Starting a New Year

New Year has always been my favorite holiday. It’s all about a fresh start. Setting new goals. Making plans. Wondering what will happen.

A big part of the excitement in facing a new year is that it’s a chance to be creative, to build something new in the world or in our lives. It might be a bit quixotic at times, imagining a spectacular new self or better life or more good times — after all, who knows what good or bad things will actually happen? But on the whole, it does seem healthier (if not always easier) to feel optimism about coming attractions than to worry about what great past has been forever lost.

I’m working on some writing projects and wanting to focus most of my bloggy energy on this blog. I’m closing another one, dealing with weight loss issues, and planning to write about that topic here.

A few things I’ve been thinking about during the past year that I want to learn more about, so will be writing about here:

– The value of what I’ve been in my mind calling “immersive focus.” Meaning, instead of trying to accomplish 20 amazing things at a time, and so being mediocre at or totally neglecting 18 of them, it’s important to focus on just one or two things. There have been some good books on this lately, and I’ve been finding this to be very helpful in my own life recently. I’ll write about this soon.

– My own primary “immersive focus” topic has been personal health care. I’ve been pretty fortunate to have basically a symptom free life, but have always struggled with some weight issues and for 20 years or so, diabetes. But new research and some great writers on the topic have proven quite useful. I’m learning lots, and will share some of this.

– More generally, there are lots of exciting new things to talk about in the broader area of what we might call “performance enhancement,” which is really the same general topic that was of interest to ancient philosophers, to classic American “self-help” geniuses like Benjamin Franklin, and more recently, researchers in “expert performance” such as Anders Ericcson and pop writers and podcasters like Tim Ferriss. I’ll be reviewing books, sharing useful tidbits, all in keeping with the “high performance self-help” theme of this blog.

– More along the lines of actual professional psychology, I recently enjoyed a great professional workshop by Dr. John Norcross, one of the leading researchers and writers in the field of psychology. He spoke about the newest research on the importance of good relationships between therapists and clients and how to achieve them, and how that helps people get better when in treatment for problems ranging from depression to anxiety to substance use or weight loss. He has published some very useful things on  the science of self-change, focusing on what the research says actually works. This is great stuff, and I’ll be sharing some insights.

– I’m writing a book on managing what I’ve been calling “hard diets,” which are in fact neither all that hard nor, strictly speaking, diets. If you want to make lasting changes in your health, your lifestyle, your general happiness levels, this stuff might be useful. I’ll be sharing as much of it as I can in this blog in the coming months and your input will be very much appreciated. Look for ideas and reading ideas from some of the best, state of the art researchers and writers on nutrition, diet, exercise like Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of a number of books on the health benefits of “nutritarian” diets.

(Note: having just deluged you with links, I want to reassure you that I’m only sharing stuff I like; I don’t get any kind of compensation for sending you off to Amazon or anywhere else. And as best I can, I only suggest good stuff, with good research backing when it’s there.)

This blog will pick up on some of the writing from my long-defunct one that I’d been thinking of updating, the “Big Weight Loss Project.” Old posts on that will stay there. I’m also going to finally get around to learning how to manage my Facebook “authors” page, and will share details as I get it organized.

Finally, I’ll keep sharing some stuff on self-help for depression, from my books on phobias, enhancing your social intelligence (the greatest “superpower” you can have), and even some stuff from my psychological thriller, Dark Analysis (under the pen name JT Gregg.) (For these links, yeah, I could theoretically get some cash if somebody would PLEASE buy a book or two… but let’s not whine.)

Keep in touch. Let me know what you might like to learn about.

Let’s make it our best year ever.