Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Word About New Year's Resolutions

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Can you believe we've reached the end of 2009 already? Well, it's time for New Year's resolutions, and I have a suggestion. Instead of creating a huge "to do" list this year, choose ONE WORD that represents something you'd like to focus on for 2010. Write it down and stick on your fridge (or computer home page, or wherever you will see it every day.) In our family, each New Year's Eve our daughters create a small poster for each member of our family with our word printed in large letters and decorated with appropriate symbols. We then post those four words on the wall of our stairway for the year, where everyone can be reminded of their resolutions daily as we trek up and down the stairs.
For example, my word for 2009 was HEALTH- big surprise, right? But it meant not simply medical health, but spiritual, mental AND physical health. Some days that word pushed me to exercise when I didn't feel like it, and other days it challenged me to prayer. In previous years, my words have been "patience", "peace", "simplicity", "family", "finish" and... did I mention "patience"? (I have to focus on "patience" every few years, so it bears repeating. My kids think it's funny because I have "patients" at work and need more "patience" at home!)
I have found that having this one word resolution is far more effective more me than the shopping list of resolutions that I used to espouse each year. The word becomes my theme for the year, almost a mantra for me. I love that with one word, it is a positive statement (rather than quit this or that, or lose weight, etc.)
Thanks to the Austin reporter who many years ago challenged our city leaders to try this single word resolution and shared their experiences in a New Year's column. I confess I've long since forgotten the reporter's name, but the tradition lives on.
BOTTOM LINE: Choose a ONE WORD RESOLUTION for 2010- perhaps HEALTH!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


'Tis the season of giving, and many of us are trying to find the perfect gifts for our friends and families. Before you choose gift baskets loaded with wine, chocolate, and other delicious goodies, though, stop and think. Is this the right gift for your friend who is struggling with her weight or your brother who has high cholesterol and "borderline" diabetes? Well, maybe not, but hey, it's the holidays, right? Doesn't everyone deserve a little treat? And they LOVE chocolate...
Well, yes, I agree that everyone deserves a treat, but is it really a treat if we're giving them something that harms their bodies or works against their health goals? If your friend is fit and healthy, knock yourself out with edible treats with a clear conscience. BUT... if they are NOT, why not focus on gifts that encourage health? Mind you, I'm not suggesting sticking a bow on a bag of carrots, either. How about fun workout socks or a new top? Buy matching pedometers for you and a buddy or two for some friendly competition or at least mutual encouragement. How about a gift certificate for a massage or manicure or pedicure? Or a new healthy cookbook? Out of money (and who isn't?) Make a gift certificate for a outing to a park or walk around the lake or a bike ride. Be creative!
I would be remiss if I also didn't put in a pitch for charitable giving this year. Our non-profits are struggling, too, so consider them as an alternative if you have friends or business associates with whom you typically exchange gift baskets. Our local Hospice, for example, has a program where you can purchase an angel ornament for $25- your gift recipient gets the ornament, Hospice gets the funds, and everyone gets the spiritual health gift of helping others! (
BOTTOM LINE: Think twice before sending out edible treats to ALL your friends and family this year, and show you really care by giving gifts that promote physical, mental or spiritual health! Happy Holidays!