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A clean slate: Yours to create

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Linda B. Arnold, M.A., M.B.A., is a certified wellness consultant, counselor and chairman/CEO of The Arnold Agency, a marketing communications firm with offices in West Virginia, Montana and Washington, D.C. Contact her at The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV  25301 or at livelifefully@arnoldagency.com.

New Year's Day is my favorite holiday: 365 delicious days; 12 mesmerizing months; 52 wonderful weeks. It's the ultimate new beginning. Okay, I'm strapping myself in! 

It's also a time for reflection — looking back at the year in review and looking ahead at the year in preview.  What will you take into the New Year — both professionally and personally? 

Whatever does or does not happen on a global level in 2014 remains to be seen. All the more reason, in my mind, to live life fully as we go along. (Note to self: Remember, that's how you named this column — as a reminder that this is not a dress rehearsal!) 

So, how will you be living your life these next 362 days? And I don't mean how many resolutions and goals you want to achieve. How will you show up — at work, at home and out in the world? 

There are both contenders and pretenders in life. And I don't think any of us want to end up like Marlon Brando in "On the Waterfront," ruminating that "I coulda been a contender." 

Being aware and being present don't sound like very lofty goals, yet these two characteristics have everything to do with the quality of life we experience. How many times have you sent your "representative" out into the world — going through the motions — instead of really showing up yourself? Have you stopped to think how you might have cheated yourself out of richer experiences? 

All too often we're either too busy worrying about something that happened in the past — or we're projecting into the future. While we're doing this, we're missing out on our lives today. 

I'm not saying we don't need to plan; I'm a big believer in setting goals. It's just when the process starts to overcome the end result that we may need to take a step back. Hurrying through life really has no purpose, and it's certainly not very fulfilling. 

Our minds are like puppies — easily distracted, says author Iyanla Vanzant. Train your mind to sit.  If you've gotten used to overloading yourself with thoughts of next week or next month, stop. Take a moment to focus. Licking, nibbling and gnawing obsessively on next week — when this week is still here to be enjoyed — just exhausts us. 

Who knows? Single tasking may become the new multitasking — and actually result in more accomplishments for you this year, along with more quality. Although our speed of life has expanded exponentially, that doesn't mean we have to hurtle through space just to keep up. After all, what's the point?  If we're always striving, we're never arriving! 

Enjoy your clean slate. Plan to show up more in your own life this year. Anticipate the palette you're bringing to it – and the rich tapestry you're weaving. 

As author Carlos Castenada said, "The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.

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