3 Ways to Jump Start the New Year

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The days before the New Year are a reflective time for a lot of people. Many of us decide we are going to start off the year with a clean slate and a few well-intentioned resolutions - which usually fall by the wayside before the end of January, leaving us with a nagging sense of guilt. This holiday season, why not launch the new year by making time for three small tasks: Thank someone. Sit down and hand write a note or pick up the phone to tell someone you're grateful for knowing them. Maybe it's the math teacher who tutored you through sophomore year, or your Aunt Ruth, who loaned you the down payment for your first car, or your parents, a co-worker, or a friend. You'll probably come up with a whole slew of people you'd like to thank. That first note or call is a great way to roll into the new year.

Forgive someone. Been harboring resentment or irritation toward someone? Does your blood pressure go up every time you think about the incident or exchange that ticked you off? It's amazing how many of the events that raise our ire occurred ages ago, and have often been long-forgotten by the person who offended us. Whether or not you forgive someone directly or in the privacy of your own mind, making the conscious decision to release lingering anger and resentment is a healthy and liberating step and also reduces stress.

Perform a secret act of kindness. Be creative and enjoy your mission. Leave an elderly neighbor a gift card, with a note that says, "Treat yourself today." Donate clothing or toys to a local shelter. Brush the snow off the car next to yours. Send flowers to someone who might least expect them. Leave a book at the coffee shop for someone else to enjoy. Give up your parking space to a stranger. Then savor the notion of knowing that your simple kindness made the start of the New Year happier for another person, too.

Article by Kim Washetas, contributing writer and enthusiastic whole health advocate.