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fireworksAs the year ends, we begin to look at what will be in store for us in the New Year. Some of us will continue with many things as they were this year, such as our work and family lives. Others are finding many changes coming in the new year, losing a job due to the recession, losing money in the market, or changes in relationships at home. Sometimes changes are forced upon us from the outside, but we might be making the decision to change things ourselves. Either way, we can make the process of change work for us if we think about it in the right way.

There has to be a shedding of the old in order for new growth to come forth. While you may have been considering a new idea for a while, there needs to be an outward change for it to fully develop. When you lose something, you will naturally be in a position for something new to come forth into your life.This is always an opportunity for you to benefit.

The problem is that we often resist change and make this very natural process more difficult. Did you ever feel as if things were “falling apart”? Chances are you thought the change was bad at the time. But take another look now to see if it wasn’t actually for the best that it happened. Did you learn an important lesson? Did you discover something really important about yourself? Did it propel you to take action that you would not have taken otherwise?

We may think that when this process happens it is destructive, and in a way it is. It is a healthy dismantling of the old. It is like the tearing down of an old, rundown building in order to make room for the new one. But that does not mean all is lost. For example, let’s say a new restaurant goes in where the old one went out of business. They may reuse the facility and equipment even though the menu and the concept change. Even when the whole building goes down they can use the fact that people remember there was a restaurant in that location. Be smart when you disassemble and see what you can reuse as building blocks for your next venture or goal!

Did you ever feel that when a relationship ended that maybe it was a waste of time? A young man whose girlfriend had just broken up with him after two and a half years said this to me the other day. This is not true. It was actually the right amount of time he needed to get some important discoveries about relationship. He may have spent time resisting the change as well. These are hard-earned learnings to be gleaned from our past experiences. Be sure to look for them and make note of them. Remember, the ‘gold’ can’t be mined from past ‘material’ unless you look for it – and that abundance is in the seeing and noticing of things that are right in front of us.

We can learn to let go of the old, make things easier and speed up the process by being consciously aware of what is happening and moving out of the way – not resisting. Taken even further, we can be an active participant in change by going through the old and figuring out what to keep and what to get rid of. This can be done on a physical plane, by sorting through old items, emotionally sorting through our feelings, and cognitively by looking at what we learned (thoughts), etc. To analyze something means to take it apart and mentally look at each part separately.

Here are the 7 steps to the shedding and transforming process now:

  1. Start by looking at what makes you happy (or would make you happy) and what makes you unhappy in your current life. Take a piece of paper and make a list of the areas you’d like to let go of on the left side of the page and the areas you’d like to expand on the right.
  2. Notice that those two sides of the page compete for your resources: time, energy and money.
  3. Make a decision to spend less resources on the things that make you unhappy so that you have more time, energy and space for the things/people you love.
  4. Begin with the left column: Ask yourself, “What you have learned, discovered, or received from each item?”
  5. Then,”What can I take from each experience with me that will serve me in the future?”
  6. Next, ask yourself, “What would you need to get rid of, donate, recycle or delegate in order to let those things go?”
  7. Make a list and plan to take two sorting actions every day.

As the column on the left shrinks, you should find yourself with more resources for items on the right. When this happens, shift your resources by taking two actions on items in right column each day. Now you are on your way to something that you love!

I hope this step-by-step guide will make your “letting go of the old and ushering in of the new process” faster and easier. I would love to hear about your progress!

Happy New Year!