By Ross Levin via

As I write my last column of 2017, I look ahead to the New Year, not with resolutions, but resolved to heed the advice of the poet Mary Oliver: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell people about it.

Rather than set our sights on unrealistic goals that we have little likelihood of achieving, let’s pick one or two of the following ideas that will help you meet some of your 2018 financial objectives.

Let’s start with Oliver’s suggestions above. I have written a lot about paying attention but not as much on telling people about it. One of the best ways to feel more comfortable with your financial condition is through gratitude. Make a simple resolution for 2018 that every week you will write one note to someone who has made a difference in your life.

One of my friends was thinking about what he could do in his sudden retirement, and I suggested this to him. He said that after doing this for several months, he realized a host of additional benefits beyond appreciation. He mentioned that he re-engaged with several people from his past and rekindled memories. As he shared his appreciation with these people, many also told him how important he had been to them. Every week that he wrote those notes he realized how much he had left to give and how, though retired, his work was not yet finished.

Click here to read the full story on