Same old. Same old.  Middle of January. Extra pounds. Winter blues. Cold cold weather. Gray days. Flu epidemics. Post season bills. Broken resolutions. Lagging self-esteems.


Sound familiar?


Well in the midst of all this bad news there is good news and congratulations are in order!


Sometime last December you were so dissatisfied with something in your life that you resolved  to make a change. Do you remember this?  You made a New Years Resolution ! Congratulations. You said to yourself, and perhaps to those closest to you:  I am fed up.  I am going to quit ______in the new year. Or I am going to start_______in the new year.  You decided you wanted to get healthier . That’s the good news!


The sad news is that you let yourself down and couldn’t  follow through and then you beat yourself up. And now it’s easy to feel discouraged and disappointed.


Authour Anne Tyler was recently quoted in an Oprah magazine as saying “I’ve never quite believed one chance is all I get”. You don’t have to believe it either. And you don’t have to stay sad this February  because of your bills or your broken resolutions or the Canadian winter. 


Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Resolve now to start the next minute  differently. Don’t wait til next January.  Now is your new beginning-  this moment.. 


Look at what you have learned from your recent experience. What went wrong on New Year’s Day? Did you wake up tired, fat and full, or with a hangover ?  Was your first thought to reach for an aspirin? Or did you wake up with a plan?


How can you set yourself  up for success today?


Start each day as if on purpose. It is a gift. Use it well.  What is your plan ? You wouldn’t expect a carpenter to build a house without a plan.  But sometimes we try   build a life without one! 


Practise practise practise. For one hour be healthy; follow your plan. Eat only nutritious foods, drink water instead of smoking cigarettes, spend consciously, speak kindly to your spouse, whatever you want to change in your life. Don’t “try”  to do it. OUCH !! All that “trying” stuff is so stressful!  Have you ever noticed when you try, your neck tenses and your shoulders tighten -  there you are trying your hardest and nothing good is happening and you feel bad and then you feel worse as you try harder and harder. Don’t try; but do practise.


And if at the end of the day, you say I practised every hour, but at 4 p.m. I was so tired and hungry, I just ate the whole box of brownies (or smoked the whole pack). That’s okay - welcome to the human race. You are normal. Old habits die hard. Congratulate yourself on having practised until 4 o’clock, figure out what went wrong and  start practising now again.


Too often we set our goals too high and  beat ourselves up when we let ourselves down. Here are some thoughts to help you on your way…… and remember that if you have been practising unhealthy habits for 20 years, it may take more than a day or a month to change them !


Ÿ         Identify your goal. Choose one at a time.

Ÿ         Decide how you’ll know you are successful - if you weigh 400 pounds and want to weigh 200, set your success marker at ten pounds. When you get there, you know you are on your way. Reward yourself (not with brownies). Set a new goal for the next ten  pounds.

Ÿ         Set up your environment for success - what will make 2003 different from 2002? Stocking the fridge with vegetables instead of butter tarts might be a good start.  Make it easier for yourself to practise.

Ÿ         Identify clearly what is in this for you?  Will you feel better? Will you live longer? Will you like yourself more? Will you have more energy, more money?

Ÿ         Congratulate yourself. Reward yourself. Pat yourself on the back every time you say no to a cigarette, a hunk of chocolate or yes to the gym, each time you practise.  After all, if you don’t, no one else likely will and you are doing this for you.

Ÿ         Many old habits are too big for us to take on all by ourselves. Friends and family are too emotionally close. Consider a counselor or a coach to accompany you on this journey of new beginnings.

Ÿ         Rome wasn’t built in a day. Nor was your house. Nor can your life be. And life is too short to be sad and depressed because you didn’t reach impossible goals that you set for yourself. Have fun and good luck to you!


Happy New Life! Happy New Beginnings !


 And congratulations !!