So…January of 2024, a shiny new month, is nearly half gone. I keep wondering how that happened so quickly, but as I understand, the more birthdays a person lives through, the faster linear time rolls by. That’s a different conversation. This particular chat has to do with New Year’s resolutions – yea or nay – and possible alternatives.

     My question to you, gentle reader, is how are those working for you…if you subscribe to that practice? Are you putting in regular hours at the gym now that you’ve hired a personal trainer? Feeling lighter and brighter now that you’re forgoing sugary goodies for “good for you” food selections? Beginning to rise and shine as soon as the first ray of sun creeps through your curtains now that you’re hitting the hay earlier? Losing your taste for single barrel bourbon since you’ve joined the ranks of “Dry January” practitioners? (There’s hope on that front; February’s coming!)

     According to a Forbes Health/One Poll survey, the top New Year’s resolutions were to improve fitness (48%), improve finances (38%), improve mental health (36%), lose weight (34%), and improve diet (32%). Don’t think you’re the Lone Ranger if you fall off the wagon months or even weeks later. The same poll found that the average resolution lasts just 3.74 months. Failing to keep New Year’s resolutions is so common that there are even a raft of unofficial dates honoring them, i.e. Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day on January 17th and the second Friday in January, Quitters’ Day.

     Though I don’t make resolutions as such at the start of each year, I admire those folks who make them and stick to them faithfully, long enough to drop behaviors that are a negative influence and add others that bring positive vibes to their overall health. Should you be a person with enough of a measure of success to repeat the practice, then, as a friend of mine says, “Rock on with your bad self!”

     If you either make resolutions and can’t seem to stick to them or want to simply give up on your capacity to change, find hope in the following words of the great Sufi poet Rumi:

Don’t go off sightseeing.

The real journey is right here.

The great excursion starts exactly where

you are.

You are the world.

You have everything you need.

You are the secret.

You are the wide opened.


Don’t look for the remedy for your troubles

outside yourself.

You are the medicine.

You are the cure for your own sorrow.


     No matter how frustrating your life may seem, one of abundance is within your grasp, no matter your circumstances. And the word “abundance” can mean whatever you want in your life. Of course, it can mean an abundance of money, which for many people comes to mind first. However, expand your thinking to imagine how different your life might be with an abundance of time, of creative solutions, of the natural world, of wisdom, of emotional fulfillment, of love, of friends, of family, of enthusiasm, of faith in yourself and in others, of living what you’re passionate about.

     I’m no guru sitting on a mountaintop with answers to life’s big questions, though I know from experience that you have to ask those first, even if – and probably especially if – you don’t have answers to them right now. Put the questions that occur to you in the front of your mind by writing them down. Then think about them as you go about your day. Learn to live in the present more often instead of in the past with its “what ifs” and “if onlys” or in the future, which can be riddled with fear of the unknown.

          “Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way,” says Indian American author and alternative medicine advocate Deepak Chopra, “ask if you want to be a prisoner of (your) past or pioneer of (your) future.”

     The present is pure expanded time and living in it can give you a new, wider perspective on everything, including your definitions of abundance and how you’ll manifest those to change your life for the better.

     Dr. Chopra professes that abundance should be all-embracing. Creating abundance in your life should be far more than a game of chance; you should be able to create what you want. Good things and bad things come into every life. So “instead of passively waiting to see if you’ve won life’s lottery, you can change the game in your favor.”

     Here are his suggestions on how to proceed:

  1. Turn negativity into positive action – Focus today on one thing that you feel negative about and take one action that lessens that negativity for you. These actions include standing up for yourself, speaking your truth, fixing what can be fixed, and walking away from things that can’t be fixed.
  2. Get a healthy outside perspective – When bad things happen, people tend to isolate, to think it’s their problem and they don’t want to burden anyone. But if you choose someone who has walked in your shoes, so to speak, confronted lack and loss, and made it through to the other side of pain, you’ll have a clearer perspective on how to make it through life’s fog.
  3. Don’t indulge in the voice of futility – If you do, it will pull you down to its level. Realize that negative voice isn’t you, reject it, and when something good happens, remind yourself that the voice was wrong.
  4. Expand your awareness – Living under pressure amid noise and stress and never stopping to relax is counter-productive. Go into a quiet place and sit with your eyes closed for a few minutes two times daily to allow the brain to reset itself back into balance. Practice meditation.
  5. Take full responsibility – Don’t be a victim. Victims are dominated by outside forces – other people, circumstances, turns of fortune. Since outside forces cannot be controlled, giving up responsibility for the bad things in your life seems natural. But statements such as “I can’t help it” and “That’s just the way I am” are like a poison seed that keeps multiplying and growing. Situations change only after a person stops looking outside himself to blame and begins taking responsibility. It’s the key to stepping into your own life journey.
  6. Develop a higher vision of your life – There is no such thing as fulfilled and miserable. Though material abundance can be useful, it contains no fulfillment by itself. Fulfillment originates from a vision that comes true. The higher the vision, the greater the fulfillment. The vision you have of your life attracts those ingredients that lead to mastery while eliminating needless distractions that can set you on a useless path. Identify your vision and become aware at a deep level of what your path is to create the life you desire.

     Whether you follow resolutions or open your heart to Chopra’s wisdom, make 2024 a year of positive change. You’ll be glad you did.