharing our New Year's resolutions. For a week or so, our collective energy is spent looking ahead. But sometimes the best way to plan tomorrow is by looking at what happened yesterday.

One of the strategies in Solution Focused Brief Therapy is to have the client imagine they are walking out the therapist's door for the last time, and then asking them what had to have happened for them to know their therapy was a success. By shifting the client into the future to report what has already happened, it is easier for the client to experience the changes and to avoid skepticism about what it's possible to achieve.

In borrowing from Solution Focused Brief Therapy, my question to you is:

Imagine you are waking up on December 31, 2012. The sun pours in through your bedroom window. You have an inner sense of calmness and happiness. Your smile grows wider and wider as your feet touch the ground. You stretch your hands to the ceiling and breathe deeply. As your hands fall to your sides, you realize that you have never felt such peace and joy in your life.

Now, what has to have happened in 2012 for you to experience this next December? Your answer to this question is your unique recipe for living your best life. Here are a few more questions to get you started:

What did you do in your career to take it to the next level?

Did you brush up on some old skills or learn new ones?

What's the one thing that you talked about doing for years but finally did in 2012?

Did you move? If so, where? What does it look like?

What trips did you go on? What did you see and experience?

What kind of friend were you this year?

How did you show your loved ones that you care about them?

What special things did you do with your spouse/kids?

What did you create in 2012?

What new hobby did you take up?

What about your health? Was 2012 the year you committed to regular exercise and better nutrition? How did you do it?

How did your community and/or the world benefit from your efforts?

Whom did you inspire? How?

Contrary to popular opinion (and several best-selling books!), just fantasizing about a better future won't make it a reality, but it's hard to achieve if you don't first believe. By dreaming about a better life, imagining it in detail, and then writing about it, you will know exactly what inspires you and what you need to do to make 2012 even better than you've imagined.


Careers - How to Make It Your Best Year Yet

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