Ring in the New Year With These Inspirational Toasts

Brigitt Earley
Photo credit: Kseniya Ovchinnikova

From Oprah Magazine

When it comes to New Year's Eve, there are a few things you can count on, namely a late night filled with copious food, bubbly, a countdown to midnight, and some sort of toast to new beginnings.

If that last bit has you shaking in your booties (and not from that whipping winter weather), chances are you're the one who has to give said toast. To take your stress level down a few notches, we asked a speech writer to share their best tips for penning the perfect new year's toast, whether you're going for a sentimental blessing, a funny ode to friends and family, something inspirational, or a classic quote about gratitude, just pour yourself some champagne, and we'll take care of the rest.

It all boils down to five simple steps...

1. Know your audience.

Like writing a meaningful wedding speech, "be sure to talk directly to those in the room, using familiar phrases and even stories that almost everyone can identify with," says Zakiya Larry, a media coach and former speech writer. "This draws your audience in and holds attention."

2. Use what's trending, not what's trite.

"Sprinkle in some trending terms or even slang words to get smiles and deepen connection," says Larry. "Don't you want people talking about how 'lit' your toast was, instead of hearing, for the millionth time, to get ready for a 'new year, new you'?"

3. Don't give advice.

People don't respond well to being told what they should do, plus it can come across as preachy or self-promoting, says Larry. "Instead, try to include a point to ponder in the new year, or a call to action," she says. "This gives the power to decide and act back to your audience."

4. Include crowd participation.

Make your toast unique by including the audience, says Larry. "Consider leading them in shouting a fun one- to three-word affirmation." Try something like, "on the count of three, yell 'Best Year Yet!'"

5. End clearly and on a high note.

"We've all experienced a good toast that started to drag on, then fizzled out at the end," says Larry. "Like a gymnast or pilot, it's how you land it that makes all the difference." If it helps, Larry suggests writing down a verbal cue like "So, as I close this toast and we bring in a new year..." Then, simply pop in your closing sentence.

Ready to get started?

You can do this—and whether you lift them word-for-word or use them as thought starters, these sample toasts can help.

Blessings

"May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home. May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam." — Irish Proverb

"May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future." — Irish Blessing

"May luck be your friend in whatever you do and may trouble be always a stranger to you." — Irish Blessing

"May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam." — Irish Blessing

Inspirational toasts

"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man." — Benjamin Franklin, 1755 edition of Poor Richard’s Almanac

"This year, take Betty White's advice: 'Accentuate the positive, not the negative. It sounds so trite, but a lot of people will pick out something to complain about, rather than say, ‘Hey, that was great!’ It’s not hard to find great stuff if you look.'"

"As Willie Nelson said, 'When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.' This year, I challenge you start each day by writing down one thing you're grateful for."

"We're so hard on ourselves. Think about common New Year's resolutions: to eat less, to do more. But what if we resolved to just be kinder to ourselves. Wouldn't the world be a better place? Wouldn't we be happier? As Meghan Markle said in a 2015 interview: 'If we treated ourselves the way we treated our best friend, can you imagine how much better off we would be?'"

"Oprah said: 'Focusing on one thing that you are grateful for increases the energy of gratitude and rises the joy inside yourself.' Here's to a more joyful year for all."

"All those things that you're worried about are not important. You're going to be OK. Better than OK. You're going to be great. Spend less time tearing yourself apart, worrying if you're good enough. You are good enough. And you're going to meet amazing people in your life who will help you and love you." — Reese Witherspoon

"One of the first steps to happiness is deciding that you want to be happy and knowing what that means. I have had many full-on conversations about what that looks like for me. To be happy is a choice you make every day, every hour. And refining and renewing that state is a constant pursuit." — Julia Roberts

"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” — Dan Millman, Way Of The Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives

"New year—a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? Ultimately we write it. The choice is ours." - Alex Morritt, Impromptu Scribe

"Past and Present I know well; each is a friend and sometimes an enemy to me. But it is the quiet, beckoning Future, an absolute stranger, with whom I have fallen madly in love." — Richelle E. Goodrich, Slaying Dragons

"As Eckhart Tolle once said, "Acknowledging the good that is already in your life is the foundation for all abundance." This year, my wish for us all is that we'll have the strength to see the glass as half full, not half empty."

"Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one." — Brad Paisley

"There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind." — C.S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3

"The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written." — Melody Beatty, The Language of Letting Go

"Let's promise ourselves one mantra I learned from Oprah this year: "Good riddance to decisions that don’t support self-worth.'"

Toasts to friends

"Tonight, I am grateful to ring in the New Year with you, my best friends. As Lois Wyse said, "A good friend is a connection to life—a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world."

“Remember that life’s most valuable antiques are dear old friends.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr., Life’s Instructions for Wisdom, Success, and Happiness

"Oprah said: 'Family should be the place where you can be your most complete self.' Tonight, I want to toast to friends I am lucky to call family."






Funny toasts

As Oscar Wilde wrote, 'After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.' So let's feast and have a hefty dose of bubbly. Sounds like it's the easiest way to start the new year with a nice, clean slate—and, I don't know about you, but I'm good with that!"

"Here's a thought from Elizabeth Gilbert: This year, 'Embrace the glorious mess that you are.'"

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