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The Art of Relating

By Christine Kniffin, MSW, LCSW, Therapist & Relationship Coach

Self-Improvement in the New Year

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Where do I start?  Are we talking weight loss, less credit card spending or going back to school for an advanced degree? Much of the time it is these types of things that initially come to mind when asked to list typical areas for self-improvement.  However, many of the roadblocks to achieving this type of self-improvement are rooted in our perceptions, attitudes and levels of self-esteem.  Why don’t we expect more for ourselves?  Why do we stay in jobs that are unfulfilling and allow us to feel trapped?  Why don’t we really believe that we are orchestrates of our lives and that we can create the balanced life we all desire?   These questions need to be answered before you can effect long-lasting change in your life.  Self-awareness is necessary or even the best of intentions will not be realized.   Therefore, it is vital to concentrate self-improvement efforts in this area in the beginning.

First, what is it that you really want? For so many the old dilemma of balancing work and life seems to be a never-ending challenge.  However, balancing these two in terms of time is only one small factor in the equation.  What is really important to you?  Is it financial attainment, job satisfaction, a healthy relationship, a flourishing garden, flexibility in your schedule or lots of time with friends and family?  Do you need to be challenged in your career or do you want to sail through the day with little stress and get on with life?  Are you happier working with others or being your own boss?  Is there something that you have always been good at or interested in, but convinced yourself that you could never make a go of it?  Think hard on the answers to these questions. Try to design your life to give you the best possible balance between those things that are most important to you.  If you work to achieve this type of balance in life you will feel more centered, less chaotic and much more satisfied.  This is not something that comes instantly, but rather with risk, practice and persistence.

It takes a lot of courage to design a life that works best for you.  However, the payoff is enormous in the level of security it provides.  There are people who have achieved that realization that “things will work out” if you just do your part.  Those who have realized that truth did not come to that conclusion over night.  Pushing through the fears and taking the necessary steps to get where they wanted to go achieved that realization.  It is the fear of letting go of one thing before having another that keeps people from achieving the life design they desire.  You will develop the faith that “things will work out” by taking scary steps and then realizing that you are still okay.  Everyone feels fear.  But, those who can push through it are the ones who become orchestrates of their life.  If you feel trapped and are just going through the motions, then take the time to decide what is really important to you and how you want your life to be.  Concentrate on this type of self-improvement in the New Year.  If you do then self-improvement in the more typically thought of areas will come with much greater ease and those New Year’s resolutions will actually come to be realized.

Christine Kniffen, LCSW is a Relationship Coach and Therapist.  For a free consultation, call 314-374-8396.

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