As summer is winding down and we are about to begin to enter a new season, it becomes a natural time for reflection. A time to reflect and take stock of what is working for us and what isn’t, a time to acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses, our accomplishments and failures, where we are excelling and where we could use some fine-tuning or even a down right over-haul. Fall is a time of transition and a time of shedding like the leaves from a tree. It can also be a time of feeling raw or vulnerable as we make these transitions and feel exposed letting go of old habits, defenses, or emotions.

But change and introspection are good. Change is what keeps us growing. Here is a step-by-step strategy for managing change and transition in a way that allows you to be compassionate towards yourself while still holding yourself accountable.

1) Start with a frank assessment of where you are at. Be honest with yourself. Congratulate yourself on what you have accomplished and what you have excelled at. Celebrate successes first. Now look at the parts that don’t quite match up with what you want for yourself. Continue to be honest and fair. What needs to change in your life?

2) Create a mental image of where you would like to be one year from now. Write it down. Include all major areas of your life: Family, Career, Health… whatever categories are meaningful to you. Write it as if it is already a reality. Make it real.

3) Now brainstorm what action steps are going to help you get to where you want to be.

4) Choose a few of these steps, probably no more than 3, to start with and plug them into your calendar. Schedule your action steps like you would a doctor’s appointment. You are making an appointment with yourself to meet your goals.

5) Schedule a time once a month where you will review your progress and revise your action steps as needed. You might have completed some and are ready to incorporate others. When you reach one goal, you might want to add in another. Change is a fluid ongoing process. Remember to continue to assess and revise, but don’t do it too often. You have to give your action steps some time to take hold and show results. Once a month is plenty.

6) Last, you may want to consider an accountability buddy. Someone who you can share your goals and action steps with, someone who can support your progress and remind you of what you are shooting for. This is where a coach can also be helpful. A coach can help you to clarify goals and action steps and hold you accountable to following through on your commitments. A coach can also remind you of where you began and how far you have come and can celebrate your success with you.

If you would like more information on how to implement these steps or how coaching can help you reach your life goals, please contact me at 708-232-6673 or email me at [email protected]. Feel free to comment below with any questions, feedback or insights. I would love an opportunity to help you flourish.


Dr. Donna


  • Dr. Donna Marino (PsyD)

    Psychologist & Executive Coach

    Donna Marino, PsyD, Ltd

    Dr. Donna Marino is a Psychologist and Executive Coach. She is an expert in helping high-achieving leaders move from burnout to SUSTAINABLE peak performance, so that they can fulfill their mission while also experiencing greater health, happiness, and relationships. Dr. Marino has over 20 years of experience in human potential and transformational change.

    As a high-achiever, who works with high-achievers, she discovered a collection of characteristics that when left unchecked lead to burn out, high-functioning anxiety and high-functioning depression. She coined the term for this condition, High-Achievers Syndrome (TM) and developed a protocol for dealing with it, recovering and creating SUSTAINABLE peak performance.

      Dr. Donna is also a sought after speaker and author on leadership, peak performance, and burnout recovery.