From A Year of Healthy Living 2015 wall calendar by Ann Lovejoy — A healthy life is a tapestry woven of many threads; some are bright and colorful, others are plain and workaday, yet all are an integral part of life. There can be great joy and beauty in simple daily living, especially when we strive to be mindful and present to what is all around us. Finding that simple joy is a gift we can all attain.
Achieving a life of richness and beauty, variety and fruitfulness, and strength and endurance doesn’t happen overnight; yet a lot can happen in a year. We can start redesigning our tapestry by creating healthy new habits today. Healthy behaviors might involve treating our stress compassionately by taking a walk, gardening, reading, or talking with friends, rather than reaching for sweets.
Begin the year with an honest mental review of habits that make your life joyful and those that leave you restless, sad, or bored. Resolve to do more of the former and consider the latter candidates for change.
What will help us on our journey through the year to come? An attitude of gratitude—giving thanks for our amazing bodies, the marvelous world we live in, and the revitalizing properties of appreciation. Willingness to stretch and grow, to try new things, to embrace change. Trust that we will know how to direct our life paths in wholesome, fulfilling directions. Maturity to choose self-care over self-indulgence. Courage to change what we can when we need to. Wisdom to make nurturing, nourishing choices whenever possible. Friendship and community involvement to stretch our world past our own small concerns. Humor to lighten our day and keep us laughing, come what may.
It takes about a month for a new thought or behavior to become a comfortable habit. As you wend your wholehearted way through the year to come, choose a healthy new habit to practice each month. Try out your new behavior at every opportunity and see how long it takes for it to feel natural. Take a few minutes every day to repeat an affirmation that resonates with you or to make up new ones that suit your situation. Affirmations are amazing tools for change because what we tell ourselves comes true. Each life is full of stories about ourselves and others. When you bump up against a story that leads you in a negative direction, take time to examine it carefully. Imagine your life without that story. How does that freedom feel?
Allowing ourselves to choose new stories, new ideas, new attitudes, and new behaviors lets us have a new kind of life. Day by day, thought by thought, choice by choice, we can build a present and a future that become independent of the past. The past has no power over you when you choose to live today. Happy New Year!
With more than 20 books to her credit, award-winning author Ann Lovejoy is one of the country’s leading experts on sustainable garden design and techniques. A popular cooking and gardening columnist for numerous national and regional publications, Lovejoy is fully committed to sustainable agriculture and is active in many community projects. For more information, please visit her blog.
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