December is a month filled with festivities. People spend time in celebrations, taking advantage of the sales of the season, and sharing time with family and friends. We are exposed to many stimuli and may not take the time to reflect, to be with ourselves, to take a break. Still, it is now, when the year is almost over and we are about to start a new one, that we can take a pause and reflect on what this year meant to us.

Many of us may be in a cheerful mood for a year filled with positive changes, good outcomes, and fulfilling life experiences. On the other hand, we may wish the year to be over because things did not work out the way we expected. We encountered disappointments, or we faced a major loss in our lives.

In which of these two groups of people are you? Are you celebrating with joy or are you grieving in your heart, pretending to be happy? If you belong to the first group, I am happy for you! Keep counting your blessings and realizing your purpose in life.

If you belong to the second group….my heart is with you. Still, I want to remind you of the special person you are and to use the amazing resources you have to deal with challenges and difficulties. It is a matter of choice. It is a matter of perspective.

You may not have been able to control some of the things that happened to you this year, still, you can choose to let go of the painful baggage you are carrying in your heart, and welcome 2020 with hope and strength.

Even if you do not see it now, you also have blessings in your life. Count them! Focus on what you have and do not dwell on what you do not have.

Keep an open mind and open heart for the year to come. We may not be able to change the past, however, we can plan our future and use our strengths to make it happen.

With the purpose of helping you evaluate your year and plan for the next one, I prepared the following questions:

• How was your life experience in 2019?

• Which was your happiest moment?

• Which was your most difficult time?

• How did you handle it?

• What regrets do you have?

• What did you learn?

• How can you apply these lessons as you plan 2020?

• What is the greatest goal you want to achieve in 2020?

• How can you make it happen?

As you answer all these questions, open your mind and your heart. Only in being real with ourselves we can create a life based on our principles and values.

Our life is a gift…let’s unwrap it with care.

I wish you a meaningful 2020!

Ligia M. Houben