“This is the year I finally ________!”
(Please select one of the following, or feel free to make up your own: lose weight/get in shape/eat better/stop smoking/learn to speak Portuguese/make a green smoothie every morning for breakfast, etc…)
Ah, the New Years’ Resolution. The well-intentioned, often short-lived (if not completely empty) promise that’s helplessly entwined with the act of hanging a new calendar on the wall. After a season of festive excess and mired in the bleakness of a winter that’s just getting started, the New Year’s Resolution is a way of wiping the slate clean and starting anew (by which I mean erase any residual guilt from the aforementioned season of festive excess, as well as the long-since vaporized Ghosts of Resolutions Past).
Now, this is not to diminish the great potential power of the New Year’s Resolution. I merely aim to emphasize the word potential. I firmly believe that it’s almost impossible NOT to improve one’s life by taking a step back and assessing where things currently stand. It’s far too easy to get caught up in the minutiae of day-to-day life and lose sight of where one is ultimately headed (this usually sets in sometime late January). That’s the blessing of the New Year’s Resolution, as it’s unfailingly plugged right into the schedule, same time each year. Time, amidst the revelry, to take inventory and see what’s working and what’s not. The problem with this is that people often get so motivated to improve their situation (be it health-related or otherwise) that they set overly ambitious, unrealistic goals for themselves. Whether starting a new exercise routine or learning a new language, the key is to start small and build, one step/Portuguese word at a time. Try and do too much too quickly and the frustration of defeat will readily set in. In this instance, all or nothing (more often than not) leads to nothing.
So please do take a step back at this festive time of year and think about where you are and the direction you’re headed. If you’re right on course, then by all means, keep up the good work. But if you’re like most of us, it’s not too difficult to find a couple of things that could use some tweaking. Allow yourself to be buoyed by the vast potential and optimism of a new year, but be sure to start your journey into a healthier, happier 2017 with a single step.
By Erik Daniel Boudreau, ND