Use momentum of new year to make healthy changes

I am a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. The beginning of each new year is a time to believe that we can have a fresh start and make our lives what we want them to be. It sparks the flame of hope and illuminates potential.

The desire to make a resolution is proof that we want to grow and improve ourselves. A New Year’s resolution is the ultimate do-over.

One definition of a resolution is “firm determination” to follow an intention, and making them can be a powerful tool for reaching your life goals. The new year provides us with an opportunity to look back on our lives and assess where we are in comparison to where we want to be. It is a time to see if we are heading in the right direction and, if not, to identify what we can do to put us back on course.

In my experience, good changes stick best when they occur slowly. Success with building ourselves into whom we want to be is a process, not an event. I routinely suggest that my patients make lifestyle changes in areas such as nutrition, stress management and exercise to improve their level of health. I give them the information about what to do, but, of course, they have to be motivated and willing to make the changes to make it happen.

The way that humans learn best is to try and fail often before we find our way to success. If you could ask many of the successful people in the world about their failures they would have a long list of them that occurred before they finally hit gold. It is through trial and error that we find the best stuff, and every small victory is important because those give us positive reinforcement to continue toward our goal.

I am encouraging everyone who reads this article to make a New Year’s resolution related to improving health. Ralph Waldo Emerson was right when he said that “health is the first wealth,” and health creates a richness in our lives that shines into everything that we do. So give it a try.

Start by identifying one health goal that you would like to achieve and keep it simple in the beginning. Your resolution can be as basic as eating less sugar or walking 15 minutes a day. Next, identify what you will have to do to achieve your goal. Then consciously make a game plan about how you are going to start and what the process will look like through time. Enlist supportive family and friends to help you. Remember, early successes will help you stay motivated, and if you “fall off the wagon,” get back on board as soon as you can and don’t let your setbacks stop you.

When you choose your New Year’s resolutions based on your desire to create a happier, stronger you, you can strike gold and create your best health. Here’s to the new year and the wealth of health for us all. Nancy Utter is a naturopathic doctor who works in Durango with people of all ages and varying illnesses.