My Gifts to You: End-of-Year Wishes to Spark Joy, Bring Change


December 2019 Issue
By Marilynn Preston 

It’s the holiday season. Still!

No one feels like doing work these last few weeks of the year, that’s for sure. The winter solstice helps shift us on a cellular level, and we realize the time between now and the dawn of 2020 is all about kicking back, spiking the eggnog and writing checks to charities you believe in.

So here are five end-of-year gifts, from me to I-believe-in-you. I offer them as steppingstones on your own personal path to well-being, however meandering it may have been this past year.

The only drawback? For these gifts to spark joy and provoke positive change, you have to do all the work.

Some of them will feel like re-gifting because I’ve brought them to your attention all year long. But trust me, Dear Reader, you can’t hear this stuff enough. If it were easy as pie to do the things that you know can do—that you want to do—Oprah would weigh 135 pounds.

GIFT #1: ACCEPT MORE. This eye-opening insight was offered to me in a morning yoga class this week, and now I offer it to you, just in time to make next year more successful in terms of making the changes you’re ready to make. It’s an updated and timeless definition of love.

 “Love,” Sienna told the class, “is 100 percent acceptance.”

Acceptance of what? Your self? Others? All of it. Everyone and everything. It’s a sneaky, radical idea. When acceptance replaces judgment and you finally decide to accept your life, your body, your golf handicap just as they are, it will be so much easier to do things in 2020 you had never thought possible. Find a partner. Lose weight. Meditate 10 minutes a day.

Yes! When you accept yourself as you are, your self finds the ways to take you where you want to go.

GIFT #2: MOVE MORE. If you make the effort to add more steps, more reps, more activity to your day, you’ll get the life-enhancing rewards of better health, greater strength, renewed energy.

You’ve heard this before, but what will spark action? Carpe diem. In the coming year, schedule yourself for more physical fun. More walks, yoga, bike rides, qigong, ballroom dancing—whatever activates your bliss-making chemicals. Stick with it until you’re hooked. When you’re addicted to the well-being rush that comes from even modest amounts of physical fun, the sweetness of life reveals itself, and suddenly, you may find yourself saying no to that second piece of chocolate cake.  
GIFT #3: THINK MORE. Tie a red bow around your brain to remind yourself to use it more in 2020. Stimulate it with engaging, challenging activities that make you think inside and outside the box. Puzzles of all kinds fit the bill. So does learning Spanish or Photoshop. Playing bridge. Taking a course in French sauces or bicycle repair.

How will you find the time? Stop checking your smartphone 50 times a day. (Low-hanging fruit, I admit.) When you stop learning, your synapses shrivel, and while you’re waiting for your GPS system to tell you where to go, vital centers of your brain power down and may never return.

GIFT #4: MORE REAL FOOD. Stop trying to fool Mother Nature. She hates fake foods, processed foods, foods with additives and pesticides and artificial sweeteners.

You claim this gift by reading labels and then laughing at the obscene amount of sugars. Cut way back on sweets—and anything with ingredients you can’t pronounce. There’s plenty of delicious, real food out there. Find it, cook it, eat it gratefully and support the conscious people who grow it.

GIFT #5: MORE FREEDOM. We fight for it. We die for it. But how do we define freedom? Here’s one possibility: the gift of liberation.

“You know you are free when you feel happy and at ease instead of fearful and anxious ... when you are independent of the good and bad opinion of others ... when you have relinquished the need to seek approval ... when you believe that you are good enough as you are.”

You can send your holiday thank-you note to Deepak Chopra. That quote comes from his book “Power, Freedom and Grace.”    


“For a new year to bring you something new, make a move, like a butterfly tearing its cocoon!
Make a move!” - Mehmet Murat Idan

Marilynn Preston is the author of “Energy Express,” America’s longest-running healthy lifestyle column. Her new Amazon best-seller “All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being” is available now on Amazon and elsewhere. Visit Creators Publishing at to learn more. For more on personal well-being, visit ©

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