Ask yourself, for example, what you would do if there was nothing to stop you - you didn't have to think about money or other people. Think, too, about what has and hasn't worked in the past in relation to what it is you want to achieve. If, for example, your long-term goal is that a year from now you'll have bounced back from redundancy and be happy and successful, then imagine all the ways that could happen. There may be several options. For example, you could look for similar employment in your area or move areas; perhaps you could work freelance, work abroad or change career direction. And if you wanted to learn to play the ukulele, you might identify four options: to find a local class, to hire a tutor, to learn through online tuition or to swap a skill you have in return for ukulele tuition. The process of identifying your options will stretch you beyond your usual way of thinking and behaving. And because positive thinking broadens and opens up possibilities and ideas, you may find that some of your ideas spark other ideas. I have some heroes in life. One of them is the match book cover person. Most of you are too young to remember when every matchbook cover had printed on it, "Close cover before striking." This was because the striking plate was on the front, where the bottom of the cover hooked in; occasionally someone would strike a match with the cover open and the whole packet would blow up in their hand. That was not a good thing. Therefore, "Close cover before striking." I have researched this, but I couldn't find out when matchbooks were first invented, when they started printing "Close cover before striking" on them, or the name of my hero. But, who figured out to put the striker plate on the back instead of on the front? Wow! Now that is a great example of recognizing that there's a problem, and that things don't just have to be that way, and then coming up with a solution. Then everyone goes, "Duh!' but it was brilliant. We tend to think things are just the way they are. Once recognized as A Problem, problems can be solved. Problems can be large or small.

Small frustrations take their toll on us and we can figure out strategies to deal with them. Life will be better. We all have goals, but we may not stop and think about them. Maybe the closest we'll get are the ill fated New Year's resolutions. Knowing our goals helps us have an organized approach to our life. There are short term goals and long term goals. The short term goals mostly need to be steps to help us progress towards the long term ones. I worked with John Rush, a psychiatrist who has become prestigious, and I assume prosperous, by doing research on depression. When John and I were working together, he was not nearly so prestigious yet, but he was impressive and I learned from him. John always impressed me as being clear about what his goals were. In general, if something didn't further his progress towards his goals he didn't do it. John was excellent at saying "No", and his inspiring model has been helpful to me. John knew much more about pharmacology than I did, and he often gave me help, information and good advice. But when he didn't, it was striking: This principle is about efficiency and has become popular in business, but it holds true for many general tasks. The Pareto principle focuses on the idea that 20% of what you do gives 80% of the results that you see. For example, only about 20% of the house cleaning really needs to be done in order for your home to be livable. The good news is that if you can focus on the right 20% of your activities, you can enjoy 80% of the usual results! That means that you can get a lot done at a lower cost in pain and fatigue. And if you choose to let go of the other 80%, it will probably not cause too much trouble. Consider following the "GEMO" rule.

GEMO stands for Good Enough, Move On. Things don't have to be perfect; it is OK to just get the job done and save energy for other activities. There are many common sense tricks to make daily tasks easier; most people use them every day without a second thought. The challenge is to make these shortcuts part of your routine as it takes creativity to change how you do a routine activity. There may be a new way to do a familiar task that is easier, less painful, or more efficient. To enjoy sustainable success, it's important to work with your body, not against it. Plan ahead Keep a to-do list A big to-do list can be overwhelming. Try keeping a big master list, and also make a smaller list of just a few things to do each day. Mark the very important things on your list with a star. These are probably the 20% that will yield the most results. Make a list of things to do while waiting. Wait time can be a gift! Break tasks down into small steps. The teacher must maintain a present-moment orientation on what participants are saying and not get caught up in her ideas about what points need to be made. If the participant's answer seems to manifest an embodied understanding of the teaching point, the teacher might say nothing or offer a simple reflection by repeating or rephrasing what has been said. Sometimes one needs to use a complex reflection to guide the group to a more nuanced or deeper understanding of key learnings. Complex reflections are questions or statements that explore implicit meaning or intention (Miller & Rollnick, 2013). This is not the same as a psychological interpretation that tries to uncover or explain unconscious motivations, one's core beliefs, or hidden reasons behind a statement, but more an expansion or reworking of the person's words to help clarify meaning. Commonly, a participant's reflections do not need a response on the part of the teacher. This is especially true in later sessions when the teacher needs to say less and less and allow the learning points to come from group members without embellishment.

Other times, a participant response may reflect understanding or skill development but is somewhat unclear with respect to the utility of what is being learned as it relates to the intentions of the MBCT program. In that case, the teacher should resist the temptation to explain to the participant and instead follow-up with a question like, "Okay, so how would what you say be relevant for staying well?" This gently clarifies what is being said, creating the bridge between practice, learning, and application and making it explicit for all group members. Remember how we have discussed the power of words and affirmations? I want your house and office to become Affirmation Heaven. Put affirmations at eye level, where you can see them. Say them aloud. Every night pick one and journal about it. Immerse yourself in affirmations just like you are learning a new language--because you are: the language of you. The following are the affirmations I suggest as you start your wellness journey. Today I take full responsibility and ownership of my life. Today I believe in my mission, and I am taking charge of my health. Today I will get my ego entirely out of my way. Today I will stop blaming others for my past mistakes and experiences. Remember: write your ideas down, so that you can actually see them. Don't let your ideas stay stuck in your head. Once you've got some ideas and options written down, for each option, ask yourself some questions: What skills, strengths and resources do you currently have that could be helpful for each option? What further research and information do you need? Who could help? Who could give you advice and ideas? What resources might you need?

When do you expect the goal to be achieved by? When could you get started? (Depending on your goal, it could take time to get all the information you need to make an informed choice.) Today I will not blame my parents, siblings, or other family members for what they did or did not do. Today I will not blame my former spouse(s) and/or friends who betrayed me. Today I will not blame my former employers who let me go. Today I will not blame anything or anyone who has ever hurt or harmed me. Today I am willing to learn. Today I am open-minded to new and healthier ways of living. Today I am committed to reclaiming my health and life. Today I believe I will succeed, and nothing will stop me. Today I plan to win, win, and win in reclaiming my health and freedom. I would see him in the hall - "John, do you have a minute?" "No" - and he would move on (or, rush on, you might say). No excuse, no apology, no arrangement to see me later, just "No". A man with his eye on his goals, which were very clear to him, and he has been successful at achieving them. I wouldn't necessarily want to do it in John's style, but watching John really helped me learn to say "No" and become better at keeping my eye on my own goals. Of course to do that, I need to know what my goals are, both short term and long term. At least once a year I sit down with a yellow pad and ask myself, "What are my long term goals?" and "What are my short term goals?" which will mostly be the things I need to do to move towards my long term goals. "How am I doing on my goals? How am I spending my time? What might I need to do differently?" Asking these questions is a very useful exercise.