March 3, 2024

New Year, New You

Bring on your best in 2021
By Lynda Wheatley | Jan. 2, 2021

It won’t be hard to top 2020, a year that we’ll remember for all that it wasn’t and couldn’t safely be. So while you probably could do nothing but sit on the couch and wait for the calendar to plod toward an almost-certainly better tomorrow, why not invest the singular time you have now — near-empty of travel, social commitments, and extended family gatherings — on No. 1: you. We tapped mind, body, spirit, and home experts around the region for 10 transformative resolutions to make for new you in the new (and sure-to-be-greatly improved) year. Here’s what they suggested:

Resolution: Remember who you are.
Modern life has many benefits, but it's also not terribly conducive to remembering who you really are: a powerful, brilliantly bright, lovely, magic thing. In a world designed to help you forget, find something every day that makes you remember — paint badly, sing while you cook, light a candle, feed the squirrels.
— Sarah Bernstein of Sarah and Source tarot reading and teaching, Traverse City

Resolution: Instead of selecting a specific “diet,” look at behavior change.
It is impossible to follow a diet with breakfast, lunch, and dinner if there is currently no time in the morning for breakfast. In this situation, look at WHY there is no time for breakfast. Do you need easier breakfasts? To determine how to make time for breakfast? To come up with more grab-and-go options? Address behaviors instead of forcing yourself to fit the “diet.”
— Amanda Evans MS, RDN, CDCES, registered dietitian, diabetes specialist and nutrition coach at Amanda Evans Nutrition Consulting, Charlevoix

Resolution: Live more mindfully. 
Mindfulness can reduce stress, increase focus, and help regulate your emotions. How? Stop and notice five things you can see, four you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, one thing you can taste. Next, pay attention to your breath. Is it fast, slow, deep or shallow? See if you can make your inhales a little deeper and exhales a little longer.— Cathy Fitzgerald and Kay Epple, owners of Just Bee Yoga + Well-being, Traverse City

Resolution: Do the Thing!
You know that thing you’ve been waiting to do? DO IT! Don’t wait. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to go for it when you can, so look at your bucket list and commit to crossing something off of it in 2021. Why wait? While you’re at it, be sure to tell someone about your plans. Make it someone who will cheer you on, but also call you on your excuses … or even better, someone who will join in. That way, you’re not alone, and you can celebrate your success together!
— Anne Bonney, professional speaker and courage ignitor, 

Resolution: Take 10 for you.
The stress of COVID-19 weighs on everyone: Kids can’t go to school. Parents are working from home — or maybe not working. A positive attitude can be a challenge. So, before lashing out at your kids, your partner, or yourself, take 10 for you: Breathe deeply. Take a walk. Watch a funny video. Turn up the music and dance. Meditate. Ten minutes can save the day. And your sanity.
— Mary Jo Zazueta, development director, Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center

Resolution: Start a gratitude journal. 
Grab a notebook and pen and spend 5 to 10 minutes a day being grateful for what you have, who you are, and the awesome things you accomplished today! Focusing on positive feelings produces positive results and will help create the momentum and success you seek in 2021!  Bonus for Northern Express readers: To receive my FREE digital journal, please email me at, my gift to you!
— Kjersti Kontio, certified life & health coach, owner at My Life Health Coach LLC, Harbor Springs

Resolution: Create a Sadhana
Old habits can be hard to break without looking inward. “Sadhana” is Sanskrit for personal practice. It is a practice of self-discipline, and through direct experience, leads to an expansion of awareness and self-transformation. The daily practice can be anything from yoga, to chanting mantra, to meditating, just as long as it is consistent and heartfelt.

The byproducts of such a practice are emotional regulation, inner-composure, and an experience of calm. There is truly no more valuable thing we can give to ourselves. How to create a Sadhana:

·      Set an attainable and suitable sadhana (length of practice, time of day, choice of yoga and/or meditation, etc.)

·      Be patient and gentle with yourself.

·      Don’t become disappointed or give up — it is a practice, not perfect!

·      If you miss a day, start again and keep up! 

— Jessica Merwin, HeartMath mentor, Kundalini yoga teacher, entrepreneur, and owner of New Moon Yoga Studio, Traverse City

Resolution: Prioritize your people so they feel it.
In a culture and community expecting your time and talents, intentionally put your personal cheerleaders first. You know they’ll wait in line for you, however, faith, family, and dear friends shouldn’t have to take a number. Do long work hours or distance separate you from your favorite people? If you read, share book titles. Enjoy dialogue that might simply be a lunch-hour text emoji after finishing chapter seven. Treasured conversations will deepen the personal connection you both deserve. 
— Wendy Nienhouse, co-founder of Agevix Exercise Therapy, host of BoomerAbility on WTCM NewsTalk 580 AM, Traverse City 

Resolution: Make your bedroom a retreat; eliminate its clutter.
Questions to ask: What stays and what goes? Do I love it, use it, need it, or does it need to live somewhere else? Donate, sell, or relocate items to another room. Achieve this by breaking down the job into small tasks.
— Beth Ruck, owner of Conquering Clutter, Cadillac 

Resolution: Shift your attention.
Being present is a shift of attention. Meditation and mindfulness shift attention from a busy mind to a tool. Eventually, this allows us to recognize the part of us that is already in the present. Practice — eyes opened and closed — to strengthen your ability to be present in life.
— Rodasi Campbell, monk, priestess, mentor, and author of “Meditation for Badassery,” Traverse City


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