Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year, New View, New YOU!

If your year was anything like mine, you are saying to yourself, “Boy ... I’m glad that’s over!”

I mean it wasn’t all bad. There were some things that were overwhelmingly great - for example I turned the Big 50 and got to spend it with family and many of the friends who mean so much to me. But all-in-all, it was a year of change and 12 months of challenges.

The economy has not gotten much better from when it tanked two years ago and the unemployment rate is still more than 8 percent in the U.S. This has affected friends and family members, not to mention my own household.

There are some of  you who lost a parent, a loved one, a colleague or friend. You’ve gained way more weight than you wanted to or became ill at some point during the year. You got tired, depressed, frustrated with life and vow that 2012 is going to be better than 2011 turned out to be.

Many are waiting for the clock to strike midnight on Dec. 31 so that you can toss out the old and begin with the new.

But what good is that going to do? How will turning a blind eye to what happened this year help you have a better one next year?

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “Those who ignore history are bound (or doomed) to repeat it,” right? If you haven’t - or hadn’t paid much attention to what it really means - know that having a successful New Year has less to do with ridding the old and embracing the new as much as it has to do with evaluating the old and creating a “new” that focuses on what makes you happy, complete and keeps you moving forward.

Too many people get stuck when things don’t go their way; I’m guilty of it myself. But I’ve learned that it’s at that time that, when you hit the roadblock, that you need to Stop, Think, Listen and Do:

STOP: When a “situation” or “event” occurs, the last thing you want to do is react. Sure, it may feel good and allow you to get even, which is your immediate goal, but when all is said and done, you will regret your actions or words at some level. Instead, don’t do anything, get to a quiet spot ASAP.

THINK: When you are over the immediate pain, confusion or sadness, ask yourself these questions - What just happened? Why did it happen? Where do I go from here?

LISTEN: Whether you believe in God, Allah, Jehovah, some Higher Power or the Universe, if you ask what to do next in any situation and tune out everything else, you will hear the answer. And I do mean “hear.”

DO: Now the hard part for many. Whatever “words” you hear, what sign you may receive, just do it! It might not be the answer you wanted, but that doesn’t matter. Too many of us do the opposite and find ourselves in the same or another place we aren’t happy with. Remember ... “Those who ignore history ... ?”

So instead of using the New Year to make a new path, I hope you realize that the path you are on is yours for a reason. Getting off of it will do more harm eventually.

Stay on the path, but look for the detours and take them. If you trip over a pothole, get up and keep going. Those friends and people along the side - if they don’t join you, root for you or give you a cup of water along the way, ignore them (and don’t think that is mean cause that is exactly what they are doing to you!)

Keep moving forward and look back only to see what not to do. And if you stay the right course and don’t waver, people and circumstances that aren’t supposed to be on your path, will drop by the wayside. No need to push them off the road, a truck will be by to take care of it if they remain on YOUR path.

Make the New Year about YOU - your hopes, your dreams, your health. Because if you aren’t around, what good will you be to anyone, much less yourself?

Originally printed at

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