Happy New Year!
There are two reasons I love the start of a new year. First of all, it is the perfect time to reflect on the year that has passed – to reflect on the changes in our personal lives, in our families, in our community of Canada, and in the world. It is also a time to ask ourselves, “What role did I play in the cause and effect of these changes?” And, most importantly, “What did I learn from it all?”
The second reason I love the start of a new year is that it is a wonderful opportunity to dream and to set goals for a fantastic new year – a fresh start for us all! I know not everyone makes New Year’s resolutions. In fact, someone told me: “I don’t make new year’s resolutions because I won’t keep them, so why bother!”
I only started making New Year’s resolutions a few years ago. This year, my wife and I did our resolutions together. I was quite humbled when I reviewed my past resolutions and checked to see how I was doing. I have to admit, I need to be more realistic, more focused, and review my ‘game plan’ on a regular basis if I hope to be successful.
I decided to focus on four specific goals this year. One of these goals involves improving and maintaining my personal health. I know many of you share this goal. Some people want to rid themselves of a chronic condition that has been affecting their daily lives for months or years. Others want to lose weight, exercise regularly, eat better, get more rest, stop smoking, lower their blood pressure, or become less dependent on certain medications. These are all worthy goals to set. We also need to address the stressful areas of our lives because stress can have a detrimental effect on our health and well-being. This means we may need to work on improving our relationships with our spouse, other family members or co-workers. Let us remember the definition of health promoted by the World Health Organization: “A state of optimal physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.”
Overall, Canadians are concerned about their health and the health care system. It makes sense that your personal health is one of your top priorities. However, being concerned about your health and being proactive on improving and maintaining it, are two very different things. Let’s not fool ourselves, it is not easy to stay focused and on track. Recently, the head personal trainer of a popular health club in Toronto told me that this time of year is great for membership yet, by mid-March and April, 30 to 50 per cent of those new members are no longer working out on a regular basis, and many have quit.
I think there is a way to increase the chances of achieving our health-related goals. Too often, we think we know it all and can do it all. We do not like to ask for help or we ask the wrong people. Surrounding yourself with people committed to helping you achieve your goals makes it a lot easier.
“Helping families live healthier, happier lives” is the theme at the heart of Morgan Chiropractic & Wellness (MCW). All the professionals at MCW are committed to this mission. Here are a few New Year’s resolution or goal-setting tips:
Write out your goals, your reasons for achieving each goal, how great you will feel when you achieve them. Place or post the list where you can look at it every day.
Be committed and prepared to make sacrifices. Make an agenda, or ‘game plan’, detailing what you need to do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to achieve your goals.
Surround yourself with positive people and/or professionals who care about you and will support you along the way.
Keep your eyes on the prize!
One more strategy that will help you achieve a goal that may at first seem unattainable is to break it up into small, manageable pieces. I applied this strategy a few years ago when I set the goal of reading my Bible cover to cover, Genesis to Revelation, in one year – Easter to Easter. I divided the total number of pages to be read by the number of days in the year, 365, and realized that if I could commit to reading only six pages a day, in one year I would have achieved my goal. I thought six pages is manageable, I could do that. During that year, there was less than a dozen days I didn’t read the six pages. But, on the following day I would read 12. There was never two consecutive missed days. The strategy worked and it changed my life.
These tips and strategies can be used for any desired and meaningful goal. You will soon realize the attainment of such goals often results in a change in how we view and think about things and in our behaviour or lifestyle. This year, if you haven’t thought about resolutions or goal-setting (perhaps you’ll continue working on the ones from last year, or the year before last), I hope this may help motivate you to get on track and stay the course.
If, in the course of the next 12 months (and beyond), we experience better relationships with our families, friends and co-workers; save a little more and spend a little less; burn more calories than we consume; give more than we take, and grow more in knowledge and understanding of our spiritual self, then this will truly be a life changing year for us all.
Dr. Christopher J. Morgan is the director of Morgan Chiropractic & Wellness, an interdisciplinary health centre in Toronto, and the President of the Black Health Alliance, a network of community organizations, health professionals and community members working in partnership to advance the health and well-being of the Black community. He can be reached at 416-447-7600 or email@example.com