You look ahead to the New Year, and you’re scared. There, you’ve said it. It’s out in the open, you’re scared. Your situation has never looked this bleak. Sure, you still have your job, but in this economy, for how long? Raises and promotions are out of the question (forget about a bonus) and you weren’t at the top of the “boss’s fav” list to start with.

You groan, drop your head in your hands. No more spontaneous nights out with, well, anyone. No more keeping up with fashion or gadgets this year. No more lattes (ok, maybe one a week). You reach slowly for the morning paper. Coupons. You’ll clip more coupons, watch for sales. “Waste not, want not,” your mother always said. You vow not to waste a penny this year. Not a penny, not a dime, certainly not a dollar.

But what about life? What about a vow not to waste a singe moment of that precious gift we call life? For when we treat each other with anything less than respect and compassion, we are trashing life. When we spend our time (the currency of our lives) blaming others, refusing responsibility, holding grudges, we are wasting our life. When we forget to look around us with appreciation and profound gratitude for all the good (persons and things) that make up our life, we are wasting our life. Waste not, want not, is a profound life truth, not just a financial caution.

So this New Year, make a vow, a resolution worth the commitment, the determination to see it through. Vow that this year you will look for the good, the positive in yourself and in others and dwell on that. Vow that you will look for the opportunities in every situation and every encounter. Vow that you will see silver linings everywhere and dismiss the clouds. Vow to embrace life with appreciation and joy at every turn, and your life will be filled with yet more to enjoy and appreciate. Waste not a precious moment of your life in negativity and you will never want for happiness.

You smile. Waste not, want not. Maybe clipping coupons isn’t such a drag. Maybe it’s just another opportunity in disguise . . .

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D. is a respected psychologist, consultant, speaker and author. Her latest book is "Your Man Is Wonderful," Free Press, January 2009). For more than a decade, she has helped people live happier, healthier lives through appreciation--at work, at home and in relationships. E-mail:, website: