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A treasure map to having a better 2024

This fun and easy exercise will help give you focus in the coming year

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On New Year’s Eve, I enjoy being a homebody. I like to watch the ball drop from my warm living room, on my comfy couch with my loved ones. I can’t imagine actually going to Times Square for New Year’s, but it’s fun to watch all those people who look like they are having a blast out in the freezing cold.

Many of us take New Year’s as an opportunity to pause and ponder what’s in store for the coming 12 months. Will our dreams come true, will we keep our resolutions, or will we make that huge change we’ve been pondering? Knowing who you are, knowing what you want and what you don’t want will help you see your goals more clearly.

Creating and fulfilling goals makes life more enjoyable. Without goals, time can get away from you, and you can find yourself aimlessly going through each and every day without much direction. This isn’t necessarily a bad way to go through life, but I think you can get more out of your time on this planet if you pick a direction and do what you can to stay on that path.

Having a goal in mind can be very motivating. It makes you happy when you see yourself making progress toward it.

Accomplishing everything on your bucket list may not be possible, but often just writing down your dreams and desires help you achieve them.

A great tool that I have used for years with both children and adults is to make a treasure map. This is a fun exercise, and it’s very easy. All you need are some old magazines, scissors, and a large piece of paper or poster board.

Begin by thumbing through the magazines and hunting for pictures of things, places and people who make you smile or inspire you in some way. Then cut them out and make a collage. When done, you can hang the treasure map on your wall. This can be a great family activity for New Year’s Eve.

As you look ahead to the coming year, you may want to think about all you have accomplished in the one that’s coming to an end. Rather than beat yourself up for what you didn’t do, you can celebrate what was wonderful about the year that’s coming to an end. We can’t change the past, but we do have the power to make our futures brighter. And isn’t this in part the gift that the new year brings?

One more thing. When I think of New Year’s Eve, I remember my father always calling it “amateur night.” He meant all the people who are on the road after they have had the obligatory New Year’s toast and perhaps a little bit more. If you go to a party, please be careful and make responsible decisions.

Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D. is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of 8 books, and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with nearly 35 million readers. He is available for in-person & video consults world-wide, reach him at Barton@BartonGoldsmith.com

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