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New Years Resolutions? How 'Bout Something New this Year.

By J.A. Wendtworth

The act of creating New Years resolutions dates back some 4,000 years. These ancient Babylonian promises were typically made to earn the favor of god and were a means to start the year off on the right foot. (They would reportedly vow to pay off debts and return borrowed farm equipment.) Of course some things have changed a bit in the past four millennium, yet some things stay the same. Many people still have debts, yet not many have farm equipment anymore. Today, people make a living doing countless other things than farming, thusly affording them the opportunity to buy their foods from their local food stores and farmer markets. (While it might be noted, the recent resurgence of residential gardens and gardening as a means to offset food needs.)

January 1 promises however, vary a bit from those of the ancient Babylonians. Today's promises seemingly tend to hone in on a single facet of one's life which they feel will, (miraculously) change the world for the better if they (miraculously) follow through with it. Yet many of these commitments seem to merely fill a void in that individual's existence and affects little positive influence on those around them. 1st still marks the day in which many individuals make promises.

The According to the University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology, the top hree resolutions for 2014 were: Lose Weight, Getting Organized and Spend Less. According to Time Magazine, two of the top five resolutions most commonl broken are: Lose weight and get out of debt. (There must be something special about getting organized. As it turns out, getting organized is not on Time's list of broken resolutions. Let's visit that later.) Could it be that the resolutions we are coming up with don't fit into our lifestyle? Could it be that these commitments, however promising they seem at the time, just can't work with all of the other things happening in our lives?

Let's take a moment and think back to the last jig­saw puzzle you worked on. Did you ever take a puzzle piece from another box to help solve the puzzle you were working on? Probably not. We all know that a puzzle cannot possibly be solved using a piece from another puzzle. It seems that life is like a puzzle in this way. Day after day, year after year, we've been assembling pieces to create a picture that we come to know as our 'lifestyle'. Then along comes New Years Day and we introduce a new puzzle piece to our existing puzzle. How can we expect that to work? Perhaps the answer is that we have been working on the wrong puzzle, using the wrong puzzle pieces throughout the year. It may be that the new piece (the New Year's resolution) may be the right piece, if applied to the right puzzle. That's not to say we need to be somebody different. It simply means that perhaps we need to be doing different things with our time. Some may refer to this a lifestyle change.  So how would one go about organizing a lifestyle change? One could start by identify which lifestyle it is that is most appealing to them. And if you are having trouble identifying this, it may be as easy as looking back at those previously broken New Years Resolutions as a form of guidance. (Those pieces will typically conjure up a pretty positive image.) Examples: I want to be fit for life (not, I want to lose weight). I want to be financial sound for life (not, I want to save money...which you will spend as soon as you save it). Maybe it is something different, or maybe it is a combination of many lifestyles. Next, one can identify how you would go about doing this. Just like separating those puzzle pieces before attempting to solve the puzzle, get out a note pad and organize those thoughts. Make lists of the things that are working towards your desired outcome and make a list of things that are not. With a bit of brainstorming and a little help from a friend or loved­one, it should be pretty easy to devise a comprehensive list of things that, when addressed with commitment and performed consistently, can set you off on a new path to happiness. Life is full of puzzle pieces. The folks at Family Natural Foods in Wisconsin Rapids, after being in business for 69 years, are experts on lifestyle change and healthy living. Below is a list of pieces they recommend will be helpful in guiding a positive lifestyle change:

1. Eat out less. Plan a week's worth of meals in advance. Not only will this safe you time, it will save you money and will result in healthier eating habits. Become a member of the “Outer Ring” shoppers at the grocery store. The majority of products found in the middle aisles at the grocery store, although seemingly tasty and easy to buy and make, turn out to be very unhealthy and expensive.
2. Eat better. Incorporate one new fruit and vegetable into your weekly meal planning. You will eat healthier and have more fun doing it. (P.S. Creating your own menu and meals, will help you to keep tabs on what is going into your body.) Increase fiber intake (there are a million ways to do this!). Change your fat intake to 'healthy fat' and minimize sugar consumption.
3. Move more! Incorporate more movement into your day. There are a million ways to do this. Park further from the front door. Move from the couch once a commercial comes on your TV. Walk instead of driving for short errands and visits.
4. Surround yourself with people like the person you want to be. At any time there are all sorts of activities taking place in your community. And even though you may not be experienced, comfortable or outgoing, these groups will most certainly welcome you in. And even with limited involvement, you will be amazed at the positive impact it will have.
5. Stay hydrated. Incorporate more water into your day by carrying a water bottle with you. Not only is it good for you, you will safe tons of money!
6. Get more sleep. Set that alarm a half hour earlier (set it for an unusual time, like 6:27, just to make waking up a bit more interesting. Skip that last television show and go to sleep earlier. Will it really impact you if you don't know who the next top model is? (Don't worry you can easily find out in the morning.)
7. Reduce Stress. Exercise is a great stress reducer. So is makings lists (like the shopping list and the list of lifestyle change facets). And for goodness sakes, stop surrounding yourself with the things that make you stressed out.

There are so many things to do in the world. Tend to the important things and then find the things that bring your peace. Each of these puzzle pieces require a conscious decision to be played. And each can be played at ones own speed. But each piece will undoubtedly contribute to a positive lifestyle change that results in long­term health, financial comfort and overall happiness. Now, as you think about your New Years Resolution and how you are going to start the year off on the right foot, rather than adding just one more piece to your current lifestyle that you just aren't happy with, go for a positive lifestyle change this year. For more ideas on positive lifestyle changes, visit the friendly folks down at Family
Natural Foods at 910 W. Grand Ave. Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54495; online at or call them at 715­423­3120.


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