New Year New You

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, January 13, 2021
By Anastasiya Rusilka, M.A., CMC, ACC.

2020 was a year like no other.

Many things happened in 2020.

For some, it brought sorrow and loss – disappointment and sadness.

For others, it brought learning and opportunities.

But one thing for sure. For all of us, it was a year of uncertainty.

We didn’t know what tomorrow would bring. We had no control over the external circumstances and had to adjust to a new normal. Whether we liked it or not, we had to make changes. And we did. And we were successful at it.

So, let us start 2021 by CELEBRATING US and acknowledging the inner power and strength that carried us out of an unpredictable year better than we were before.


The beginning of the year is always a great time to start something new, make plans for the future, and create a vision of what you want to accomplish by the end of it. This year is uniquely significant for incorporating changes both in our lives and within ourselves.

However, research shows that most of the New Year resolutions fail after the first few months. The reason is simple. We are creatures of habit. To create a new habit takes time, effort, and consistency. Once we plan for changes, there is enough motivation and enthusiasm to last through the first few months. But only after we’ve exhausted the will power, will it take us back to point A.

To make long-lasting improvements in 2021, you must commit to only one new thing so focus on what you are good at. Meaning, use your strengths daily. The question is, “How can you do this?”

The first step is to understand your current state of mind, body, and soul.

To get more familiar with your emotional state, pause two to three times a day and ask yourself:  What am I feeling right now?

Then follow up by asking yourself:

What do I want to feel?

What do I have in my toolbox that will help? 

This simple exercise will create awareness of your inner state. For better effect, you can journal about it. After a week or two, you might see patterns. Once you do, look at the external environment for triggers that cause certain feelings in you (either positive or negative). Increase the ones that are positive and eliminate the negative.

The essential and second step is to identify your Top Five Strengths and apply them regularly, to make it a habit. This is the tool I use in my coaching practice. Visit VIA Strengths Institute and take its free survey at:

As soon as you have identified your character strengths, you are empowered with tools that bring out your best. Whenever there is a life-challenging situation, look for an opportunity and a way to apply your unique strengths to come out a winner.

For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and tired, and instead of taking a little break, you continue doing chores, pause for a second and look at your top five strengths. If love happens to be one of them, think of how you can apply it. Or maybe creativity is another. How can you use it in this situation?

By practicing daily using your top character strengths, you will begin shifting your perspective from who you are and instead focusing on what you are good at. Change your attitude, and attract more positive situations into your life.

Good luck in your journey to a better future. Just remember that it all starts within you.

May 2021 bring peace, love, and happiness into your life.


“Why am I here on this planet, what is the purpose and meaning of this? My answer is simple – to grow and develop, and to be content and present.”  – Anastasiya Rusilka, MA, Certified Coach