Beyond Challenges: Finding Hope and Resilience in the New Year

A dark skin man holding his hands in a heart while holding a gray rock with the words hope inscribed in the rock

Throughout our lives, we inevitably encounter challenges that test our resilience and strength

In the chronicles shared on my “Living in Courage” blog, I’ve delved into the narrative of triumphing over some of life’s most formidable obstacles. The year 2023, however, has proven to be particularly arduous for a multitude of individuals within our extended network of family and friends. Across the United States, where I currently reside, the harsh realities of this year have manifested in the closure of longstanding businesses that once formed the bedrock of many lives. In our town, I see business closing regularly. The prevailing sentiment I have taken note of is one of profound sadness, frustration, confusion, and, in some instances, anger. Many are grappling with the disconcerting notion that the familiar contours of their lives are swiftly slipping away.

How do we connect with hope and resilience when some of life’s challenges seem insurmountable? I believe in the immense power of hope; it is not a sign of weakness but rather a force that fortifies the core of our being. We are stronger than we know. In moments when a solution appears elusive, it emerges once we dispel fear from our hearts and minds. This is where courage comes in.

Let’s look for some light at the end of the tunnel…

  1. Acknowledging Challenges:
    • Reflect on the challenges you have faced in the previous year, or anytime in the past. Did you overcome them? If so, how? Did you take cautious baby steps, or dig right in with fierce determination? If you were successful in your endeavor, did you feel proud of yourself and give yourself a victory pat on the back? Take the wins when you get them as they are well deserved.
    • Acknowledging difficulties is the first step toward overcoming them. Fear can seem like a powerful enemy, but you can make choices that transform you into a warrior, facing adversity with courage and resilience.
  2. The Power of Perspective:
    • Our perspective can shape the experience of challenges. Throughout history individuals have confronted adversity. The catalyst for transformative change often lies in the subtle shift of perspective—a new vantage point through the lens, so to speak—that can truly make all the difference.
    • Re-framing difficulties as opportunities for growth may not be enjoyable, but it is through this perspective that we embrace change, recognizing it may be in our best interest even when we don’t initially believe it.
  3. Cultivating Resilience:
    • Resilience plays a crucial role when facing adversity as it represents the ability to bounce back, adapt, and navigate toward the best possible outcome. Best case scenario – we may even come out stronger on the other side.
    • Cultivating resilience, helps us manage stress and hardships more effectively. Circumstances change, and when they do, we are better equipped to adjust our strategies, goals, or as mentioned earlier, our perspective. When we feel overwhelmed emotional strength is a powerhouse within us.
  4. Learning from Setbacks:
    • Use them as opportunities for personal and emotional growth. This allows us to extract valuable lessons from adversity, which become stepping stones for future success.
    • Many individuals and communities throughout history have not succumbed to setbacks; instead, they have seized them as potent opportunities for transformation and triumph. We can do the same in our lives.
  5. Community Support:
    • Resilience thrives in the presence of a strong support system, one of family, friends and community support. Connecting with others, seeking help, and fostering positive relationships contribute significantly to our inner and outer reserves.
    • Many people have developed online support through social media sites, offering a powerful testament to the fact that, in an era where physical distances may separate us, the virtual connections forged through these platforms have become invaluable lifelines for individuals in need of great support.
  6. Setting Realistic Goals:
    • If you set goals for the New Year, I encourage you to set yourself up for success in the new year by establishing realistic and achievable goals that align with your aspirations and promote steady progress. Cut yourself some slack, and trust me, I get it—I’m not exactly the poster child for patience, just ask my husband. Sure, I’ve got the patience of a saint in some areas, but in others, well, let’s just say it’s a work in progress. Take a moment for a bit of self-examination; we all have those zones that could use a little TLC. Nobody’s flawless—we’re more like onions, peeling back layers of improvement potential. Just remember, perfection is overrated, and a good laugh at our own quirks is highly recommended!
    • The impact of small, incremental progress may be more realistic, and helpful for overall well-being. Go easy on yourself if your goals are not reached in a particular time frame. We’ve all been there and have found the undue pressure does not support us.
  7. Mindfulness and Self-Care:
    • Mindfulness practices are great tools for staying grounded in the present. Explore a myriad of fantastic mindfulness and self-care practices by searching on Google. Identify the ones that pique your interest the most. If you’re new to these practices, consider starting with just one and gradually discover those that resonate with you the most.
    • Self-care in maintaining mental and emotional well-being is essential to happiness. Take time to indulge some self-pampering when you need it.
  8. Finding Silver Linings:
    • Focus on solutions, growth, and opportunities rather than dwelling solely on the challenges we face.
    • Share stories of individuals who have discovered unexpected blessings amid adversity.
  9. Celebrating Progress:
    • Throw a mini party for yourself each time you conquer a small victory or hit a milestone—because every step forward deserves its own celebration!
    • There is great importance in recognizing and appreciating personal growth. Celebrating our achievements is like giving ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back, and I vividly recall the profound sense of accomplishment when I finished writing my book, “Change Your Movie, Change Your Life.” The thrill escalated when it not only became a bestseller on Amazon achieving that distinction in three categories. Trust me, it felt like an enormous pat on my back, a culmination of years of relentless effort, navigating the challenges of publishing, enduring months of securing permissions for quotes, and more.
  10. Building Hope for the Future:
    • All of these tips give us personal hope in shaping our individual future.
    • I wholeheartedly encourage you to gaze into the future with a radiant optimism that lights the path ahead and a profound sense of possibility that opens doors to unexplored opportunities. Embrace the untapped potential that each day holds, allowing hope to flourish and illuminate the journey toward a future brimming with promise and positive transformations.

Here’s to all of you in 2024

A year destined for its own array of shifts and transformations, both on a personal level and as a global community. As we clink our glasses, let’s acknowledge the monumental changes poised to shape the world, from technological leaps to societal advancements, politics, and the collective strides we’ll take towards a brighter and more interconnected future. May this year be a tapestry of significant global shifts, personal breakthroughs, and shared milestones, propelling us into a new era filled with endless possibilities. Cheers to the grand journey that awaits us in 2024!


  1. Happy 2024, Debra! Many valuable tips here to connect with hope and one’s inner resilience. Thank you.
    Many Blessings,

  2. Thank you, this is like giving a roadmap to overcome any obstacle in our life. I have weathered several painful obstacles in my life, but feel I have overcome them, even if it took some time. This article really takes me to a place of peace that passes understanding. if we follow this roadmap, you have given us in this amazing article life will be filled with joy and peace.

    • Debra Oakland says

      I love that you see this as a roadmap, similar to a blueprint for life. Peace is difficult for many people to achieve in their lives, but achievable when we take the steps. Just as following a roadmap when we travel. Making it much easier to reach our preferred destination.

    • Thanks for this uplifting message of hope.
      I like that you see hope as a strength. I believe hope holds a power and if we can have hope even when it all seems very daunting we can overcome. At the very least the challenge itself is not holding all the power over us, we have our own power. Believe you can overcome and you’re half way there!

      • Debra Oakland says

        Well said Sally – hope gives us power, just as courage does. Cheers to you in 2024!

  3. Always look forward to your newsletter. Thank u for your great advice!