The yearly American pilgrimage is soon to come. Like a herd of thirsty wildebeests, thousands will gather under colossal television monitors and millions of shining light bulbs, seeking to quench their thirst for resolution. Out of the grasp of hungry predators and potentially fatal stampedes, resisting crocodile-laden riverbeds (otherwise known as the streets of New York), others observe the extravaganza in the refuge of the living room. Hypnotized by the lights and sounding of the crowd, all watch. The symbolic display of time passing shoots colors through the air. A captivated crowd gasps in amazement as the large pulsating sphere drops from the sky. And so it begins. The New Year’s Ball initiates the deepest introspection that most of us partake in each year.
We all share the same desires. We want more. More health. More money. More fitness. More love. More etcetera. Overall, more happiness! What New Year’s resolutions will we actually obtain and adhere to once the last champagne bubble bursts, and the new year marches in?
Like fingerprints, healthy habits vary from person to person. There is no one size fits all. Below are five paths to a healthier life, with two suggestions in each category worth serious consideration. Each is designed to bring maximum benefits; even for those who frequently chant the dreaded “I can’t mantra.” If you have a health challenge, please consult with your health care professional prior to implementation.
Increase the green vegetables on your plate by 25%, while decreasing the meat by 25%. If the meal does not contain meat, decrease the carbohydrates (pasta, potatoes, rice…) instead, while increasing the vegetables.
Brush and floss your teeth within 30 minutes after dinner. In most humans, laziness and not wanting to handle oral hygiene twice in same evening is mightier than the desire to eat unneeded and unhealthy late-night snacks.
Wake-up 5-20 minutes earlier. Sit in a comfortable position in bed or in a chair. With closed eyes, focus your attention on the flow of breath in and out of your nose. When thoughts interfere, without judgment, return your focus to the flow of air in and out of your nose.
When you find yourself in a tense or stressful situation, inhale deeply and slowly, and then release the exhalation. This will calm the nervous system and allow you to better choose your response.
Walk with friends, family or the dog. Hold each other accountable (including the dog!). Five times per week for 30-60 minutes is great. Once a week is still better than nothing. This is not only great exercise, but strengthens social bonds.
Visit a yoga and/or Pilates studio. Buy a book or DVD on the subject. Regular stretching and core strengthening, even performed for just minutes each day, has profound health improving effects. Visit
Go to bed at least 15-30 minutes earlier. With the help of video recorders, you can still watch your favorite late night shows.
Pray or meditate prior to bed. Avoid stimulating activities such as viewing dramatic TV shows, gaming, surfing or chatting on the web, or reading stimulating materials (horror, thrillers, news coverage, etc.) directly before going to bed.
Structural Integrity Resolutions (Healthy body alignment and function)
Sit with a straight spine for 2-15 minute sessions throughout the day. Gaze outward, without tucking your chin. Place your buttocks in the center or front portion of the chair and engage your postural muscles. Feel the lifting of the spine toward the top of your head during inhalation. Your shoulders are relaxed and gently rest centered over your hip sockets. This energizes the postural muscles. By not slouching, the spine remains strong and better aligned and properly protects the nervous system.
Like the teeth, the spine often has problems that do not produce warning symptoms. Poor spinal alignment and posture robs the body of vital energy and nerve function essential for bodily activities and optimum health. Schedule to have a chiropractic check-up.