It’s that time of the year, when everyone has an out of body experience, takes a good look at life, and makes new decisions to improve its quality. I used to laugh at such “resolutions” and even when I got used to the idea, mine was invariably a decision to lose weight. But every year, the promise lasted no more than two-and-a-half days! This went on until about a decade ago.

It was the New Year Eve of 2004 when I squished my last cigarette and promised to end a thirty-year addiction. This wasn’t the first time I had made such an announcement and there were those who thought it would not be the last. Now ten years later, I am proud for having done this without any help from drugs, gums, or patches. The success has taught me that with strong determination, anything is possible and I can’t think of a better time for making changes than the dawn of another year.

The optimism in my New Year resolutions are my gifts to me, albeit simple and practical ones. This year I promise myself to discard as much negative energy as I possibly can and replace it with positive. No negative thoughts are allowed, I will use only positive words, and each time there’s a cheerless emotion, I will do my best to alter it.

This is how the plan will work:

1-    When forced to make opposing remarks, I will try to find positive words to do it. For example, should I be the innocent victim of a car crash, instead of saying, “That idiot rammed into my car!” I could say, “My car blocked the way for the man who enjoys a lower level of intelligence.”

2-    Many a lesson is learned from social functions of the past. This year, I will only attend the gatherings that need my presence to maintain their quality. All other invitations will receive their positive feedback through my gifts/flowers while I stay home and enjoy my peace.

3-    I live with a wonderful man, whose middle name should have been naysayer. No sooner has someone come up with an idea than his discouraging remarks will pour in. Over the years, I’ve learned that a change is too much to ask for. No doubt he has the best intentions, so I now decipher his words. Throughout this year, every ‘definitely not,’ will mean ‘maybe’, ‘are you crazy?’ is ‘why not?’, and a simple ‘no’ means, “Of course, my dear! I have every confidence in your aptitude!” Now I can’t wait to tell him about my plan to remodel our kitchen!

4-    People tend to carry their energy with them. If this year you don’t hear much from me, you may consider recharging your batteries. I’m not implying that you carry negative energy, but I do agree with you that life has all sorts of problems. It’s just that I have my own share of it and don’t intend to borrow more from you.

5-    Science shows that a frown uses many more facial muscles than a smile does. So this year, I plan to smile more, which will in turn give my face –and those who face me– a pleasant break.

6-    There is always a good side to everything bad and this year I intend to find them all. If my food should burn, it can only indicate that the Diet Angel is watching over me, if I don’t win the lottery, someone else must need the money more than I do, and each time I have to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles, I should feel lucky that I’m not instead locked up in the monkey cage while the staff goes on vacation.

7-    I try to find useful things to do, but should I be chained to a TV set, I will appreciate the abundance of information offered on fast food, car insurance, and devastating side effects of simple medicines. And when it comes to the world news, I will remind myself that while the reporters may sound biased, behind their ignorant faces are real people who are passionate about their closed minds.

8-    There is nothing wrong with my memory. If something escapes me, it is because I have filled my brain with so much information that there is no room left for small stuff such as people’s names, my appointments, or where I live.

9-    This year I am going to focus on physical fitness. No more panting up the hill – I plan to walk downhill and ask for a ride on the way back. I will not be bogged down with excessive weight gain as I am determined to gain only a moderate amount, and if people fail to see the beauty in me, I will show compassion for their poor eyesight.

10- A year is as positive as you make it, and a promise is only good if kept. I promise that somewhere in this positive year of 2014 I shall present you with my next novel The Basement, which is another one of my stories with a strong Persian flavor. However, should a delay in that plan be in both our best interests, I shall invite you to a basement for an authentic Persian tea and recital of verses from the masters.

May all your resolutions be practical and positive. Happy New Year



Zohreh Ghahremani

Author, speaker and painter Zohreh (Zoe) Ghahremani

Zoe is working on numerous new books, public speaking and working on paintings, living by her motto that “life is short, but the road is wide!”

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