Happy New Year! I hope that all of your holiday wishes came true. Hopefully you spent some time with your loved ones making new memories. I know I did. My husband and I took our children to New York and spent a week with my family for Christmas. We took the train into the city, saw the tree, stopped to eat, went ice skating in Central Park, ate again, exchanged lots of presents and ate some more. We talked, and laughed and reminisced. We told stories and played games. Everyone had such a wonderful time that I have to place one special item on the top of this year’s list of New Year’s Resolutions.
Many years ago, before college and grad school, before staff meetings and business lunches, before children’s activities and homeschool demands, I thought I had life figured out. Back then, if you had asked what was most important to me, I would’ve answered you in a second. “Happiness,” I’d say, “nothing else matters more than happiness.” And that was my answer throughout my teens and my early twenties.
Well, life has a habit of getting in the way, doesn’t it? Along with the medical terminology I was learning in school, came some new words – like deadline, due date, retirement funds and stress. Suddenly everything else mattered. There were new challenges everyday. And the easy answer of “happiness” was slowly replaced by whatever was most important that day.
I had planned on reminding you this month to make sure your New Year’s Resolutions included the five aspects of health. They are daily exercise, proper nutrition, adequate and restful sleep, an optimally functioning nervous system, and a positive mental attitude. There will be plenty of time to elaborate on that next month. Besides, by now, you know how to make New Year’s Resolutions; you know what you want to change. And if you can just stick with those changes through January, February will be a walk in the park.
This year let me persuade you to add happiness to the top of your list. Make time for fun and laughter. Learn to laugh at your shortcomings. Realize that mistakes are simply an opportunity for learning. When something is not working out exactly like you planned – smile. Smiling sends a message to your brain that it’ll be okay, which will help keep you calm. Plus, smiling will make the people around you wonder what you’ve got up your sleeve.
Share some laughs with your family. Have a funny story? Share it – even if it doesn’t come out funny, you’re sure to get some laughs just for trying. I can’t think of anything funnier than the stories my mother and her sisters tell, and maybe it’s just the way they tell them, but I laugh every time. Heard a good joke? Repeat it, so what if you forget the punch line. Some people really mess up a joke when they tell it, and that’s sometimes funnier than the joke itself.
Do something silly, something you thought you were too old to do anymore. A few summers ago, we had a big luau at our house, complete with a moonwalk. Before the guests arrived, I got in that moonwalk and started jumping around. I was having so much fun and laughing so hard that my parents both got in the moonwalk. And they were sixty! We were hysterical laughing; my husband declared us all crazy! But every time I think about it, I start laughing all over again.
Of course, I wish you all improved health, success and prosperity in the New Year – and I will be here to help you work toward your goals. But most importantly, I wish you happiness, so you may truly enjoy your health.
Here’s to a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year for All!
Dr. Cathy Wendland-Colby is a writer, speaker, Chiropractor, homeschooling mom, fitness instructor, adjunct faculty and all around multi-tasking bad ass who loves helping others find their true calling and live their lives to the fullest.