It is with enormous enthusiasm that I write the first newsletter of 2017. I am excited about welcoming the start of a new year and standing with you in a place of unlimited possibilities and the promise of creating an off-the-charts year! There is no time like the present for us all to declare and claim that "This is my year and it starts now!"

Like many of you, I have spent the last few weeks taking time off, unplugging from my normal work schedule and day-to-day routine, and contemplating my vision for 2017. As I did this, I became acutely aware of all of the things I do out of habit or on automatic pilot. I noticed all the things I do without questioning or based on what I have done in the past. Becoming present to this realization and the impact that this behavior has on molding my life, I stopped and questioned myself. "Is it the truth that I need to work out 7 days per week, that I can only take Fridays off, or that I can never cancel a date with someone unless I give them twenty-four hours notice? Or are these all stories I have told myself and have come to regard as the truth?" In short, I had to look at whether I just made up all of these self-imposed guidelines for my life and was continuing to live by them out of habit even though they may not have been serving my highest or bringing me joy.

As many wise sages have said, the greatest predictor of the future is the past. It is without question that this adage will continue to ring true as long as we all stay on automatic pilot, seeing and interpreting situations through a myopic perspective and believing that the stories we tell ourselves are the only truth. Our past will continue to be the greatest predictor of our future as long as we react to certain events and manage particular areas of our lives as if they are set in stone.

The fact is that not only do we allow our own thoughts and self-imposed guidelines to dictate our behavior, but we also project on to others what we believe they want for us or think we should do. Then we let those projections and suppositions drive our life. As I have started to challenge my own reality, I have had to question what I am convinced is the truth for others, "Do my children really hate it when I go out and leave them at home? Would my friend really be opposed to changing our plans last minute and ordering take-out instead of getting all dressed up and going out? Is Sunday night the only night I can have my weekly dinner with my mother or could we change it to Friday every once in a while?" The answer to all of these questions is, "Definitely Not!" Yet until I ask I will never know. And most of the time I don't even ask because these are all things I have told myself are truths and used as the basis of my decision-making process!

A promise that I have made to myself for 2017 is to look at my life and my day-to-day choices and patterns with fresh eyes; to not just assume that the way I did something in the past is how I have to do it in 2017, and to really challenge my assumptions by asking:

- What are the stories, or actually even the lies, I am telling myself?

- What am I doing as a result of a routine, automatic pilot or even some made-up sense of obligation?

- What serves me?

- What excites me?

- What could I do differently that maybe I have never even saw or thought of before?

Our options are truly infinite! And sometimes just some "small" tweaks in your routine can make a huge difference in your life, but you need to wake up to your right of choice. You don't have to "do your life" in the future as you have in the past.

The time is now to take on radically reinventing your life! It starts with waking up to the fictions you have created. The good news is that even though you might have been the one to place all of these self-imposed guidelines on your life, you are also the one who has the power to look at situations through new eyes, question the status-quo, release yourself from the bondage of the past, and create your life in a fresh new way that will leave you feeling energized and excited about who you are and what you get to do on a daily basis!

We at The Ford Institute wish you a joyous and inspiring new year. We hope that we can continue to connect in a way that is supportive and life-changing!

Transformational Action Steps: Start Busting Your Status-Quo!

(1) Begin noticing the things you do automatically or because you have done them that way in the past. Do you have the same thing for breakfast every day? Do you go to the same vacation spot every February? Do you jog the same route on Sunday mornings?

(2) Start to question and challenge the habits you are seeing. Ask yourself:

- What are the stories, or actually even the lies, I am telling myself?

- What am I doing as a result of a routine, automatic pilot or even some made-up sense of obligation?

- What serves me?

- What excites me?

- What could I do differently that maybe I have never even seen or thought of before?

(3) Try doing one, then two, then three things differently. Experiment with options, you can always go back to the old way of doing things or things don't have to be black or white – you can vary things, the point is to have fun and shake it up! Who knows what you will find.

Author's Bio: 

Kelley Kosow is a Master Integrative Life Coach, CEO & Program Leader of The Ford Institute. She is a leader and teacher of emotional education, shadow work, and personal mastery.

In 2007, Kelley joined The Ford Institute staff. She was hand-picked and personally trained by the late Debbie Ford to lead her programs and continue the legacy of her life-changing work. Known as a “coach’s coach,” Kelley works with individuals, groups and corporations world-wide.

Kelley is a graduate of Brown University and University of Miami Law School. Kelley has been featured in local and national media. Oprah Magazine named Kelley as someone who could “Dream it, Do it.” She has been featured in In Style, People, NY and LA Times, and Conde Nast Traveler.

Kelley is working on her first book on Integrity.