So what are you doing New Year's Eve?

Here's my take on New Year's Eve:  Don't put so much pressure on the actual date you celebrate.  You can have so much more fun if you ignore Dec. 31 itself.

I'm celebrating it on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28!

I really don't want to be in the middle of all the craziness on Dec. 31, and I'm not so enamored of any of the current men in my life (none of them is "the one") to undergo all the pressure that comes with being someone's date for New Year's Eve.  (More on my dating philosophy in my Prepare to Be Loved program.

So, I have two super-fun events coming up for the weekend after Christmas.  On Saturday, Dec. 27, I'm meeting some of my best women friends in the world (and they're also my ready-to-party aunt, cousin, and two ex-wives of my brothers -- the mothers of my nieces and nephews).  We'll be going out for margaritas and Mexican food, and out for line dancing after that.  And, probably sleeping it off at my aunt's house.  I love these women, and can't wait!

On Sunday, Dec. 28, it's the December meeting of the women's wine-tasting group I'm a part of, and we'll be meeting at the beautiful home of one of the members, with the theme of Winter Wines . . . (and celebrating my birthday, which was Dec. 24).

I find that it's so much easier to schedule wonderful time with women friends (both married, divorced, and single) when you do it between Christmas and New Year's -- so that's what I do!

These two events will be the highlight of my holiday season.  I find Christmas with the family just a little depressing and stressful, since there's hardly anything on which we see eye to eye.  Yet, they're family, and I do it.

So what should you do on the dread New Year's Eve itself?  If your kids are with you, order pizza, watch some movies and make noise at midnight.

If you're on your own?  Indulge yourself in any way that feels good to you -- especially by doing things that your ex didn't like or didn't approve of.

Of course, you can use this time to take a look at your year in review and decide how to make the new year different. 

But, for many of you, it's a much happier idea just to let it all go, and get to bed before midnight.  By the time you awaken, a beautiful new year will be here!

Before you turn in, you can make a little ritual of kissing the old year goodbye, or maybe exorcizing it from your life with a few rounds of lion's breath -- open your mouth wide, extend your tongue, and forcefully exhale everything that brought you to your knees in the past year.

You can take a cleansing bath or shower during which you symbolically wash away every disappointment, regret, and fear, and call in everything you want to be part of your life in 2015.  Use a wonderful scent that makes you feel protected, calm, and strong.  Whatever scent you like is a good one for you!

2015.  It's your year to make of it whatever you will.  Make a resolve that no one else will hijack your beautiful life for their own purposes.  I want to propose a new definition of selfishness.  It means that you are full of yourself, full of the person who you were always meant to be.  An example of beauty, strength, and happiness, who draws like-minded people to you.

I'm wishing you the very happiest new year ever!

What would you change? It's all written on your face.

What would you like to change about your past life when you look back 10 years?  What about looking back 20 years ago in your life?

And, more importantly, if you could see into the future, what would you be so shocked to see that you would make changes immediately to avoid that outcome?

Since it's December, it's natural to think about Charles Dickens' 1843 novella A Christmas Carol, in which the miserable Ebenezer Scrooge has the opportunity to revisit his past, gain insight into his present, and glimpse an unsavory end.

But, what if the average woman could see into the future?

My thoughts about this began as I read a wonderful article by Susan Minot about photographer Nicholas Nixon's 40-year (and counting) project of taking an annual photograph of his wife and her three sisters.  You can read the article and see all of the portraits here.

I couldn't help but wonder about the life stories of these four women as I saw their expressions and body language change from year to year.  I wondered whether, if they could have seen the 2014 portrait way bacn in 1975, they would have done anything differently.  Would they have been shocked?  Would they have been proud of the strength that shows in their faces, or would they think, "My god, I must have lived a hard life!"  Or perhaps they might feel a little bit of both emotions, and many more emotions in between.

Watching this video started me thinking:

What if you could have a time-lapse, four-minute encapsulation of your life -- see yourself 40 years from now?  In your face, you would be able to read so many things:  the struggle, the disappointment, the roads not taken.  Or, perhaps joy, the process of aging in contentment, with a satisfied heart and peaceful mind.

The thing is:  We can do this without the time travel!  Imagine:  If life continues as is, what face will greet you in the mirror in 40 years?  We can live each day for a better outcome now.  (And enjoy each day along the way, in the process.)  A sort of Picture of Dorian Gray in reverse.  Every day, we can become stronger and more beautiful.  It is a choice -- but it takes mindfulness, and sometimes it takes minute-by-minute shifts from habitual patterns of thinking.

