A New Year…A New Start Written by: Devie Forrester, Marriage & Family Student Intern

There is something about a new year that prompts us to reflect and renew. Many of us find ourselves thinking about all the things we could have, would have and should done in the past year as we ponder on how we can do more and better in the upcoming one.


What is it that informs your decision making? Are you driven by competition to outdo others, or are you aware of your unique circumstance/reality? We must make sustainable goals. In order for us to do this, our goals must be achievable. For example, you may resolve to 'exercise for three hours a day, every day in the coming year' when in fact you are a working mother of three, going to school in the evenings, who has never exercised regularly before. Setting realistic goals is by no means lowering expectations of yourself. It is rather, the facilitation of success that is borne of the awareness of your current reality. Forget the status quo and the Jones’s. What can you maintain? What can you manage? What can you do, the way only you can do it? Work on what works. Once we establish what is realistic for us, we are faced with meaningfulness. A goal is easier to achieve when it’s meaningful. A musician seldom complains about his late night gigs and dancer about sore feet; but meaningless tasks are burdensome. The goals we set must be based on our natural desire to improve upon or implement specific strategies.


While devising a game-plan for your coming year, it is good to assess your goals together, as a family, and agree upon activities that are sustainable. Choose things that are specific to each person as well as resolutions that benefit the family as a whole, for example 'to spend 2 hours a day of quality time together doing a physical activity.' Be as specific as you can and set guideposts. These are measurable mini-goals that help you stay motivated and that allow you to assess how close you are to your ultimate goal(s). As busy as life gets and as hard as it can hit us, the average family struggle with maintaining a steady and focused daily family time. However, one must recognize that a happy family life makes way for a more harmonious life in general. Being able to combine spending time with family and achieving goals is a winning scenario. Families that resolve together will succeed together

The goal setting process, is also a good time to work on developing family time-management practices; in essence, practice cutting away the fat and reducing time spent on arbitrary activities that do not fit into family goals. It’s amazing how much time we can accrue when we consciously carve away non productive time-consuming activity and refocus on time spent meaningfully with our loved ones. We might not be able to undo damage but we can do damage control and carefully consider our priorities as we plan. Is your family struggling to fit into your lifestyle or are you consciously making decisions that are conducive to maintaining a healthy family life?


Many of us have goals that we are "re-committing" to, which is very telling of a strong resolve. However, as we try to revamp and reprioritize our older goals, we rarely re-assess our methods.Have you been doing the same things, over and over again, expecting different results? Then you might want to consider a paradigm shift. Try something totally new. Strategize. Instead of seeing the easily distracted , disruptive as a bad child, consider that he might be a brilliant child who learns quickly then gets bored. Maybe he needs a few extra activities to keep him focused and attentive. Maybe that “irresponsible” teen needs carefully thought out and manageable responsibilities given to him(instead of being taken away out of frustration) to practice being responsible and by extension prove he can be if given a chance. Maybe he can borrow the car to go to the movies if he will also do a family chore with it like picking up some groceries or dropping off a younger sibling. Most of us simply need a little coaching and guidance. In our goal setting we must remember that in order to be where we’ve never been we have to do what we’ve never done.
Very often we convince ourselves that “because we got ourselves into this mess, then we must get ourselves out of it”. There’s no need to “play the hero”. Some of the challenges we face are more than we can bear alone. If you find that you could use some help, get some help. There is no shame in reaching out .Therapy is not just for those who have been labeled with mental illnesses. Healthy, happy families often seek outside assistance to hurdle sporadic bumps in life. There is a wealth of resources available to us, to help us with many of life’s challenges. For many reasons we have medical check ups, we take our cars in for regular tune ups and filter changes, we even change our wardrobe when things no longer fit. Why not consider an emotional check up to keep those relationships working well. Married or unmarried, no man is an island and we all could do with an outstretched hand.
Finally, we must recognize that we are human. We make mistakes. Also, our goals and aspirations change as we grow , experience more and mature. Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you make a mistake and go back on a promise, do what thousands have done. Pick yourself up and try again. Pick up where you left off. There is no need to abandon all the effort and gains made thus far. Recognize when there is a change in the seasons of your life and make the necessary adjustments. The fiscal year begins in April. The school year begins in August/September. Your new year can begin whenever you need it to begin. Wherever there is a resolve to do something new; something to make our lives better, a new season has begun. Even the scriptures tell us, that God’s mercies are new every morning. So face each day afresh, with the mindset to achieve and the determination to take a step closer to your goals.

Bio: Devie is a Marriage and Family Therapist Student who has a passion for healing and restoring broken and wounded relationships. She is a native of Kingston, Jamaica and she has a strong desire to guide and empower her clients to obtain their peak potential in both their personal and professional lives. Devie is committed to each client, which has proven to transform their lifestyle in many ways including spiritually & emotionally.
She attended the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with a minor in Education. She has served as a camp counselor with New Generation Ministries and Circle Square Ranch, in Severn Ridge, Ontario. Upon the completion of her internship, Devie will be awarded a Master of Science degree in Marriage and Family therapy from Nova Southeastern University. She has so far gained experience in working with clients presenting with various addictions & difficult relationships.
Yesterday is history, the future is a mystery
Now is a gift, that is why we call it the present

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