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Start the New Year with Possibility Thinking and a Mindset of Success

It’s that time of year again to start anew, to re-energize your life and to access your brain’s capacity for possibility thinking and energizing the momentum you need for success and happiness in the coming year.

It’s a good time to stretch out of old comfort zones, contemplate changes in your personal life or at work, and replace a problematic habit or two with enriching ones. The sky is the limit.

Let’s be honest, however.

When you think about the upcoming year, New Year’s resolutions and making changes, all in one breath, do you get a weary déjà vu feeling? Or maybe a “been there, done that” moment?

Sound familiar?

If New Year’s resolutions haven’t worked for you in the past, and they don’t for most, it’s likely that the real problem is not you, rather the approach or thinking patterns you are using.

So, first, start fresh, pause for a moment, close your eyes, smile and take a few long, deep breaths. Now, in this centered and relaxed state, turn up your feelings of gratitude, feeling grateful, really grateful (keep smiling!), about the resources, talents and abilities you already have — in and around you — to support you in creating the life of your dreams. See them. Feel them. Believe in them.

Next ask yourself, “Do I really want to make changes and improvements?”

If your answer is no, at minimum, resolve to stop complaining, blaming, fault-finding. They waste your energy, and give you pseudo-feelings, subconsciously, making you “think” you are “doing something” about a problem, when in reality you are only adding fuel to the fire. For your sake, stop these practices, to build a reservoir for future action.

If your answer is yes, there’s good news!

Goal setting is now a proven science. Writing S.M.A.R.T. achievable goals is based on decades of studying top performers in all fields of endeavor. Based on this research, we now understand why resolutions generally do not work. (Most are vague, uninspiring, and feel like “must’s” — all of which produce low energy states for your brain.) To get your brain to fire and wire action producing neurons, you need high-energy states, such as enthusiasm, gratitude and determination — what is known as a mindset for success, which characterized by action-energizing possibility thinking.

More specifically, to succeed in achieving your goals, you need a mindset for success and possibility thinking, working as a team to create inner physiological conditions for taking actions, big or small.

So what can you do to prepare your self with a mindset for success to successfully realize any goals you set? For starters, consider the following four ways:

1. Envision your success in reaching your goals. Studies show one of the key attributes of successful people is the automatic habit of imagining themselves reaching their desired goals. They contemplate their goals “with the end in mind.” Envisioning the achievement of your goals also allows you to resonate with the feelings that attract what you aspire. Literally, you are allowing your mind and body to practice getting comfortable with the physiological states of a goal you desire to realize. Automatically, these good feelings can and do produce thoughts and actions in the direction of your goals.

2. Practice a positive attitude to regulate your emotions. You need a way of thinking of goals that allows you to better handle stress, setbacks, etc, that are a natural part of life. The beliefs you hold about the particular stressors that trigger you, stress in general, or beliefs about what is possible for you, and so on, shape your self-talk and thus your body’s emotional states. Whereas positive thoughts and feelings produce hormones such as Oxytocin, the safety and love hormone, negative thoughts and feelings produce hormones such as Cortisol, the stress hormone.

3. Handle stress better by shifting to a learning approach. For many, setting goals is a fear inducing activity. You need an approach to life that allows you to welcome positive change and see fears as teachers. They remind you of your deepest values and yearnings, they prompt you to not settle, they help you clarify what you want, need and what action to take, what works and doesn’t, especially limiting beliefs or toxic thinking.  It’s essential to identify, to understand and to take action to change any limiting beliefs or toxic thinking patterns. To do so, perhaps the most important understanding you need is of yourself, life and relationships; one vital aspect includes understanding how your brain and body, mind and heart (emotions) work.

4. See life as one ongoing opportunity! One way to effectively deal with survival fears (i.e., rejection, abandonment, etc) is to adopt a win-win view of life, for example: See whatever you do as either an opportunity for success or learning. Either way, it’s a win-win situation. Refuse to take any set backs or obstacles personally! Tell yourself there is no failure; it’s all feedback on what works and what doesn’t. Wins come from failure, and champions “know” this well; they “use” failure to energize momentum. In fact, depending on the attitude, failure is the breakfast of champions (consider Babe Ruth, for example; he held the record for home runs, but he also held the record for career strike outs).

So are you ready for the next phase of goal setting with a success and possibility thinking mindset? The only thing you stand to lose is…a poor attitude. Why not let go of old attitudes, and proceed with courage and fortitude…and smile! You are meant to be triumphant and victorious!

Once you understand this, know, believe, and act on it with a mindset for your success (your relationships depend on it)!

This New Year, I wish you a happy and grateful heart, courageously open to the possibilities you have within you to awaken and create the bright future and vibrant relationships you deserve.

Start the New Year with Possibility Thinking and a Mindset of Success

Athena Staik, Ph.D.

Relationship consultant, author, licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Athena Staik motivates clients to break free of anxiety, emotion reactivity, and other addictive patterns, to awaken wholehearted relating to self and other. She is currently in private practice in Northern VA, and writing her book, What a Narcissist Means When He Says 'I Love You'": Breaking Free of Addictive Love in Couple Relationships. To contact Dr. Staik for information, an appointment or workshop, visit, or visit on her two Facebook fan pages DrAthenaStaik and DrStaik

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APA Reference
Staik, A. (2013). Start the New Year with Possibility Thinking and a Mindset of Success. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 10, 2020, from


Last updated: 3 Jan 2013
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