Obstacle | Opportunity | Optimism

Obstacle | Opportunity | Optimism

I don’t call them New Year resolutions, I prefer the term casual promises to myself that I am under no legal obligation to fulfill.

Dear District 98 Toastmasters, 

Wishing you a very Happy New Year !!!

There are moments when you want the time to stay still because life is good and you want nothing more. 2023 started on a high note but by the time it reached midway, it was a year that I have come to dislike, there are many days in which I wish I could erase and change the trajectory. But that’s what life is – you move on. As I look back at 2023, with this capture from 2022, hoping 2024 will have a different story to tell.

I am hopeful and optimistic that 2024 will present me with opportunities to scale ahead on all fronts be it personal, professional, or Toastmasters. All I know is that I’m going to be back with more adventures and stories to tell.

It’s been a few days to this year and some of us simply carried forward the incomplete resolution from last year which we have high intent but limited discipline to accomplish. And I am no different, so here is how I have decided to approach this year differently:

  • Instead of resolution, make a round-the-year bucket list and work towards it. Do not wait for 1st day of the month or Monday to kickstart – it starts the day it gets added to the bucket list
  • Put it out on social media to make myself accountable. Sometimes we are more accountable to the people around us rather than ourselves. Don’t we take ourselves for granted?


I hope this will take me a step closer to my fitness journey this year. Optimistic. And happy to be held accountable by all of you. Find your accountability partner this year.

I recently came across a very interesting reel by Anupam Kher – the relationship between December and January, like old memories and new promises, both have depth and indicate time and both have their flaws – both have the same number of days but yet both have a unique identity and style. One marks the end of a year, while the other marks a new start – just like day after night. One has memories of the past while other has hope for the future. Both are connected as two ends of a thread – poles apart yet joined.

What December leaves behind is accepted by January; the promises we make to ourselves in January are supposed to be fulfilled by the time December sets in. January to December takes a whole 11 months while December to January is a matter of a blink of the eye. All months of the year are bound between January and December and are all about dreams, hopes, and aspirations while the separation of December and January is a worldwide celebration.

If 2023 was about obstacles, can we take 2024 as an opportunity?

As a District, we have had our set of challenges but the team has learned to come together stronger. I have had a chance to speak to many of you in the past few months be it at TLTP, area/ division conference or part of my #D98Tour, and have nothing but gratitude for the love and affection all clubs and members have towards the District Officers. I am optimistic that as we enter to the last six months of the program year, we’ll achieve the vision that we have set for ourselves for this year and so will all of you. If there is anything I can do to bring you closer to your goals, I am happy to do so.

Here is something from my personal archives:


Waking up to 2023 some of us made some promises to ourselves,

Many of us did not make any,

And several of us just carried forward the 2022 promises.

Some of us succeeded in reaching a new milestone,

Many of us failed and stood up again,

And several of us are still lost on the way.

Some of us went through depression,

Many of us found a new reason to live,

And for several of us it was just another year.

Some of us ventured into new territories,

Many of us are exploring new career options,

And several of us are still surviving on our monthly paycheck.

Some of our old friends were lost,

Many new folks became our friends,

And several of us are still stuck with those old buddies.

Some of us broke up,

Many of us got hitched for life,

And several of us are just happy with the new crush in the neighborhood.

Some of us know what we want this 2024,

Many of us have an idea of what we definitely don’t want,

And several of us are still figuring out the purpose of our lives.

Happy New Year 2024





So, ABC, what is the one pending desire from 2023 that you’ll give it your all in 2024 and ensure it is accomplished?


Hardik Shah

District Director | District 98 | Toastmasters International