As the year ends, I look back and consider 2009 a successful year for me. The last bunch of years have been. Others might disagree and not recognize what I do as success. I didn’t become rich—yet! The love of my life still hasn’t met me—but I know he’s coming! None of my books are on The New York Times bestseller list—yet! I can still stand to lose little more weight—but I think I’m hot now! Yet I’ve made a lot of progress, which for me is success. I’ve overcome roadblocks—a HUGE success.

Progress—even if you’re not where you want to be yet—is success when you’re smart enough to recognize it.

People tend to focus on what they haven’t done or gotten yet instead of what they’ve done or have. As you say goodbye to 2009, make a bigger effort than usual to count the blessings you’ve had this year. For me, being happy is one of my greatest successes. People with a LOT MORE money than I have aren’t nearly as happy as I am. That—for me—is success. Money is a side dish. Happiness in myself is the main course. Navigating life with joy and moving forward made 2009 a successful year.

John Foster Dulles said, “The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.”

Like I said in my last post on New Years Resolutions, we often resolve to get over humps to conquer roadblocks, our weight, etc., and end up in the same place, wishing for the same things, year after year. Often you might have made progress but don’t feel it if you want to lose 30 pounds and “only” lost seven. Seven is excellent but if 30 is what you want, you might push the 7 pounds aside and feel like a failure.

Do you complain about the same lack or problems, year after year? Are you still waiting to feel successful?

I used to whine about the same things, over and over, like a broken record. I’m blessed that my friends didn’t give up on me! I finally learned that complaining changes nothing and alienates friends. Complaining without taking action to remedy what you complain about keeps you from progressing. Taking even one step forward is success if you perceive it that way.

Are you still trying to lose 30 pounds or make more money or create a new circle of friends or other things you resolved to fix in 2009? Did you want this in years before? Often the solution seems too hard or uncomfortable. Then the problem becomes your inability to take action, which feels even worse, since you’re not getting what you want AND you feel bad about your inability to do something. Often people I know complain about the same romantic partner or friend.

The lament is always the same yet they stay with the person they rant about.

One of my counseling clients has been having problems with his wife since his son from his first marriage came to live with them several years ago. She misses it being just the 2 of them and has been lashing out at the son. Just when Ben (not his real name) considers leaving, his wife apologizes and is sweet for a bunch of weeks, especially when the son has a long visit with his mom. After one of her outbursts, Ben is raging, and says he’ll have to take his son and leave. But she always wins him over by being sweet and then when I ask if he’s leaving, he just says everything is fine. But it isn’t!

Situations don’t usually change permanently for the best if you don’t do something different.

I finally got through to Ben after another outburst last week. Unpleasant as it was, he asked his wife to leave. When she wouldn’t, he got another apartment. He still hopes one day they’ll get back together. But moving out told her more than all the times he said her behavior wasn’t okay. When Ben looked back on last year and realized the problem had been there for over a year, he knew he had to take action. Now he feels more positive entering a new year because he stopped an ongoing problem.

Actions solve problems and make changes in your life. If you want success, you have to prepare to do something different.

Even if you don’t get the whole enchilada, get into the habit of taking at least ONE step, and appreciate taking it as a small success. Sometimes when the weather is lousy and I can’t get out to run, I look for other ways to burn calories. I live on the 10th floor so I’ll start walking up from the lobby. I’m not always up for 10 flights if I have packages but I’ll go as many floors as I can and then take the elevator the rest of the way. Instead of lamenting not walking up all the stairs, I’m happy with the 5 or 7 I do.

Resolve to have many little successes in 2010!

I’m almost finished with my cleaning and consider it success that I actually have empty shelf space and part of a drawer is empty. That’s a first for me and I’m proud! Look for your own small successes in the New Year. They add up. Then next December you might find that you accomplished much of what you hoped for. Focus on keeping your thoughts clear about what you want so you can attract the resources to receive.

I wish you all a VERY BLESSED NEW YEAR! Here’s to fabulous days ahead. It’s my intention and I WILL make it my reality!

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