Another year has begun and we made it through another year. Now is the time to start anew with a whole new perspective and a whole new self. Every year we decide to exercise more, lose weight, eat healthy, and build new relationships; the list goes on. What if we approached this new year differently? Rather than focusing on what we did not achieve last year, our shortcomings and where we need to change ourselves, we should approach the year in a positive light.

To begin the year, take all of the good things you did throughout the previous year, memories and gains and hold on to it. Be grateful for all of the achievements, and experiences you had, take that with you and carry on. Starting the year off with gratitude is a gateway to happiness and success every day and throughout the year. Take a moment every week, if not every day, and write out all of things you have and that have happened that you are grateful for. If you don’t have time to write, then just say it aloud to a friend or to yourself. Gratitude is shown to make people happier, have positive self-esteem and attitude, and stronger relationships. It’s a natural way to reduce stress and make us resilient. Being grateful will not only benefit our mental health, but our physical health, as well. People who are grateful take better care of themselves, exercise more often, and have less aches and pains. They have stronger immune systems and less chronic illnesses. And, well if your resolution is to be healthier, what better way to start out?

While you’re focusing on being healthier, think not about the foods you’re giving up, but on the foods you are adding to your diet. When my 8 year old and I are cooking together I have her look at all the foods we have in front of us and what we can add to make it more colorful. She now sees her plate and knows if there’s not enough green, yellow, orange and red, then it’s not healthy. So, focus on adding more nutrient rich, colorful foods like leafy greens, peppers, purple onions, squash and cruciferous vegetables. You’ll notice the healthier you eat, the stronger you’ll feel.

Don’t get wrapped into losing weight. It creates a completely negative image of yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror and look at all that you have, the fact that you have the physical ability to do anything you want, that you can go out into the world and experience all that exists in nature from the skies to the earth. This is truly a gift. Take this gift and run with it each and every day. Go for a walk or engage in some physical activity. Go see things as if you’re seeing them for the first time. We only have this one chance in this one body. Embrace your health and enjoy every moment while you can.

For your New Year’s resolution, if new goals and experiences are on your list of achievements, encourage yourself by signing up for something new at least once a month. Write down your goals and as you accomplish them and see the rewards for yourself, you will naturally be motivated to do more. Furthermore, you will be enjoying life to the fullest by trying something new and discovering more about yourself.

We all know that the holidays are the time of year everyone focuses on giving and donating to charities. Take what you have done during that time and continue to spread it throughout the year. Kindness not only makes the world of others brighter, but it is also beneficial to our own health where it has been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease stress, increase self-esteem, and bring us a longer, happier life.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and found yourself drifting off and thinking about the things you have to do and where you have to run to next? The same thing goes for when we’re in the middle of doing something and our mind is wandering off. I most certainly have and it’s terrible! Studies have shown that those people whose mind wanders are less happy than those who live in the moments. Those few moments you take to really spend with someone or somewhere will bring about more happiness in our lives and change our minds into a more positive light. As we all know, time is precious. Be present.