Passionate desires and a picture of your life as you want it to be really help and make the practice of mindfulness fun.

I am choosing as my mantra for 2015 this quote:  I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change.  I am changing the things I cannot accept.

Divorce is the wake-up call to give each of us valuable clues about what we've been missing in the past, and how we'd like to change it.  And, this is just the time of year to consider how to make this happen, using fun and self-nourishing ideas to give birth to your life as you want it to be.

And, this is the time of year when I offer a holiday gift to everyone, my 40-page ebook, 5 Surprising Cures for the Holiday Blues.  Get hold of it here, and start trying some of the secrets inside:

 

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There's still time to make big shifts in 2014. Here's how:

It's September, a time when many people give up on getting accomplished those life changes we hoped to set in motion at the beginning of the year. 

Pretty soon, it's the big wind-down (or mad dash, depending on how you see it) through the holiday season, and then the let-down of another year behind us. 

And, hmmm, are you stuck in the same place you were last year?  Or -- gasp -- has it gotten even worse?

Get some key life goals off your to-do list before harvest season! 
It's much much easier than you may think.  Baby steps.  Here's my suggestion for accomplishing something personally meaningful with what's left of the year:  Just focus on setting your infrastructure in place for 2015.

Let me give you a quick idea of how I did this (and am still putting on the final touches) in 2014.

It all started with a new virtual learning program that I rolled out at the end of 2013.  I'll be offering it again, soon, but here's the incredible offer that I made for the program last year in the last two days before Christmas.

The program is called 5 Surprising Cures for the Holiday Blues, and one of the cures involves using the holiday season to create a blueprint for your new life as you want to live it in the new year.

I had developed my program based on my own experiences in recovering from a terrible betrayal and healing from the total destruction of my life as I had known it.  Although my life was back on track, and I was happy again, I ended up loving my new blues-busting program so much that, just for fun, I decided to work my own program, step by step, during the holiday season.

The results have been amazing.
I created a theme for my year:  Most gain for least pain.  With that theme in mind, I kept testing ways to improve my life in five key areas important to me:  money, diet, exercise, leisure, and love.  Various practices and techniques received test periods of at least 28 days, and I assessed the results after each experiment.

The assessment for every practice or technique I tried?  Simple:
1.  How much work did it take?
2.  What results did I get?

So far:  Best year ever.  Here are a few of the things I'll have to look back on with pride from 2014:
  • Not only did I lose 15 pounds, but I documented exactly what worked for me best.  And the modified form of this diet -- my maintenance diet -- is completely livable and enjoyable for the long term.
  • My "new normal" diet feels great and I have lots of energy.
  • I've come up with the bedtime and sleep schedule that's the best compromise between my natural night-owl proclivities and my optimum productivity.
  • I've tested numerous techniques to look and feel ten years younger -- and, once again, I've documented what works.  I look terrific, which helps me feel incredible, too.
  • I'm holding myself accountable for getting at least two hours of leisure per day (that means leisure that is restorative and fun for me, not just watching what someone else wants to watch on tv).
  • I'm keeping my work week pretty close to 40 hours (rather than 60-80 hours per week) for the first time in years.
  • In the friendship and love arena, I feel more supported than ever, and although I'm still holding out for someone really special (settling just isn't fun), I have no lack of men in my life.
  • And the year's not over yet!
Spend the rest of 2014 finding out what works for you.
The key to all of this is that my life hacks are unique to me.  It's all about setting up an experiment in any given area of your life, trying a new technique, and assessing how it worked (or didn't).  I've been inspired by diets, exercise programs, and a host of techniques that others have developed, but the personal tweaking is the big secret.

You still have four months left in 2014!  Start experimenting so you'll have a great plan for how to achieve the goals most dear to you in 2015.
  1. Define four or five broad areas in which you'd like to see improvement or change  (eliciting help from your kids around the house, strengthening key friendships, improving the quality of your leisure time, finding ways to indulge yourself and feel more beautiful) -- just the process of coming up with your list can be very revealing.
  2. Look at each area, and see if you can spend 10 minutes a day exploring a way to improve that part of your life.  Start with one area and one experiment.  What can you do that will be easy, but has the potential to give you the biggest reward.
  3. Conduct your experiment for 7 days, 2 weeks, 28 days . . . and reassess.
  4. Write down your findings.  This is super-important.  You want to be able to remember, in January, what worked, and what didn't, as you put together your game plan for 2015.

And, if you'd like a little help, I'm always here.