There is an old story about a man who wrote to the Department of Agriculture in his state to find out how to cope with the crabgrass that was spoiling his lawn. The Department responded with a number of suggestions. The man tried them all, but he could not completely eliminate the crabgrass. Exasperated, he wrote the department again, noting that every method they had suggested had failed. His yard was still riddled with crabgrass. He got back a short reply: "We suggest you learn to love it."

That is the art of reframing, redefining something so that it is no longer as problematic. It isn't the situation that is changed, of course; it is your perspective on the situation. -Robert H. & Jeanette C. Lauer in Watersheds

Put another way, if you can't change the situation, you can at least change your response or attitude toward it.

A positive attitude plays a vital role in the development and maintenance of good emotional and physical health. Many New Year resolutions are broken before they ever get off the ground because the focus is in the wrong place- on the end result rather than how to enjoy the journey in getting to the goal!

Putting the focus on how good you are feeling, both physically and emotionally during the process of changing your behavior, will set you up for success. You will be focusing on living in the present- And quess what? It will help you take pressure off of yourself while you're getting to your goal!

Break your goals down into manageable parts. If you want to lose a few pounds, learn how to eat healthier. Try foods and recipes you haven't tried before. Visit a health food store and browse the aisles. Be willing to try something new! Make small changes in your eating habits and look forward to trying a new recipe each week. Become adventurous- Take a cooking class or grow a window sill herb garden- Make your changes FUN!

If adding more exercise to your life is your goal, find an exercise you really like to do! Give yourself permission to try a different exercise activity if the one you chose didn't feel right to you. You will be a lot more successful if you look forward to exercising because you enjoy it, rather than avoiding it because you dread doing it.

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Learn to let go of things that are beyond your control. Letting go and moving on from your mistakes helps free you from negativity and enables you to stay in control of the things you can manage.

Smile more and have a good laugh once in a while! There truly is healing power in humor. Sometimes all it takes is a good laugh to get through a tough day.

Seek strength from your support network. The care and comfort of people you can share with, people you love and who love you, will help you to maintain your emotional balance and keep you in a positive mode.

Spiritual sustenance (finding your personal peace) is important to discover and nurture. Hope, faith and joy are just as important as oxygen, food and water to sustain us. "Spiritual sustenance" can be found in family, friends, church or synagogue, nature or your own inner self.

Finally, give yourself a reward, even for the smallest successes! When things get tough, think of all the productive things you do as a matter of course every day! Remember how much you have already accomplished in life, and give yourself a hand. After all, your attitude is everything!
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Marilyn Helton
Marilyn Helton, Editor, Cinnamon Hearts Newsletter