I hope that 2014 will be a year of growth and change for you.  Toward that toward goal, I offer you a loving challenge:

If this was going to be the last year of your life, what would you do differently?

Growth and change can be a challenge for many.  Many of you may fear change, all the while wishing desperately that something (or someone) would change.  Here’s a secret:

You are the most powerful agent of change in your life.  Stop waiting for the other person to change.

Change is happening all the time in your mind and body. With every inhale and every exhale, you experience change, whether you are aware of it or not.  The different thoughts that float through your mind are a constant demonstration of change as well.

So how do we challenge ourselves to change?  Through action, that’s how.  We witnessed a terrific example in 2013. Through his actions, Pope Francis reawakened the possibility that people can be kind and helpful to one another, rather than shaming and judging others.  Big “Like”, Il Papa, from Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

By settling or holding back and not exploring every possibility in your life, you incur an opportunity cost.  An opportunity cost is what you give up when you decide not to take an action that might bring you to a desired outcome.  An opportunity cost is expressed in relative price, that is, the price of one choice relative to the price of another.

Here is an example.  If you are near or older than 40 and you have been receiving fertility treatment at your OB/GYN office—because it’s cheaper, because it’s covered by insurance, because you’re not quite ready to move to IVF or donor eggs, or because you are in denial about the ticking time bomb that is your biological clock—what are your opportunity costs? You are losing time and possibly your chance to have a genetic or biological child.  Explore every opportunity and run to a fertility clinic, even if it costs you money.  So many people in my office have cried tears of resentment and sorrow because they have waited too long to maximize their opportunity to conceive.

Here is another example.  Let’s say that your relationship is fair to middling. It’s not great but it’s not awful. Just there.  Perhaps you are too afraid to even think about what change might look like.  By complaining but not doing anything about it, what is your opportunity cost? By refusing couples therapy to improve your relationship or discernment counseling to end it in a way that is not destructive to either party.  Dreaming big dreams about change is great. Action is what gets you there.

And here’s another example. One party is desperate to raise a child and is ready to attempt pregnancy naturally or to go to a fertility clinic. The other is ambivalent and just puts off discussion.  The opportunity cost to the party who is waiting (and waiting and waiting) for discussion is time and helplessness.  Again, the biological clock really does have a shelf life. The ambivalent party, by not willing to engage in discussion, has made a decision for both of them. The opportunity is to engage me or another good therapist and quickly. The one who is willing to go to the therapist is the one who is willing to grow.

Okay, hang in there with me for one more example.  How willing are you to change your thoughts and habits about food?  Let me say that I am not a believer in diets.  We are talking about your life over the long term.  If you are considering bariatric (i.e., weight loss) surgery, how are you willing to change how you eat NOW?  If you are not willing to change your thinking and habits NOW, the bariatric surgery will be a waste of time.  I have written previously about eating for fertility.  How you eat–and I mean this for women and men–can make a big difference in your ability to conceive and stay pregnant.  Take a look at Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity, and Your Fertility and I Can’t Get Pregnant! for more information on how to enhance your fertility and stay pregnant.

So consider the following questions in the weeks ahead and share them with others:

•    How will you grow in 2014?
•    How can you make your life different and better?
•    What changes need to be made?
•    How will you address your fears?
•    What are you settling for?
•    What are you waiting for?
•    How can you make your relationship more of a treasure?
•    When will you go to the adoption seminar?
•    When will you make an appointment at the fertility clinic?
•    How will you change the way you eat?
•    How will you find different or better work?

For some of you, the message might be a “Do Something New”.  For others of you, the message might be “Slow Down and Move with Intention.”  (You can read my earlier blog post, Moving With Intention, here.)   Either way, I challenge you, lovingly, to grow and change.

Take the bull by the horns.  If you’re nervous about getting too close to the bull, examine your internal bull**** instead.  You know what I’m talking about, friends.  It is the stories you tell yourself that keep you stuck.  Edit or write new stories.  Move it and move on!

Be curious.  We learn best when we are curious about something or when a situation is new.

Lose your fear of social media.  You can go where no man has gone boldly before.  Also go where people are already.  Connect and reconnect more with others in the year ahead.

In 2014, I send my every good wish for those of you who are building your family through fertility treatment, adoption, or the old-fashioned way.

I wish you a better relationship, with yourself and others.

Treasure your relationships.  You and your loved ones matter.

And most of all, I wish you courage, happiness, good health, and prosperity in 2014.  Happy New Year!


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