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Are you leaving out the most important thing on your list?

As the year draws to an end, you might find yourself busy making lists: lists of gifts to buy, goals to meet, and extra pounds to lose. But the most important thing you’ll need to turn those lists into reality might just be missing—the right mindset. Having the right mindset will help you not only meet daily challenges, but also any obstacles that emerge along the way. If you haven’t given this much thought, you are cheating yourself out of a powerful head start.

First, take an honest look at your mindset during 2015. Did you meet each day with a wow or a whine? You have the power to make a radical change in 2016, one that will not only help you to achieve your goals, but also allow you to enjoy the journey along the way. There is an old proverb that illustrates this point beautifully: instead of focusing on lining one’s path with leather, line the bottom of your feet with leather, so that no matter where life takes you, you will be resilient.

Change your mindset with these three steps:

1. Always be prepared to let go of expectations when something doesn’t go as planned.

Don’t waste time whining about obstacles; turn your obstacles into opportunities by engaging your creativity. Arguably one of the world’s most famous perfumes, Chanel No. 5, was created when an unprecedented amount of one chemical (aldehyde) was accidentally used. It was a mistake of legendary proportions. Change is your friend not your enemy. Don’t be afraid to use it to help you shine.

2. Make gratitude a daily practice.

Research shows that happy, successful people are not the ones who always get what they want. Happy people are grateful people. Having a mindset of gratefulness and appreciation for what you have in your life wards off feelings of deprivation, envy, and small mindedness. Pay more attention to quality, not quantity. Don’t make life a numbers game. Two thousand likes on Facebook is not as valuable as having one good friend who will be there when you need them. Begin with a baby step by starting a one-sentence gratefulness journal. Every night before going to bed, think about your day and find one thing that you are grateful for and jot it down.What you do everyday matters more than what you do once in a while. One sentence a day is easy and it will help you appreciate the goodness in your life.

3. Stop blaming and start taking responsibility.

In all my years of experience as a psychotherapist, the people who gained the most out of therapy and were able to make huge changes in their lives were those who at some point within treatment took responsibility for themselves. They learned to stop blaming others and start getting curious about their feelings.  Curiosity replaced self-judgment and enabled them to gain growth and wisdom.  They focused more on embracing their messiness and less on trying to be perfect. When you’re stuck blaming others and expecting them to change, you rob yourself of the ability to create long lasting change from within. When you ask yourself, “What is my 50% here?” you’ve got yourself a great formula for growth and wisdom.

Think about it, the most valuable gifts you can give yourself this season cannot be bought in stores. They are right there inside you. They just need a little nurturing. Practice these 3 steps in order to turn traits into permanent states of goodness. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season.

I’ve created The Conscious Actor Inspiration Journal; to help actors develop awareness of what inspires them. Beautiful pages filled with inspirational quotes to help keep you strong minded. For New York actors, the journal is available at Drama Book Shop Los Angeles actors may pick up the journal at Samuel French Bookshop

Conscious Actor articles are not a substitution for professional psychotherapy.

Bonnie Katz, MFT is a licensed therapist in private practice. Her goal as a therapist is to help clients reach “optimal mental wellness”, so that they can feel happiness, fulfillment and joy in their everyday lives. For more information on Bonnie’s therapy practice, visit her website.