“Be firm about your choices right now. Don’t go backwards to habits and situations that weren’t helping you evolve. You have to keep reminding yourself why you even decided to move forward. Stay positive about what’s to come by being consistent with your change now.” 

– Idil Ahmed


At Keys to Counseling in Tampa, FL, I specialize in a specific type of therapy called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). Established by Dr. Albert Ellis in 1955, REBT is an active, directive, solution-focused, and goal-oriented approach to counseling and it is recognized as the pioneering form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).


As we approach 2020, which is both a new year, as well as the start of a new decade, let us assess our values. Values are different than morals or ethics. One person’s values are not superior to another’s. Our values are simply whatever is most important to us. For example, some of us prioritize autonomy as being the most important value we aspire to, while others strive to attain social connectiveness, mindfulness, cognitive flexibility, emotional stability, professional leadership, financial success, sustaining cultural traditions, finding intimate and monogamous love, having a family, and/or frequent new and exciting experiences. 


Based on our values, we can develop goals that help us to honor the values that are most important to us. It is difficult to achieve goals that are based upon too many competing values, which is why it is helpful to categorize the multiple values we hold as either most importantvery importantimportantsomewhat important, and not important. Those most important values that we hold are the ones that are most beneficial to focus on first. Once we set goals based upon the values that are most significant for us, we can then identify, dispute, and replace any core irrational beliefs or attitudes that may be inconsistent with helping us to achieve our goals. Similarly, we can assess whether our emotions and our behaviors are consistent with helping us to honor our values, and all that is most important to us. 


Regardless of how we feel about the previous year and/or decade, it is helpful to remember that each day, week, month, season, and year is a new opportunity to begin again, and that as human beings, we will continue to make mistakes, as well as experience setbacks and adversities. It is within these moments; however, that we can make the decision to learn from these experiences, and find enjoyment in life, by staying focused on improving that which is within our power to change, and truly accepting that which is outside of our power to control. 


Therefore, as we enter into the new year and new decade, let us strive to cultivate our own sense of happiness, inner peace, and daily enjoyment by developing unconditional acceptance of self, others, and life in general, a desire for improvement of life perspective and attitude, a willingness to experience feelings which are uncomfortable, yet essential for cultivating meaningful change in our lives (such as anxiety, fear, frustration, or difficulty), mindful and present awareness, an ability to directly and adaptively confront challenges, sincere effort and rehearsal of surrendering demanding thinking, an honest sense of hopefulness, the drive to establish genuine social and emotional connections to others, and a quest to think rationally.


Today, whatever day you are reading this, ask yourself: how can I achieve more of what I want out of life, and less of what I don’t? You can start by clarifying your most important values or priorities and establishing goals that honor what is most important to you. Identify any unhealthy negative emotions that you are experiencing, which may be serving as obstacles for achieving your goals and honoring your values. Assess any irrational beliefs or negative thought patterns that are responsible for causing your unhealthy negative emotions. Consider what unhelpful behaviors tend to accompany your irrational thinking and unhealthy negative emotions. These are behaviors that typically move you further away from achieving your goals and values. Next, choose some alternative  behaviors that can help to move you closer to your goals and values. Ask yourself disputing questions, such as: how is thinking/feeling/acting in this manner helping me to achieve my goals and honor my values? Furthermore: how can I change my thinking to help me feel and behave in ways that are much more helpful to me in regard to getting more of what I want out of life?


No one can assist you with making positive changes within your life, until YOU are ready to do so! Change the way you think, and you can change the way you live in 2020 and beyond! 


To learn more about life transformation and REBT, read my articles on:


10 Attitudes That Trigger Anxiety, Depression, Hurt, Low Self-Esteem, & Anger


How To Elevate Your Mental Health & Cultivate Your Own Paradise 


5 Rational Self-Help Strategies For Improving Your Mental Health & Wellness 


9 Relationship Commitments That The Healthiest & Happiest Couples Make 


At Keys to Counseling in Tampa, Florida, my mission is to promote healthy living through rational thinking! I provide both individual and couples counseling, and I would be honored to cognitively, emotively, and behaviorally accompany you on your journey to living, loving, being, and staying better! 


Written by Jaclyn Hall, Founder of Keys to Counseling in Tampa, FL


If you are ready to take a positive and empowering step into your future, reach out to Jaclyn Hall at Keys to Counseling for a truly life-changing approach to individual and couples counseling. Call her office today at (813) 397-8099 for a free phone consultation!