It’s nearly January again—it just seems like last year we went through this same passage of time!  We all want to make New Year’s Resolutions we can keep.  At some level we all want to take care of ourselves and improve our health.  Here are 5 resolutions you can keep—at least they will give you something serious to ponder about as you chart your own goals for health and wellness.

ONE: I will become a fierce advocate of my own health.

In the area of health we all struggle with one particular handicap:  Blindness.  We don’t take care of ourselves for numerous reasons.  Decide now:  No more being the victim.  No more entitlement.  No more youngest child syndrome (someone else will take care of things for me).  No more blaming (“I wouldn’t be this way if she hadn’t of…).  No more “I’ll wait until next year to change…” (Hey, it IS next year).  No more “I blew it therefore I’ve blown it.”  In other words, if you make a mistake in your own health regimen or goals, don’t think the mistake can’t be corrected by getting up, dusting yourself off and starting again right then!  No more status quo with your health—make it a priority.  Your health is your greatest wealth.  Even if you struggle with major diseases or challenges, like I do, think of them as a blessing in disguise.  Let them be your companions in encouraging you and helping you become a fierce advocate for your own health.

TWO: I’ve decided to do all in my power to live a long, productive and healthy life.

Sometimes we have a tendency to want to kill ourselves a little bit at a time.  It’s subtle, I know, but it’s cruel and it’s wrong.  Not taking care of yourself has “doing yourself in” written all over it.  Not making the decision to strive to live a long, productive and healthy life IS making the decision to not do just that.  Yes, our days are numbers and the Lord knows all things, but don’t you want to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to do all you possibly can to strengthen, bless and grow His kingdom?  Of course you do.

Some people say that when you hit 70 years old, the wheels fall off the bus.  NOT SO!  Some say when you hit 70 life really begins.  It’s like coming towards the end of your full-time proselyting mission.  Remember (those of you who have had that opportunity)?  The last four to six months you really started to hit your stride.  If you were in a foreign-speaking mission, you started to really grasp the language.  You really started to overcome your fears and negative inclinations.  You started to really know the scriptures and understand how to listen to the promptings of the Spirit. 

Life is like this:  When you hit your 3rd Trimester of life (let’s say the time period between age 57 and 85), you really start to hit your stride.  You really start to learn the language of the Spirit.  You really start to overcome so many things with the help of the Lord.  Full speed ahead!  Steady as she goes!  Remember:  That which is in motion tends to stay in motion.  Keep moving!  Take care of yourself.  I have just made a major change in my health regimen by taking Cardio Miracle every day.  Go to THIS ARTICLE I wrote on the 8 Things I Do for my Health Daily and read number 4.  Based on my health numbers before starting to take it and my health numbers after being on it for 110 days in a row—I’m going to be taking it every day the rest of my life.  Take back YOUR health.  Become proactive and steady.  Work through your health challenges—don’t let them work you over and do you in.  I am going to do all I can to live a long, productive and healthy life.

THREE: I will increase my spirituality in measured ways so that my physical health will follow.

There are numerous ways to work on increasing your own spirituality.  “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you,” says the Lord in Doctrine and Covenant 88:63.  That is given as a commandment with a promise.  I know the Lord is good on His promises.  I’ve proven Him in days that are past in my own life.  I trust Him.

President Russell M. Nelson gives a wonderful formula for increasing our spirituality to the point that we will receive more and more personal revelation:

“Nothing opens the heavens quite like the combination of increased purity, exact obedience, earnest seeking, daily feasting on the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon, and regular time committed to temple and family history work.”

I love that formula.  Start with increased purity.  That comes by taking up our cross daily.  And what does that mean, to take up our cross daily?  Joseph Smith gave us the answer in JST Matthew 16:26:  “And now for a man to take up his cross, is to deny himself all ungodliness, and every worldly lust, and keep my commandments.”  Ponder about what that really means.  This will bring us increased purity.

Exact obedience.  How can we be more exact in our obedience?  Each of us knows the answer to that in our own lives.  Let us remember who our Commander is and that we are here for His cause.  Wouldn’t you want to be obedient to the one who bought your salvation with His precious blood?

Earnest Seeking.  Let us be constantly seeking the things of God.  Let us be seekers of truth in the scriptures.  Let us be humble learner and strive to know the word of the Lord and know the words of the prophets and apostles in our day.  Let us fill our lives with goodness. 

Daily Feasting on the Words of Christ in the Book of Mormon.  We have only begun to understand the importance, as a people and as individuals, to make the Book of Mormon an integral part of our lives in these troubled times.  The promises connected to this daily feasting are many.  Here’s a promise from Elder Gary E. Stevenson:  “I promise you that if you will read the Book of Mormon…you joy will expand, your understanding will increase, and the answers you seek to the many challenges mortality presents will be opened to you.”  Here’s a promise from President Marion G. Romney:  “…the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes…the spirit of reverence will increase…the spirit of contention will depart…Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents.  Righteousness will increase.” 

