A New Motto for a New Year

I rang in the New Year with my head in the toilet.


At 11:35 p.m. I didn’t feel right. I was sweating and my mouth was suddenly dry. I took some deep breaths and tried to focus on Ryan Seacrest’s forehead however, it didn’t work.

My stomach rumbled.

Like something fluttering in the fields of Greek mythology, flamed-winged butterflies swarmed my chest, my throat, my tongue.

And before an old man somewhere could finish humming the first line of “Auld Lang Syne” I was eye to eye with a porcelain acquaintance.

So needless to say, 2024 didn’t begin the way I imagined. No smiles, hugs, well wishes or kisses. No dancing. No pots and pans. No fireworks. No champagne. Just a cold bathroom floor and a belly full of uncertainty.

However, when was the last time life worked out like you imagined? When was the last time that choreographed confetti fell on your shoulders at a precise moment? When was the last time magic was scheduled?

A few hours later with a blue bucket beside me, I watched from the couch, Los Angeles count down to 2024. There were strobe lights, balloons, and kisses to glitter the moment.

I thought about the promise of a new year.

I have to believe from Robert Burns to now, people have always hoping or better times, better things in a new year. It’s in our collective DNA.

Yet, people have always wanted joy and prosperity and peace without having to do more. People have endured bad times only to remain passive in the throes of more bad times.

Let’s not be naive–bad times, at inopportune times (like at 11:35 on New Years Eve), will visit us in 2024. However, we can’t simply hope our way through bad times. This is hollow hope. And it’s as old as flamed-winged butterflies.

Hollow hope is hope without action.

Hollow hope inspires complacency and frustration and powerlessness.

With a heart full of hollow hope we become quiet bystanders simply listening to the patter of our own lives.

My motto for this year is “Do More in 2024.”

I know, our modern world advocates to “do less.” And there is a real danger to doing more. Doing more increases burnout and instigates stress and anxiety and leads to comparing ourselves to others who are seemingly doing more than us. I get it. It’s a “work smarter, not harder” world.

Don’t do more to be busy so being busy can distract and retract from doing meaningful things. No, purposely do more in a concentrated, focused area that is important to you.

Do more with your health: Drink more water. Do more pushups. Do more meditating.

Do more with your creativity: Draw more. Write more. Cook more.

Do more with your finances: Save more. Invest more. Donate more.

Do more with your relationships: Talk more. Hug more. Listen more.

Doing more can be as little (one more ounce, one more word, one more dollar) or as much as you want. But the goal is to condition yourself to do a bit more, to take subtle action in an area of your life where hollow hope falls like confetti.

Hope is what we imagine. Doing is what we become. Hope without action is fruitless. Action without hope is mechanical. There needs to be a balance between hope and action because…

We can’t stop time.

We can’t unhear the insults.

We can’t unfeel loss and sadness.

We can’t change the incurable diagnosis.

But the good news is–in an cruel, indifferent world–we can turn idle hope into action by just doing a little more.

Because doing more, taking action, in a world that will gladly give you the stomach bug at 11:35 pm on New Year’s Eve, is the only way to discover a better you this year.

Be well, 


Amazon Order Link!

Ordinary Hero is now available in hardback and available, upon request, in local bookstores or libraries, even if your local bookstore or library is in Peru.


Warm greetings to everyone who found me on the University of Pennsylvania’s Ataxia Clinic’s website! Thanks for stopping by. I have ataxia and though I’m not a doctor, I hope my words comfort, encourage, empower, and serve as good company on your journey.


January Book Promos for You:

Are looking for inspiration? Are you searching for a better version of yourself?

This month I joined literary forces with some best-selling authors in an awesome book promotions. Click the link below:

New Year. New Books!


Jay Armstrong is a speaker and an award-winning author. Despite being diagnosed with a rare neurological disease, that impairs his movement, balance, eyesight, and speech–Jay presses on. The leader of the Philadelphia Ataxia Support Group, he hopes to help you find joy, peace, and meaning in life.

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