michelle nicole photography

michelle nicole photography

 

It’s been over two weeks since we welcomed 2015 and as I head towards the clearance section of our local retailer hoping to find a few remaining remnants of Christmas past; tinsel trappings, boxes and bows in preparation for Santa’s next visit, only 339 days away, I am surrounded by a sea of red and pink. Fancy cards, and displays of heart shaped boxes filled with sensational sweets waiting to be distributed by St. Valentine’s adorable chubby cheeked messenger of love Cupid and likely to sabotage the number one New Year’s resolution.

Even before New Year’s Eve, as we know it, existed, peoples of the world were making resolutions at the beginning of each year. The Babylonians and Romans made promises to their gods to return items borrowed or repay debts to maintain favor with them. Early Christians, wishing to shift the focus from pagan deities, chose to contemplate the previous year and consider ways to make personal improvements in the coming year; thus beginning the tradition of announcing a resolute personal change or vow to make a charitable contribution to society. An estimated 45% of people announce their intentions at the stroke of midnight each December 31st, and the 5 resolutions made most often are; weight loss, better organization, spending less/saving more money, enjoying life to the fullest and staying fit or healthy. These sound like easy commitments to make, right…

WRONG!

Please consider that those who suffer with chronic pain or illness are forced to accept changes daily, to accommodate their conditions, and these popular New Year’s resolutions may prove to be more difficult than you may think. Medication can make maintaining a weight loss, as well as gain, extremely difficult. Issues with mobility and fatigue may limit physical or social activities that bring well-being and fulfillment. Treatments and homeopathic remedies not covered by health insurance, and co-pays, or prescriptions can quickly reduce income, which ultimately makes saving money virtually impossible.

In general, I do not make New Year’s resolutions; more often than not, Time Square’s glittery disco ball drops well after the Serta Sheep have tucked me in.  While I do my best to maintain a healthy balance in all areas of my life, my chronic conditions prevent me from being consistent. Therefore, I have come to the realization that there are still areas of my life that would benefit from improvement, so after much consideration, I complied this list of my intentions for 2015.

I resolve to make eye contact with people I am speaking to; with sales clerks, with people I meet at church, or the doctor’s office. Making eye contact with others provides a warm and personable atmosphere; it builds trust and shows confidence.

I resolve to smile more. Smiling moves facial muscles that trigger the release of neurotransmitters called endorphins that can lower stress levels.

I resolve to laugh as often as I can. Laughing expands the lungs, stretches muscles and the body achieves a tension relieving physiological balance called homeostasis.

I resolve to be optimistic. Optimism is more than just seeing the glass have full, by reframing our thought process with cognitive therapy; we can also increase our emotional health and more effectively handle future setbacks.

I resolve to live in the moment. I cannot change the events of the past, but I can enjoy the present blessing I am receiving and look to the future with hope.

Friends, as you embark on your journey into 2015, take some time to consider making a New Year’s resolution because we can all spare some change!