If last year brought you excess stress, strained relationships, misfortune, or upheaval to your life, you may have been thinking “Good riddance” as you ended 2018.

My year certainly didn’t go quite as I had planned.

This time last year I was looking forward to what 2018 had to offer. I had just completed 10 months of chemo and radiation and the “plan” was to have my lumpectomy surgery in February followed shortly thereafter by a final 5-week series of radiation. I thought I would be done with treatment by the end of March, April at the very latest.


One surgery turned into two back-to-back surgeries only three weeks apart which left me with chronic pain in my breast and shoulder which then lead to a “frozen shoulder” requiring a delay in my radiation (6 weeks instead of 5) and regular physical therapy to regain the full use and mobility of my left arm. I didn’t complete my treatment until August 6th and I’m still dealing with pain and ongoing physical therapy.

Not quite what I had in mind!

In the midst of all of that, however, I maintained my coaching practice and I wrote and published an Amazon best-seller and was a co-author on another.

How did I do that? By choosing what I focused on and what actions I could take to continue to move forward in a positive way.

No matter what is going on in your own life you basically have two choices:

1) You can choose to let it drag you down and define your life; or

2) You can choose to try and make the best of the situation at hand.

If you are in the position to make some changes to shift the situation, then go do that! But sometimes life brings us challenges that are just simply out of our control. In that case, letting it get you down doesn’t make it go away, it just makes you feel miserable.

I don’t want to feel miserable. I want to feel joy and excitement in my life! How about you?!

Rather than allowing the New Year to be a reminder of all the things that went wrong last year, embrace it as a brand new opportunity to put the past behind you and move joyfully forward.

In order to close out one year and start another in a positive way, you must let go of any negative thoughts you’ve been harboring about the events of last year. Avoid thinking that nothing will change in the New Year, or that things will always be undesirable. A New Year is a clean slate. What happened is in the past and before you lies a new future.

The key is to set your mind on how things will be better this year. By focusing your mind on what you want, as opposed to what you don’t want, you’ll be able to see last year’s setbacks in a different light. Seeing a setback as a challenge that you can overcome, even if it takes some time, will allow you to continue moving forward, even when things aren’t going your way.

Even the happiest people have challenges. Just like you, at times they struggle and feel beat down. The difference is that they get back up again and focus on solutions rather than problems.

Focus on Letting Go of the Past

When you release what you struggled with last year, you free yourself to move forward without its heavy trappings. Even if something hurt you or made you upset, and even if people were unfair to you or treated you wrongly, today can be a new day for you.

There are several ways to let go of past hurts. Experiment until you find what works for you. The good news is that if you keep trying different approaches, you’ll find something that helps you succeed in this endeavor.

Try the following for a new, fresh perspective and direction:

  • Visualize your hurts and worries as balloons, and release them to the sky.
  • Make a list of the upsetting events from the last year and set the list on fire.
  • Spend time in quiet reflection, possibly journaling, so you can find more peace in your life.
  • Take the time to consciously forgive others for what they did, even if it feels hard. Forgiving doesn’t mean you like what they did or that it’s okay, it means you are releasing yourself from the pain of it so that you can move on.
  • Be honest about any changes you could make to improve the quality of your life.

Move Forward Into the New Year

Once you’ve found the right way for you to let go of last year, it’s time to get ready for the new one.

What do you want to do this year? What are your goals, plans, and dreams? Write them down. Take a look at them. Have you left anything out? Have you added things that really belong to others and what they want for your life?

Adjust your list to reflect what matters the most to you. Prioritize it with your most important objectives at the top. Break down your list into manageable segments, with small steps that you can accomplish one by one, and then you can move forward with the confidence to achieve great success in the New Year and make 2019 your best year yet!

With good energy,



P.S. Need some help getting back on track? Let’s chat!

Debra Wilson Guttas, Life Transition Sherpa™, HTP

“Supporting and inspiring women in life transition, and cancer recovery, to craft lives with more purpose and passion.”

Author of the best-selling book “7 Keys to Coping with Cancer – How You Can Feel Good AND THRIVE (from someone who’s been there)

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