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Finish Strong ARTICLE BY CHRISTINA KUNKLE

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End 2011 On A High Note ou had high hopes for what this year would bring, a long list of things you wanted to accomplish and a clear mental picture of what your results should have looked like. “Things will be different this time,” you declared last New Year’s Eve, taking off in an all-out sprint toward your resolutions with as much willpower as you could muster. Now, with the majority of 2011 behind us, I invite you to slow down long enough to take stock.

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Perhaps you’re discouraged as a result of professional setbacks or are still in a job long after you thought you’d find something better. Maybe you’re wondering how a relationship that was once on the fast track got stuck in neutral. It might be that you’re still not able to accomplish something you really wanted to do or are berating yourself for not having a job, a relationship or a goal at all. If you feel like giving up or think it’s too late for you to finish the year strong, let this quote by George Eliot reassure you that “It’s never too late to become who you might have been.”


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The following methods, called the 5-Step “Synergy Success Strategy,” will help you embrace a new perspective; one that has you taking your power back. With a few simple shifts, you still have the chance to make it your best year ever. Instead of throwing in the towel and coasting until New Year’s, let’s be proactive with the time we have left. Busy women who thrive in life and work grant themselves permission to put first things first. You give so much to everyone around you ... don’t you deserve the gift of a few mindful minutes to reflect, reboot and rekindle your spirit? Taking an honest look at where we are requires courage, but our efforts are quickly rewarded with increased clarity and confidence. In fact, “Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed.” — Dale Carnegie

Step 1: Capture your wins

If you’ve been busy running at the speed of life, chances are good that you haven’t yet given yourself full credit for the races you’ve already won in 2011. On a blank piece of paper, write down all of your accomplishments so far this year. What are you most proud of ? What’s gone well, and how have these things served you? Treat yourself to something special in celebration of your wins, and carry this momentum forward into next year.

Step 2: Face challenges

We must pack up the past to make room for something new. On a second piece of paper, list out everything that hasn’t worked out as planned. What tripped you up? Did you start out too fast, and burn out before reaching your goal? Did you forget to schedule in time to rest and refuel? Were you hanging on to what was safe out of fear? Did you try to do it all alone? Perhaps

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once your willpower was gone, negative self-talk or beliefs about being unworthy crept in, sabotaging your best efforts. Make a firm decision to leave behind things that have not served you. Love yourself enough to let go of what you don’t need so that you can bring in what is actually going to make you happy and feel successful.

Step 3: Show self compassion

If you’ve made it to this step, I honor your grit! Giving full attention to where we’re struggling often brings up strong emotions like regret, fear and anger. These feelings keep us stuck in the past and anxious about the future, stealing our power to respond well in the present moment. Often, we waste precious time and money trying to escape painful feelings by using temporary distractions like excess sugar, caffeine, alcohol, food, impulsive buying or unhealthy relationships. Instead of beating ourselves up, let’s spend that time and energy constructively by showing ourselves grace, then getting on with what needs to be done to move forward. What would you say to your best friend if she felt down? Look in the mirror and offer those same words of kindness and encouragement to yourself. See that “It doesn’t matter where you’ve been; it only matters where you are going.” — Brian Tracy

or two. You can always trust the guidance your inner wisdom offers. The key is taking action on what you hear and paying close attention to your intuition. Are you inspired to pace yourself better this year, scheduling time to recharge your batteries? Are you sensing it’s time to reach out to a trusted friend or mentor as you challenge fears that have kept you playing small? Perhaps you feel drawn back to school for an advanced degree. Be sure to follow through until you have a detailed course of action, because a good plan will keep you headed in a new direction. If not, you may find yourself standing in exactly the same place this time next year.

Step 5: Don’t give up

It won’t be easy, but the payoff is a happier you, and you’re definitely worth it. Resolve to do your best every day, and never underestimate the

power of small, continuous steps forward. Surround yourself with those who have a can-do attitude and aren’t afraid to take a risk. If you make a wrong turn on the path to a better life, you can always turn around. But don’t stop. “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit,” says Conrad Hilton, an investor and businessman. Our power lies in the present moment. Let’s give it all we’ve got and choose to finish strong!

Christina Kunkle, R.N. and CTA Certified Life and Wellness Coach, is founder of Synergy Life and Wellness Coaching, LLC and creator of the Synergy Success Circle. She helps busy women prevent burnout by promoting bounce-back resilience to stay focused, positive and excited about the challenges of work and life. For more information, visit her website www.synergylifeandwellnesscoaching.com or call (540) 746-5206.

Step 4: Break the pattern

You’ve heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results, right? It’s time to create a new plan that has you taking actions based on your unique values and what really matters. So what things are most important to you? List them all out. If you aren’t sure, place your hand over your heart, take a deep breath and just listen for a minute

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