Reflections and Resolutions

”Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” ―Carl Bard


As 2016 comes to a close, I felt numb when looking back and thinking about the last twelve months. This year has steered in so many directions I never planned to go or never could have expected. It serves as a reminder of another year gone by. With any ending, it is easy to get caught up in everything that didn’t happen.


I’m trying to change my point of view and see how this is a time of healing, a time of letting go, and focus on new beginnings. Often times when one door closes another will open somewhere else, it just might be a window instead of a door. I’m not going to pretend 2016 was not a hard year. I never thought after feeling so accomplished just 12 months before, that I would have faced with a year like this one.


Losing my beloved job and work I was proud to be doing for the last three plus years, feeling the loss of yet another romantic relationship failing, losing a dear friend Jill Brzezinski-Conley to her battle with cancer, being forced to stop home sharing and making supplemental income during a time I needed it most … these are just some of the personal struggles I was faced with this past year. Meanwhile, I watched all my friends and people around me carry on as I struggled and had to find a new path. It was hard to stomach. I felt like a turtle reverting back into my shell, not sure whom I could count on for what.


To most, these struggles may not seem significant, but to me, I felt like my world had collapsed. There was not much energy to get out of bed in the morning to face a day with unknown struggles. What do you do when everything you love is stripped away? I had to figure that out. What did it all mean? Where do I go from here? Being at the bottom is hard to swallow, but the good news is that you can only go one direction … up.


As I look back, I realized these experiences and situations we face in life are only matched with times of growth when we face struggles and challenges. We grow when we face adversity versus the times of good fortune. It is easy to play the pity game and say why me? But when we go through life-changing challenges, we emerge as a different person, many times stronger than before. I learned that when hard times come, you must make the decision about what really matters to you.


Photo Credit: Jennifer Jade Ledesna


As I drag myself across the mental finish line of 2016, the previous feelings earlier this year of feeling bruised and beaten have gone away. The cloud that seemed to be hanging over head will lift and the sun will return. Unlike previous years, I didn’t look forward to new years or make any resolutions. However, I’m excited to see what 2017 holds and feel it is time for a fresh start, a chance to hit the reset button.


Turning the calendar page from one year to the next is merely the difference of one day, but I say don’t get hung up on that one day. Make each day count. Facing what is “next” can mean different things for different people. Here are my tips for making the next year great. Try complaining less and doing more, stop worrying all the time just breathe, cut yourself and others some slack, and don’t let feelings run your life. With these things in mind, use the helpful tricks below to sticking to your resolutions.


  1. Get clear on what you want and write it down
  2. Take small and simple steps to your goals daily
  3. Create positive behavior chain habits
  4. Reflect on any breakdowns and learn from them
  5. Regardless what happens, keep going and start fresh each day


As we move through this roller coaster called life, remember to scream through the peaks, hold hands through the dips, laugh through the loops, and enjoy every twist and turn. On this New Year’s Eve, I offer those who are suffering a reminder of hope. Both joy and pain are temporary. Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.


It is okay to embrace and feel the highs or lows, some days will be downright difficult, maybe even painful and certainly challenging. Maintaining an optimistic outlook will help ensure that you not only weather the storm but learn something valuable from the situation as well. Remember that there are always two ways to look at anything: positive and negative. Let your upcoming year be more than just checking your New Year’s resolutions off the list. Start today to find the positive in all that you think, say, and do. As you ring in the new year, cheers to making bold choices for your life. Always remember that your present situation is not your final destination. The best is yet to come.