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From The Chief Editor's Desk

Phew! Thankfully, the holidays are over! I was eager for the holidays to arrive, swept up in the enthusiasm for the holidays by my kids. There's nothing quite like a child's enthusiasm for the holidays. It's infectious, to say the least.

But I'm just as happy to see them complete. With the holidays being over, also over is their disruption to our normal, daily routines. Now that they are over, much of the stress of the holidays is behind us. After the buildup to the holidays, it's quite relaxing to get back to life as usual.

Of course, the actual "holiday season" typically ends with New Year's Day. And, New Year's Day typically means lots of people making New Year's resolutions. My usual New Year's resolution is to make no New Year's resolution. It's great for people to take a moment for introspection, but feeling obliged to make resolutions to "improve" one's self largely out of peer pressure is a recipe that is most often fraught with failure and disappointment.

Anyway, why does that introspection and self examination have to come at New Year's, when the stress of the holidays is just beginning to lighten? Maybe people need to perform an ongoing self examination throughout the year.

It's great to "resolve" to quit smoking, to drink less, to lose weight, to speak kinder, to cuss less, to get in shape or exercise more, to save more, to eat better, etc., but do you really think New Year's is the right time to do it?

Most people are going to fail if they are not ready to accomplish those tasks, which leads to nothing more than disappointment. No one, for example, is going to quit smoking until and unless they are truly ready to in their mind. Few people are going to be able to eat better or lose weight while mostly shut up indoors for the remainder of winter. Without an expensive gym membership, most people aren't going to have the discipline to get into better shape or improve their exercise levels. The "magic" of New Year's Day isn't going to make any of that happen.

Statistically, less than 2/3rds of New Year's resolutions last more than the first month. Less than half of all New Year's resolutions last more than six months. Among those over the age of 50, only about 14% actually achieve their New Year's resolutions, compared to 39% of people in their 20s. Other studies say that about 80% of New Year's resolutions fail by the first week of February. So, maybe New Year's Day isn't necessarily the best time to make promises that are very likely to fail.

Resolve to make changes in your life only when you are ready to make those changes. I quit smoking about 10 years ago, and not because of a New Year's resolution. I had already made up my mind that I wanted to quit, and I was in the process of weaning myself off of the cigarettes. After a brief viral infection, I was hit with some cardiac dysrhythmias, as sometimes happens after a mild viral infection. But it got my attention, loud and clear. While I knew that the smoking was not the sole reason for the cardiac dysrhythmias, I knew that it definitely was a contributing factor. So, right then and there, my "plan" to quit smoking was discarded, and I just quit. Cold turkey. It literally scared me, thoroughly.

But I had already prepared myself in my mind that I wanted to quit, which made quitting smoking cold turkey easier. I later discovered that my cardiac dysrhythmias were more directly related to some over the counter medication I was taking quite regularly for a stomach condition, rather than the smoking or the viral infection. Both undoubtedly contributed, but the biggest culprit was the over the counter stomach medication … which I have since stopped taking. Since quitting the over the counter medication, as well as making diet changes and improving gut health, I've not needed to take any kind of stomach medicine, either over the counter or prescription. In fact, I also no longer take any medication for the cardiac dysrhythmias, either. With the root cause eliminated by no longer taking the stomach medicine, the cardiac dysrhythmias were no longer a problem.

So go ahead and make changes to your life, but do it only when you're ready to do so. Don't succumb to peer pressure and make it your New Year's resolution, unless you truly are ready. There's nothing wrong with introspection and trying to make your life better, but New Year's Day typically isn't the best time to do it.

Until next month, I bid you peace, happiness, serenity and prosperity.

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