Resolution Ideas for 2012


New Year Resolutions for 2012

Resolve to Downsize, Reduce Debt Fast and Gain Time

If your life feels like it is spinning out of control and you are being buried under stuff with an unmanageable schedule that has you running from dawn until midnight, here are some simple solutions you can make today.  As you may know, I live in Italy most of the year and have adopted the European lifestyle of quality vs. quantity. These are simple yet powerful ways to downsizing your stuff and schedule, while creating a lifestyle that gives you time and freedom to choose how to spend your precious days. Are you acting or reacting to life’s events?  Don’t be the pinball in an arcade game anymore!

Disconnect! Stop doing everything that doesn’t bring you joy. Busyness is a false sense of importance and robs you of time. Become acutely aware of how you spend your time and money and what influences you are allowing into your mind.  Turn off the TV, turn on some music, spend time outside in nature daily by walking in your neighborhood or park or riding bike without headphones or telephone. Learn to enjoy time in the beautiful home you have created.  Practice by spending a full day or long periods at home without TV and check email and/or your cell phone once every 4 hours. You control them, not the other way around. Give yourself unhurried time to remember your passions and things you wanted to accomplish that got pushed aside by daily life.  Eat your meals sitting down in a lovely setting and enjoy every undistracted bite. Live with purpose, not circumstances. Choose how you spend your precious days. Look for the good things in your life, right them down and say thank you.

What Triggers us to Change?


A Letter from Eric


You have been on an amazing journey. Love that you’ve put it into a book. The fact that it weaves through (or ‘ends’) in Italy is fantastic. My Mom is Italian, and my sister lives in Milan, married with children.

You had some Powerful events that led you to a strong sense of – “Make the most of your time and life.” But…for most people, Barbara, what do you think is the impetus to really roll up our sleeves and challenge ourselves in all ways, on all levels?

What is it that gets us to go for the most authentic, powerful, joyful, abundant expression of ourselves that we can?

Would love to hear your thoughts if you feel so inclined to answer…


Hi Eric,


Thanks for writing such a great thoughtful letter. 


I think we all start our lives with a certain expectation of how it is going to be and when that wears off, we evaluate things differently.  Life experiences can either stop us dead in our tracks or it can motivate us to move forward.  Near death experiences tend to “instantly” change a person.  Dr. Phil says there are “pivotal” moments in everyone’s life that push us into different directions.  Of course, you can just wake up one day and say “No more!”


For me, Tom’s death lit a fire under my chair.  I saw  in a flash,  how quickly a  life can be over and if I had dreams, I better get on with it.  I also felt that I had nothing to lose by taking the leap of faith.  My long term marriage was over, my fiance was dead and  my only child gone off to college out-of-state.  I no longer found joy in living in Orlando, maintaining a home or doing the activities that kept me entertained for all those years. 


I am grateful for having all of those things, but at that point, I wanted something new, fresh and exciting.  For me, it was time and freedom to do whatever I wanted and not be strapped to schedule and, I wanted adventure. I was too young to wait for retirement and not wealthy enough to live without a job.  So, I came up with an idea of how to live differently.


Once you decide to want a certain thing, close off all other distractions or time wasters and focus daily on your goal.  Take action every day to move toward it.  The more actions in one day the faster you get there. All actions are either going toward or away from you goal.  There is no neutral.  If today, I decided not to take action, I am actually moving away from my goal because the earth/world is constantly moving and by doing nothing, you are naturally moving away.


We are each born with a natural talent. A skill that we love doing and makes us feel alive and happy to start each day. We feel like contributing productive members of society.  To find out what it is, ask yourself this simple question. “If money were no object, how would I choose to spend my day?”   At first you may say I want today on the beach and basks in the sun all day on a tropical island, which would be fun for a few weeks, but then gets a little boring.  Think more along the lines of create, teach, build, sew, write, draw, help, paint, live, etc.  We all want to feel that we are needed, appreciated, and contributing.


I am a natural motivator  and teacher.  I wanted to travel and live in Tuscany.  Never did I dream that I would meet Giuseppe and be able to help him promote his family winery and get to travel while using my natural talents.


When you are “basking in your glory”, whatever that is, people, places and events are naturally attracted to you.  When you give your best with passion, others automatically want to be a part of what you are doing.  Do what you love and radiate joy, then everything else falls into place.  Energy attracts energy.

How to Make Things Happen in Your Life


Sharon from Canada Asks:


Could you tell me what you feel you have done so far to be successful?

Your question is stately perfectly because you said thus far. Success is temporary. I am a work in progress. Once a thing is accomplished and the “thrill” has died down, then a new thing comes to mind.  The key is not to become “fat and happy” and let the mind become numb with routine and compliancy.  Always keep learning, growing and questioning. What can I discover, create or participate in?  Who can I help?  Become a go giver.  Here are some simple steps take to stay on track.


1. Stay focused on your goal.

2. Surround yourself with others who want the same things and accept help.

3. Don’t listen to anyone negative. Operate out of joy, not fear.

4. Develop self control and habits that draw you to your goals. Keep your word, eat well, love your body, turn of TV and read/learn, change your daily routine and teach your children to do better.  Become aware of every move and thought you make.



