Ringing in the New Year

Finally… 2003 is coming to an end. No doubt many of you will mark the arrival of 2004 by making resolutions… and perhaps by making toasts. Perhaps TKL can help in both regards.

I have to work on New Year’s Eve, and the spouse and our son will accompany me so that we can all be together as we were not permitted to be on Christmas. What surely will run through my mind are the various life changes I hope to start come Jan. 1:

  1. Giving up meat (esp. red meat; for now, fish and chicken will be OK)
  2. Gradually reducing my Pepsi intake
  3. Drinking a gallon of water each day
  4. Committing to a Pilates regimen

I have other improvements to make and will work on them as well, but it seems starting with only four official resolutions may increase my chances for success.

Writer Deborah Taylor-Hough offers her own advice for making New Years’ resolutions stick in her recent Dollar Stretcher essay, “One Habit at a Time”:

I’ve been told it takes four to six weeks for any action to become a habit. So, keeping that in mind, one way I’m going to insure my success at keeping my New Year’s resolutions this year is by working on only one new habit at a time each month. Then, every time I turn a calendar page, I’ll work on developing a different new habit.

At the end of the year, I could easily have twelve new positive habits in my life. Once something’s become a habit, it’s simply a part of my life and not something I’ll even have to think about anymore.

Here are some sample goals and habits I’m planning to implement throughout the coming year (in no particular order — taken one at time, one per month):

  • Use both an aerobic video and my exercise equipment 3-4 times per week
  • Spend 20-30 minutes reading aloud to my children everyday
  • Get up at 5am for personal prayer and Bible study
  • Work on my new book for half an hour everyday
  • Spend ten minutes each day decluttering

If I had started the New Year off by attempting to do every one of these things at the same time, I know I would’ve become overwhelmed, and then given up long before any of these activities became habitual and second nature.

What’s the area of life you’re most concerned about? Exercise? Weight loss? Healthy eating? Getting organized? Saving money? Spending more time with your kids? Break your goal down into simple steps that you can easily manage, and then start working your way to your goal, one small step at a time.

As the old cliche’ says: How do you eat an elephant? … One bite at a time. By making small and consistent changes, it’s possible to change your health, your body, and your life.

Sounds like good advice to me, and I certainly will attempt to follow it. You should too!

And here is a cool holiday libation that can warm you on New Year’s Eve. The neat thing: You prepare it in a crock pot. The recipe comes from Chet’s Crock.

Mulled Cider


2 quarts apple cider
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. whole cloves
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1 orange, sliced and unpeeled

Instructions: Combine the ingredients in your crock pot. Cover and heat on low for 2 to 5 hours or longer. Serve from pot.

A toast to you and yours for a healthy, happy, kynd new year!

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