Looking for New Year’s Motivation? Try Replacing ‘New’ With ‘Do’

A fresh perspective on thinking about the year ahead

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by James Clingman |

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What are your plans for this year? What are they for next month? Will you do something you have always wanted to do? Will you do anything different from your usual way of life? After all, it is yet another new year and we want to have a happy one, right?

So how can we be happy — especially those who are suffering every day in various ways? A happy new year will not come to fruition just because we wish it so. It requires action; we have to do something. So I am wishing everyone a happy “DO” year in 2023.

If you look back to last year, can you recount what you did versus what you said you would do? Unfortunately, many of us have made resolutions in January and forgotten about them in February. As the saying goes, “After all is said and done, much is said and little is done.”

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I can relate to the fact that there are things I will never do again, places I will never go, and people I will never meet. Within the context of having ALS, I have to be realistic and not resolve to do certain activities. Left with what my limited ability will allow, as you must do, too, I need to decide how to achieve my resolutions.

Learning to say yes

The question is: How can you have a happy DO year? The answer is found in the title of a book written by Peter Block: “The Answer to How Is Yes.” Block’s message is quite obvious.

As for me, I don’t think about what I will do this year as much as I do about today. Grateful for waking up, I pray for the opportunity to help someone and be a reflection of positivity and goodwill. Doing those things on a consistent basis will turn a happy new year into a happy DO year.

When you ask how to be cheerful, say yes first. When you ask how to stay active, say yes first. When you ask how to help others, say yes first. When you ask how to smile through your misery and pain, say yes first. When you are lying in a bed unable to move any part of your body except your eyes and you ask how you can go on this way, please say yes first.

Move on to the next day, and the next, and the next, and you will have happy new days, which will eventually lead to a happy new year. But first say yes to how and get started on making this a DO year.

In the context of ALS

ALS is so viciously unrelenting and leaves little time to contemplate actually doing anything. I once described it as my entire body having a stroke, one neuron at a time.

We victims of this monster’s claws suffer from despair, depression, disconnection, and dread. Many of us are disconsolate, defeated, disillusioned, depreciated, depleted, deprived, and destroyed. Some are even discounted, disrespected, dependent, and discarded. And that just covers the “D” words.

Here are a few more “D” words on the positive side: There are doctors who have dedicated their practices to defeating ALS. They are driven to deprive ALS of its dominance in our lives. They are determined to discover the cause and cure, and decrease the incidence of this diabolical disease.

Those aspirations confirm for me the need for a DO year by everyone involved with ALS. We patients can do our part by seeking out the leading doctors and researchers and following their work online or by reaching out to them personally. Stay informed about clinical trials and advocacy work on our behalf, especially with the Veterans Administration. It’s all about seeing the need and then doing the work.

Each day of life is precious and purposeful. If we look deeply enough, we can find the purpose of our lives, even though we are in the midst of the worst of times. However, all we really have is today — this day. As an anonymous quote points out, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

It’s a precious day when a baby is born; it’s a purpose-filled day when that baby grows to the level of introspection that points out why they were born.

Spend some time searching for yourself this year and discovering what you are still able to do to make life better for someone else. Have a Happy DO Year!

Note: ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of ALS News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ALS.


Peter block avatar

Peter block

Love you. Knowing you opened a world to me. Focus on economics came from you. See current form it is taking Common Good Alliance website.
Your spirit cannot be deterred by the body. You help us all be more alive. And less helpless.
Thank you
[email protected]


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