Holidays are a great time for people to reflect on the changes that have occurred within a year, and what I love most is being able to look at how much has been accomplished and then look towards what needs to be tackled in the new year. Sometimes, however, the holidays can bring some melancoly as you think about loved ones lost, or personal goals that have not yet been met. This is totally normal, and what I really want to emphasize is the importance of not denying your feelings.  Often, it is precisely our disappointment that will spark a change in our behavior.

Just because things may look grim at one moment, does not mean they will always stay that way. Life has a funny way of surprising us, and evening things out in my opinion. So today, let me just share a bit of my own Christmas story to help illustrate this point:

Two years ago, I was not speaking to my mother, and I had not yet reconnected with my father. December 2010, I spent a lot of time reflecting on my family situation. This led me to go in search of my dad and make a Herculian effort to reconnect the family I lost as a result of an erroneous court order issued in the ’70s. 365 days later, I was flying down to Miami to spend my first Christmas ever with not just my dad, but my 2 brothers, cousins, my beloved aunt and uncle, and more extended family than I could ever fully comprehend. To be surrounded by a huge family for Christmas was my Christmas dream come true.

My Christmas wish for 2011 was that in the new year Santa would bring me a little more calmness, and thanks to an act of God (hurricane Sandy) I wound up reaching out to my mother and reconciling with her– something many had written off as a possibility. So here again another 365 days later on Christmas Eve, I sit here chuckling over the surprising twists and turns that life can bring us in just one year.

I don’t write much about the sad events in my life– not because they don’t exist, but because I choose not to dwell on them, and yet to be perfectly candid it is from our greatest failures that we often find opportunities to make the greatest changes in our lives. My first failed marriage is the best case in point: I learned a lot from the mistakes we made, and have used that to help thousands of others.

I have no idea what lies ahead for 2013, but it is clear that a lot can change in just one year, so if you are not exactly where you want to be this holiday season, it is ok– things can be different next year. It’s all about choices, and never ever allowing yourself to lose hope.

Merry Xmas!