As I began lifting weights the day after Christmas (THAT was a small miracle), I was reminded of my Year of the Change back in 2000 (which sounds so long ago). I wasn't in a happy place — physically, emotionally or mentally. In a quiet moment, I asked myself three life-changing questions: What isn't working? What do I want to do differently? How can I make it happen?

I first focused on weight loss/energy gain, and using simple, time-tested principles and a home gym, I did just that, becoming a trim, small size full of life and energy. That change spilled over into the relationship with my husband — I stopped helping (nagging?) with our building business and let him do the honors, then focused more fully on my family and growing our marriage. Lastly, I began doing public speaking, a little here and a little there, sharing with women the concepts I had learned.

Interestingly, my life blossomed. Things that frustrated me before were not only manageable but enjoyable. And currently, from marriage to children to LIFEChange, I'm still reaping the benefits of that amazing year.

Is this your year to truly make a life change? Whether it's weight loss, finances or relationships, etc., I invite you to answer the three questions above and see how they can begin helping you create your ideal life.

To do so, we need to step back for a minute. Sometimes we can be so hyperfocused on what is before and surrounding us that we lose the big picture. We feel hopeless, without energy, and our thoughts turn negative when we dwell on things that irritate or anger us, instead of seeing life as a whole.

One woman I LIFECoached was moved to tears, feeling frustrated with her marriage, her lack of progress in using her talents and abilities, and a lack of joy and happiness in her life. As we first talked through some key issues, such as her physical health and personal, emotional and spiritual wells, she veered off into discussing her husband. Several times throughout the call as she headed in that direction, I gently reminded her we were not here to talk about her husband's challenges — we were here to talk about what she could change and how she could make that happen. In doing this, I encouraged her to create her own LIFEPlan, including creating a LIFEVision of her ideal life, and then choosing one area to focus on for her goals. I added that she could create her Wall of Inspiration — a space, poster board or foam board to post her goals, quotes and pictures of her ideal life.

I received an e-mail shortly after, in which she shared that life had become so good she hesitated to create the Wall of Inspiration because she could hardly handle the good that was coming her way! Yes, she will have challenges to face as she moves forward in creating and living her ideal life. So much of what makes our life ideal is the unknown that comes tomorrow.

Our present is our future, and it's up to us to choose it. No matter your circumstances, and I've seen a few, you CAN truly change and succeed in ways you could not have understood before. Sit down for 20 minutes and answer the three questions above. Focus fully on your answers, that they are from the gut and the heart. Then post them where you will see them frequently, and allow your heart, mind and soul to simmer. If you're a praying person, make this part of your personal prayers and just see the daily miracles that start to take place.

This is all about carpe diem — seize the day. As an anonymous quotation reads, "If not now, when? If not me, then who?" Make this your year of the change and live the joy!

LIFETip: Take 20 minutes and answer the three questions above.

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