Happy New Year!
As we're reading all those nice holiday cards and opening our gifts (I got a neato torpedo Kindle ), can we think of a gift we can give ourselves?
Let's take stock of 2011—give ourselves a “Year in Review,” as it were:
- What triumphs did we have? Maybe we changed someone's mind about us in a good way. Or we did something like go to a party or go on a date for the first time. Possibly we kept the same job for over six months. Go us!
- What have we learned? Perhaps people's tones of voice are clearer to us now. Maybe we've gotten a step closer to figuring out which occasions call for “outside voices.” Or we've mapped out a few more euphemisms—like “I need more time for myself for a while” means “I don't want to go out with you anymore.”
- How can we do even better in 2012? For example, we might be able to help others feel more relaxed around us. Or maybe we can devote a bit less than five minutes to discussing our research on the chemical composition of glue before asking the other person how her day went. Or work up to one unplanned trip each month ... maybe even in a group.
- What can we be in 2012? This year, I began the technological jump. Having grown up with landlines, paper credit reports and cloth-and-paper books, I found it quite a stretch to move to a smartphone, online credit checking and eBooks this year. (Heck, I used WordPerfect until 2004, landlines exclusively until 2005 and a desktop computer until 2010.)
Sometimes, you can find lots of goodies lying just outside your comfort zone. The Droid that now graces my hip packs more power than my first few desktops combined. I can check my email and keep in touch no matter where I am, find the nearest Five Guys  (my all-time favorite burger place, bar none), figure out which stuff at the supermarket is actually good for me, scan certain announcements and instantly put the events they contain into my personal address book and calendar and much more.
How does it do all that? By synchronizing with others the world over. Not to mention by updating regularly.
If a humble little palmtop device can do it, what can we accomplish that way?
Here's something we can all get in on—whether you’re on the autism spectrum or not. Take a few minutes and remember what you hoped to accomplish in 2011. Look and see what actually happened—what you wanted and what you didn't, what you were looking forward to and what seemed to strike you blindsided.
Now, where do you want to go from here in 2012? How do you want to be a better friend, a more successful professional, a part of a happy (happier) relationship? Focus on one or two SMART  (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound) goals. Then visualize them. When you have an image of yourself, say, smoothly chatting with others, or changing plans more flexibly or going out on a date, you can work toward them—and achieve them—much more easily.