Here’s a promise from President Gordon B. Hinckley:  “Brothers and sisters, without reservation I promise you that if you will prayerfully read the Book of Mormon, regardless of how many times you previously have read it, there will come into your hearts an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord. There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to his commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.”

And finally from President Nelson:  “My dear brothers and sisters, I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions—every day. I promise that as you ponder what you study, the windows of heaven will open, and you will receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life. I promise that as you daily immerse yourself in the Book of Mormon, you can be immunized against the evils of the day, even the gripping plague of pornography and other mind-numbing addictions.”  There are scores of other promises from the prophets and apostles.  I trust these promises.  I want these blessings in my life.

Regular Time Committed to Temple and Family History Work.  I can hardly believe this one gets to be part of the formula for increasing personal revelation in our lives.  This one is so rewarding and so fun, well, what a bonus that this activity comes with so many amazing blessings!  I could “sit around” and do family history work all day every day.  Oh, that I had that kind of time!  But, ask Maurine what I want to do every year on my birthday—it never changes:  I want to go to the Family History Library and do research on those who gave me life.  It’s my way of saying thank you to all my ancestors and it brings me unending joy.  I testify that it opens the windows of revelation.

I think these things I’ve talked about in number 3 will help you in your own personal goals for spirituality for this New Year.

FOUR: I will Treat Myself with Kindness, Respect and Love.

This seems like it shouldn’t be included in a health goal for the year but it can go a long way to helping your health improve.  Sometimes the biggest critic we have in the one sitting right there on your shoulder.  Maurine wrote about that in one of the most read articles we’ve ever published.  You can see that here. 

Not long ago we were leading a tour in the Holy Land.  We were staying in Ein Gev on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.  The sunset had been spectacular over Tiberias and Mount Arbel.  The evening was lovely.  We went to bed.  In the middle of the night I got up to use the bathroom.  As I was returning to bed I received a simple message from the heavens.  Just 5 words:  “I’m not mad at you.”  Now, that seems insignificant and small, but it instantly filled my soul with joy.  I didn’t actively think the Lord was mad at me.  I think I was often disappointed in myself and mad at myself for not doing more, not accomplishing more, not adding more to those around me, not achieving all I desired.  I think I was mad at myself and for me to hear this immediately released my own concerns of self-criticism and self-abnegation. 

Stop berating yourself.  If you really knew who you were you would never treat yourself with such contempt.  Stop forgetting who you are.  And stop postponing  your mission in life.  Your mission is written on your soul.  You brought it with you.  Somewhere inside yourself you know what it is.  Pursue it.  It will bring you unending and unencumbered joy.

Give yourself permission to do something you would really like to do.  Take a day off and go for a leisurely drive to a favorite place in the mountains or by the seashore and just go relax.  Give yourself permission to think.

Stop weighing and measuring your every move!  Of course be honest, true, chaste, benevolent and virtuous, but don’t be harsh, condemning, or plain rotten to yourself.  I see this way to often.  As you are kind in your heart to you, you will be naturally kind to others.

Ask Heavenly Father to help you see who you really are.  Ask Him to open your view to you.  You’ll be amazed to come to know who you are.  Get to know yourself with the aid of the Spirit of the Lord.  This will be a delightful process.

Stop overeating.  This is part of being kind to yourself.  Overeating, gluttony and over indulgence are all forms of self-abuse.  This year, don’t fall for that old ploy.  Remember:  Your body is a holy temple.  Treat it as such.

FIVE: I will Make Gratitude My Super Power

I’ve often been asked in fun games or get-to-know-you gatherings among young single adults, “What would you like to have as your super power.”  I always say “Gratitude.”  They say, “No, we mean a real super power—like x-ray vision or super strength or the ability to fly.”  Yes, that’s what I’m talking about:  Gratitude is super power.  It is a power that can melt hearts.  It is a power that can bring down the best blessings of heaven.  It is a power that can bring immense joy. 

Parents love grateful children.  Our Heavenly Father loves grateful children and is displeased with ingratitude.  “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.” (D&C 59:21)

Gratitude and courage are deeply connected.  Gratitude and optimism are also deeply connected.  Gratitude radiates from the heart and shines through one’s countenance.  Gratitude is one of the highest virtues.  If you ever feel negative, dark or depressing feelings coming on (and we all do at some time or another), fight them with pure doses of gratitude.  Sounds simple.  It’s not, but it is.

A grateful person is a happy person.  Try it.

Blessings to you in this coming glorious year!