Our blog.
Breaking Barriers, Opening Doors



Occupational Therapy


Breaking Barriers, Opening Doors .

“So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains,and we never even know we have the key.”  –The Eagles (Already Gone)

The start of a new year brings with it an interesting swirl of emotions, doesn’t it?  There may be a mixed sense of freedom and loss, as we let go and move on from last year’s events. There can be a feeling of renewal and possibility at the beginning of a year, and a concomitant sense of risk as we consider the challenges ahead. Other years we may just feel stuck in a holding pattern.

We all face obstacles to moving forward in our lives, regardless of who we are or where we live. Some barriers are situational (“I need to get around, and I have no car”), some are skills-related (“I don’t know how to drive”), and some are internal (“I get anxious when I go out of my home” or “I have nowhere to go”).

Take a moment to consider a time when you successfully maneuvered through (or even mastered) a challenge, large or small. How did you pull it off? You almost certainly had a repertoire of solutions.  As the Eagles have pointed out, the real secret is remembering to use your skills at the right times.

Think about it: How did you pass the test, ride the bike, win the video game, play the song, give the speech, or do whatever it was that you felt proud of?  Think of what happened as a story, and list out the strategies that you used. Did you:

  • Break the task into manageable units?
  • Diagram out the pros and cons of various solutions?
  • Practice a little (or a lot)?
  • Meditate and breathe?
  • Use a schedule planner or calendar?
  • Set a reminder alarm on your phone?
  • Talk the situation through with friends?
  • Watch others in the know, and imitate their actions?
  • Talk yourself through the steps?

Each of these strategies is a key that you can use again and again.  There are many ways to get a job done; these are but a few.

Draw encouragement and guidance from all of your past successes, and take ownership of them. When faced with a new challenge, decision, or year, don’t panic… remember to engage your skills to approach the situation proactively. If you’re still puzzled as to what your skills are, try one of my favorites: start listing them on a post-it note, and add more as you can. Then please share your ideas here– I’d love some new strategies for my own key chain!

If you’d like to have a little help toward strengthening and using your skills to create the life that you want to live, give me a call or send me an email…  after all, Bright Futures is all about:

“Discovering options. Breaking barriers. Loving your life.”