NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Benefits of Writing Down the Milestones of Your Life

Often, when people feel stuck with where they are in their lives, their disappointment has a way of coloring their perspective about all of their life--not just their current state.  Usually, this is a distorted view based on how they're feeling about themselves now.  

The Benefits of Writing Down the Milestones of Your Life

When I'm working with a psychotherapy client whose self perception is distorted in this way, I often recommend that she write down the milestones of her life to help her gain a better perspective.

What Are Milestones in Your Life?
Milestones are memorable markers in a lifetime.  Milestones can be memorable events or accomplishments.  Whether they're happy or sad occasions, they represent important events in your life.

Why Write Down the Milestones in Your Life?
Milestones usually serve to give you a perspective on how your life has changed over time.  So, if you're struggling at the moment because you're feeling stuck and you feel that nothing ever changes in your life, writing down and reviewing the milestones in your life, can give you a different perspective.

Whether you view the important milestones in your life as being positive or negative or some combination of the two, you can see how your life has changed over time.

You can also gain a perspective that your life will continue to change over time.  This can be a useful perspective if you're currently feeling stuck.

Usually, I recommend that clients write down the milestones on a timeline starting with the earliest memories on the left and moving forward to the right on the timeline.

Which Events Should You Choose to Write About?
It's completely up to you which events you choose.  There's no wrong way to do this exercise.  Even two people who seem to have similar lives, at least from an external perspective, will usually have very different feelings about what's important to each of them, so they'll focus on different milestones.

One of them might include milestones about memorable birthdays, anniversaries, and the first time she fell in love. And the other might include certain accomplishments, like graduating college, getting an article published in a magazine and the death of a parent.

The Milestones That Seem Important to You Often Change Over Time
What's interesting to see, if you do this exercise at various times in your life, is that some of the milestones that you choose will be different at various stages of your life.

For one thing, there are new milestones as time goes on.

But, even more interesting is that, often, when you look at the same events at different points in your life, different events will seem more important at any given time.

Time as a Factor in Choosing Milestones
This makes sense when we realize that what's important to us changes over time, so what stands out at any given time as a milestone is likely to change with the passage of time.

Time as a Factor in Choosing Milestones 

That's why writing down milestones at various points in your life can be such an eye opener in terms of how you see yourself and your life.

Milestones to Accomplish Your Long-Term Goals
Writing down milestones can be done retrospectively or as a way to set long-term goals for the future.  So, if you have a particular long-term goal that you would like to accomplish, you can write down the milestones that you would need to accomplish in order to achieve your goal.

Feeling More Empowered in Your Life
Whether you use milestones retrospectively or to set goals for the future, writing them down and looking at them over time can help you, especially when you feel stuck in your life, to realize that life is always changing over time.

And when you recognize that life changes over time, you can also feel empowered to take steps to make the changes you would like to see in your life.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

I work with individuals and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.