On a different note and hopefully very useful to those surviving abuse that you are helping, Sharon,  is that change is constant, but it up to the individual to mold it for good.  I knew that my time as wife, mother and worker had come to an end.  It did not fill me the way it had in the past. But before I could create a new life of living inItaly, I had to make some changes.  I had to stop doing a lot of things before I could create a new life.  Stopping working at my job, stop living in my home and liquidate my possessions, stop being in a relationship, and accept that my daughter was an adult and living in another state. All of these were anchors for me to stay in my current situation and my choices to change hurt other. Change is scary and sometimes difficult, especially at first.


But follow your heart and do it anyway.  I said yes to new situations that felt right and no to other choices that came up that felt wrong. Make your best choice given your options at the moment.  If it does work out, adjust and try again and again. Never give up.

Ask Barbara – Sonya from California


Hello Barbara,


I just wanted to thank you and to let you know that as of today, I will live without reservations. Your biography and blogs which I happened to somehow tap into this morning has opened my eyes and given me new hope to life. I too, have had a steam of misfortune but with your help, I will make all the necessary changes to full fill my dreams at living happily ever after. So far, from what I’ve read … you daughter is grown up and moved away to school? Which tells me that you have no little kids, right?  I have 9 and 10 year old sons …is it possible to include them into the “living without reservations” with little money?  Should I stay in the relationship I’m in to get a degree in something to be able to support my kids and myself before moving on? …


 I’ve already decided to make changes in my life starting today at dinner time. We are going to sit and have a family dinner and no TV involved. But, what else can I do with my kids in the meanwhile? I’m going to buy your book right now.


Here’s my dream list:

–          To live on my own with my kids

–          Run a marathon

–          Travel on a friendly budget

–          Meet wonderful and positive people and keep them in my life

–          I want to be a role model for my kids and be happy.

Sonya from California


Dear Sonya,


I love your dream list and that you place such a high priority on your sons.  Your primary role as a mom is provide a loving and encouraging environment for them to grow up and become productive members of society.  That doesn’t mean buying things, it means spending time with them and appreciating their natural charms.


Include your child in activities that are free.  Make a picnic, take a walk in the park, dip your toes in a lake, go for a bike ride or play board games and Legos.  Think time, attention and eye contact.


Share childcare with another single parent. Every time you think about hiring a babysitter, think “exchange.”  Share in getting the kids to and from school and trade Saturdays or girls-night-out with another working parent.


Get a “working” 1 or 2 year degree that you are practically guaranteed instant employment. Go for a sonogram technician or dental hygienist rather than an associate’s degree in business.   Becoming a real estate agent is great, but will take time to grow a business. You need an immediate dependable pay check.


Definitely start training for a marathon today.  Join a running group so they can teach you how to prepare.  You will meet all kinds of wonderful new inspiring people who are also improving themselves. Start running in 5K runs in your town. Sign up for a marathon in another city so you get to travel too! Your kids will be so proud of you.


Treat to your partner what you want to be treated.  Think of little ways to make them feel important and loved- making a special meal, a single flower, a note, watching their favorite movie together, playing their kind of music or just greeting them when they first come home from work and giving them your undivided attend for 10 minutes.  Go on date night and remember why you fell in love in the first place. Of course, if they are abusive, that is totally different.


When you are happy and feeling like your life is moving forward, everything will change!


Good For You!!    


Using the Law of Attraction
Using the Law of Attraction

I used the law of attraction to bring the right people, places and circumstances into my life while I was on a midlife reinvention journey.  After a divorce, sudden death of my fiancé and only child going off to college, I changed everything about my life and took enormous leaps of faith, but knew that I was attracting all the right people and trusted that I would be taken care of.


For example:

I needed to get out of town and asked to borrow my dad’s camper to go out West on a road trip alone to spend time in nature.  He said no, but I will go with you if we go to Alaska. Three days later, we took off together for 6 weeks. It was his dream to drive to Alaska.


Next, I was working at a marina bar in South Florida and met Captain Pete.  He was looking for crew to go Island hopping in the Caribbean his 42 foot sailboat.  I didn’t know Pete or how to sail but went anyway and had the time of my life for the next 100 days. He could have been a weirdo or bad captain, but he wasn’t.  He was just a good man looking for a good first mate.


Then, I rented a room in the home of a woman in Tuscany that I found the Internet, wired her some money and jumped on a plane, even though I didn’t know anyone or speak the language.  She ended up being an empty nest mom like me and we came fast friends.  She did speak English of course. I felt completely comfortable in her home.


Each time I made a move, I kept saying, I am in the right place at the right time…all good things are coming to me now.  I felt totally guided and safe with a wonderful “knowing” that I was on the right path.   I got goose bumps when I found the ad for “Room To Rent” in Tuscany. How wonderful to go on the road trip with my dad rather than alone.  I still listen to The Secret regularly on my I pod, carry a portable vision board and have sticky notes with my favorite sayings.  I focus on my goals daily, but with gratitude and thankfulness. I live a very different lifestyle now and know that all my “good fortune” is powered by the Universe.


I think of it like this:

If I had a treadmill that made electricity, I could run really fast and make electricity to power a lamp, a fan and radio or I could just plug them into the wall socket.  I can create my own life through hard work or I can just plug into the Universe and use the great infinite power.