The New Year is here, and like so many people, you’re probably making resolutions and thinking about all the things in your life that you don’t like. For example, the belly you put on over the holiday season, or the career that is still unfulfilling and boring, or a stagnant love life. And like most people, you’ll think of these negative things, vow to change them, maybe make small progress, but come February you’ll still be stuck. The reason: while thinking of all the things you don’t want or like in your life is a good initial motivator, it won’t lead to lasting change. The short term surge it might provide usually wanes in time as there’s nothing positive to work towards, only something negative to move away from.

Whenever my clients tell me about what they don’t like or want in their lives, I prompt them to tell me what they do want in their lives. Whenever they tell me what’s wrong, I ask them what’s right. And whenever they rattle off all the things they dislike about their partners, I ask them what they would want in a partner. This goes back to positive psychology and it can truly help you to feel empowered to make lasting changes in the New Year.

The exercise below will help you to dig deep, get honest with yourself, and uncover what you truly want and where you really want to go in a positive way. It’s the initial powerful step towards making changes in your life. Relax in a comfortable place and feel free to dream. Think about the questions for every area of your life: home, work, social, finances, and sex/relationships. In each area, try to visualize your ideal future. Use all of your senses and get clear about what you want and see where your mind goes.

1. What excites you?

2. What are you passionate about?

3. Who do you admire and why?

4. Think about people in your life who excite you. What are they doing and why do they excite you?

5. Who in your life do you find inspiring and why?

6. What is missing from your life?

7. If you could be doing anything right now, what would you be doing?

8. If you could be working anywhere, where would you be working?

9. What would you do or have in your life if money were not an obstacle?

10. What would you do if you did not have to deal with fear, stress, uncertainty, risk, or discomfort to get it?

So now go out there and make what you once thought to be impossible, possible and enjoy the year.

For more tips on living a fearless and fulfilling life check out my book Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days.

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  • Jonathan Alpert

    Psychotherapist, executive performance coach, and author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days. Twitter: @JonathanAlpert

    Jonathan Alpert is a psychotherapist, columnist, performance coach and author in Manhattan. As a psychotherapist, he has helped countless couples and individuals overcome a wide range of challenges and go on to achieve success. He discussed his results-oriented approach in his 2012 New York Times Opinion piece, “In Therapy Forever? Enough Already”, which continues to be debated and garner international attention. Alpert is frequently interviewed by major TV, print and digital media outlets and has appeared on the Today Show, CNN, FOX, and Good Morning America discussing current events, mental health, hard news stories, celebrities/politicians, as well as lifestyle and hot-button issues. He appears in the 2010 Oscar-winning documentary, Inside Job commenting on the financial crisis. With his unique insight into how people think and their motivations, Alpert helps clients develop and strengthen their brands. He has been a spokesperson for NutriBullet, Liberty Mutual insurance, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Jonathan’s 2012 book BE FEARLESS: Change Your Life in 28 Days has been translated into six languages worldwide. Alpert continues to provide advice to the masses through his, Huffington Post, and Thrive columns. @JonathanAlpert