On New Year’s Eve, I enjoy being a homebody, and I like to watch the ball drop from my warm living room, on my comfy couch with my loved ones (if they stay awake, too). I can’t imagine actually going to Times Square for New Year’s, but it is fun to watch all those people who look like they are having a blast out in the freezing cold.
Many of us take New Year’s as an opportunity to pause and ponder what’s in store for the coming 12 months. Will our dreams come true, will we keep our resolutions, or will we make that huge change we’ve been pondering? Knowing who you are, knowing what you want and what you don’t want, will help you see your goals more clearly.
Creating and fulfilling goals makes life more enjoyable. Without goals, time can get away from you and you can find yourself aimlessly going through each and every day without much direction. Don’t get me wrong: this isn’t necessarily a bad way to go through life, but I think you can get so much more out of your time on this planet if you pick a direction and do what you can to stay on that path.
Having a goal in mind can be very motivating. It makes you happy when you see that you’re making progress toward a goal. Accomplishing everything on your bucket list may not be possible, but often just writing down your dreams and desires can be a big part of achieving them. I like to find pictures of things that move me and put them on the wall above my desk for inspiration.
A great tool that I have used for years with both children and adults is to make a treasure map. This is a fun exercise, and it’s very easy. All you need are some old magazines, scissors, and a large piece of paper. Begin by thumbing through the magazines and cutting out pictures of things, places, and people that make you smile. Then glue them on to your paper in whatever order you like. This artwork will serve as a reminder and an inspiration.
As you look ahead to the coming year, you may want to think about all you have accomplished in the one that just passed. Rather than beat yourself up for what you didn’t do, you can celebrate what was wonderful about the previous year. We can’t change the past, but we do have the power to make our futures even brighter. And isn’t this a part of the gift that the new year brings?
Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, is the author of “The Happy Couple – How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.” Email him at Barton@BartonGoldsmith.com. Follow his daily insights at www.twitter.com/BartonGoldsmith