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Dr. Sharon Ufberg Headshot

Don't Let Your Past Shape Your Future

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Once again, we find ourselves standing at the time of the year when we are supposed to charge full steam ahead into an improved diet, renewed gym membership and better disposition. We are to commit to a revised list of must dos and will not ever agains --underlined and starred.

But I have a better idea.

What if we move into the New Year considering who we want to be in 2013, rather than dwell on what we don't like about who we are now?

Most of us ring in the New Year without having any idea how to make peace with our past, forgive ourselves for our imperfections and embrace our lighter, brighter self. This year, how about trying to get in touch with your 2013 self? If we stop letting our past shape our future, we can embark on a surprisingly creative and inspired journey this New Year -- even if it feels like an entirely new self that is taking the ride. Why not try focusing on the incredible joy that is possible from a life of meaning, purpose and authenticity? Perhaps there's no need to create a long list of New Year's resolutions. Instead, how about we imagine a new 2013 self -- one that is stepping into a whole new ball game, without last year's uniform?

I am starting with a commitment to be that girl who gets a massage every month and sees at least one girlfriend or daughter each week. I am going to spend lots of time doing artsy things like going to museums, painting pottery and writing. I am going to spend more time near the ocean, even if it's too cold to swim or even dip my toes in. I am going to dance more and drive less. I plan to stock more great red wines in my pantry and add more pretty party dresses in my closet amongst my work clothes.

I hope to write more letters to loved ones (even simple emails) so that my affection for them will be around long after I am not, and I am going to try and celebrate as many occasions as possible even if the people whose occasion it is are not present to share it with me.

I am going to purposely release anything I did in 2012 that I am ashamed of, feel terrible about or wish I never did, and I am going to try to forgive myself completely for my too-numerous-to-mention flaws and instead focus on those attributes I find admirable and even charming. I am recommitting to doing more of all the positive actions I have taken this past year and want to do more of this next year, especially acts of loving kindness and compassion for others -- these I want to always top the list.

Imagine this New Year 2013 as an opportunity to be whoever you want to be. Your happy life is waiting for you to start right now. Happy New Year!