Starting off 2010 with a twist…


Happy New Year!  

new years toast

Hope everyone enjoyed the eve exactly the way s/he liked. We spent it with friends, came home in time to watch the ball drop in Times Square, NYC and then stepped onto the front steps to watch one neighbor set off fireworks. Our next-door neighbors always come out too; it’s almost a New Year’s Eve tradition around here.


Thought we’d start off 2010 a little differently, joined by therapist, educator and life coach Diane Lang. Diane and I met online after my cousin (who is not only a publicist but happened to Diane’s) decided we should meet since we both write. Since then, Diane has turned out to be a great resource and sounding board, even though she writes self-help and I write fiction. (Her background as a psychologist was tremendously helpful as I agonized through my last manuscript.) Diane dedicates her career to helping people turn their lives around and develop a sustainable positive attitude. (Read more about Diane’s numerous accomplishments and the multiple hats she wears at or visit her blog at

In addition to all the above and then some, my dynamo friend is a mom, too. (Don’t know how she does it all!) She’s taught Positive Parenting and written extensively on the benefits of using it with even the youngest children. She’s authored Baby Steps: the Path from Motherhood to Career (available at; more info at  And Diane’s second book, Creating Balance, is due to debut in April!

Let’s see: what else? For the NJ crowd, Diane has been featured in The Daily Record, Cookie Magazine and seen on NJ 12 TV (and the national television program “Fox & Friends”).  She has also participated in a reality based Internet show,, hosted Generation X-tinet and appeared in various educational videos. Diane also writes a bi-weekly column “The Working Mom” at and shares her expertise on parenting on The WTBQ Expat Show.  

Okay, Diane, now that we’re thoroughly exhausted trying to keep up—please share your tips for a great new year! 

Thanks, Joanna. We all want to start the New Year off right. We think to ourselves, this will be the year: I lose weight, start exercising, eat better, reconnect with old friends, get a new job, etc. These are all great goals but why do we wait until Jan 1st to form a new habit and make positive changes in our lives? This year, let’s make a promise to ourselves that the changes we make this year will be permanent and meaningful. They will set the year off to a positive start.

This year:                             New Years Resolutions

 1. I will make myself a priority. I will learn to say no to others when I feel overwhelmed and stressed. I will say yes to my needs and wants. This year I will learn it’s ok to put myself first and take care of myself. This year I will learn that selfish isn’t always a bad word. If I take care of myself, I will be there for others.

2. I will be grateful for what I have: I will take the time to pause and think about all I have. This isn’t about my material objects. This is about my abundance of love, warmth, comfort, care and empathy I receive on a daily basis. I will make room in my life for gratitude checks where I spend a few minutes each day thinking about all I have in this life and just being thankful for it.

3. I will pay it forward constantly; I will give more of myself everyday. I will inspire, help and empower others on a daily basis.

 4. I will step out of my comfort zone this year. I will take risks, add variety and become more creative. This is the year I won’t be stale or stagnate. The word bored will be removed from my word list.

 5. I will be a great role model. This will make me a better parent, mentor, friend and educator. I will teach others by my actions.

 6. I will become fully aware of my negative thoughts, comments and actions towards myself and others. I will make a conscious effort to be more positive and respectful of others and myself.  I realize positive energy, actions and thoughts are all contagious.

 7. This will be the year of action plans. Not only will I set short and long term goal lists but action plans on how to get there. I will write down each detail of my list and follow each step. I will feel a sense of accomplishment because I have taken action.

 8. I will live in the present. I will let the past be in the past because the past doesn’t equal the future. I will stop worrying about the future because it doesn’t exist. I will not waste my energy being stressed about something that hasn’t happened yet.

 9. I will spend less time this year trying to control others and being perfect. Neither one is possible and even though I have known this for many years, I never listened. This year I vow to let go of my controlling issues and perfectionist traits and learn to enjoy life in its messy existence. I will learn to enjoy the unorganized, the messy and not planned life. I will realize at the end of each day everything works itself out.

 10. This year I will say “Thank you” to everyone I love not just on New Year’s, birthdays and holidays. I will say “sorry” when needed, “thanks” when it’s deserved and “I love you” just because I do.

 11.  I won’t try so hard to be something/someone I’m not. I will not keep up with the Joneses, compare myself to celebrities or wish I was someone else. I will learn to spend time alone with myself. I will learn what my likes/dislikes, strengths/weaknesses, dreams and hobbies are. I will becomes fully aware of who I am. This year is the year of me!

 12. This year I will let go of all the expectations of what could or should be and just live my life. Sometimes, we get so caught up in our unrealistic expectations that we forget to  enjoy the life that is here right now. Our present life. Our present situations, environments and family. We forget to be clear and aware of our surroundings: the love, the warmth. The caring…the friendships…the affection…I forget to enjoy those simple things.

 A tall order, friends, but one which I will strive to achieve. Thanks so much, Diane. You’ve inspired me!

What do you intend to do differently this year?  Take a moment, share with us. You never know who you’ll touch or inspire with one simple action.

Again I wish all of you a peace-filled and healthy 2010. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, be as happy as you make up your mind to be!

All the best,


clipart images courtesy of


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