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The Great “What If …”
By Carolyn Allen


Welcome 2010! It’s the first Monday of the New Year!  Time to Ring Out The Wild Bells, indeed.  How grand it feels to have a beautiful clean calendar in front of us and a year full of possibilities, and of course, resolutions.

My daughter Emily, a returned missionary and senior at Brigham Young University, has what is usually considered to be the number 1 New Year’s resolution totally figured out:  “We indulge over Christmas, with a vow to start fresh in January.  The resolution lasts for about two weeks, so we lose what we gained during Christmas, which puts us right back to where we were before the holidays!”  Well said, my dear. 

That being the case for most of us, I was delighted to read on a list of “Top 10 New Years Resolutions” from that a delightfully realistic  “Spend more time with family and friends” is actually their Number 1 most popular resolution.  In fact, the whole list was enlightening and optimistic.  Being LDS eliminates several of their top-10, which further shortens the self-improvement path.  Here they are:

1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends – YAY!
2. Fit in Fitness – OK!
3. Tame the Bulge – That will come with Number 2,
4. Quit Smoking – Being LDS, we can check this off the list
5. Enjoy Life More – OK!
6. Quit Drinking – Another easy check off
7. Get Out of Debt – OK (Meridian can help! Click here)  
8. Learn Something New – OK
9. Help Others – OK
10. Get Organized – OK

So here’s the grand gotcha: What if by focusing on Number 1, “Spend more time with family and friends) we were able to do the rest as well?

Ah, the great “what if …”

I remember a dear friend with two toddlers who frightened herself with a “what if” … She asked herself “What if …I became a bit more organized and created a schedule that actually included 10 to15-minute scheduled slots of play-time and learning-time with my boys?” 

She found that it worked! “It was scary,” she said with a  smile.  “I found that there we were at 10:30 a.m. with them looking at me for what I’d planned to do.  In small ways, mind you, we did things that added up to huge results.”  All because she dared to face the “What if” in her heart.  

Another new friend’s  “what if” was “What if … I got rid of the TV?”  She bravely did and found “new time for the scriptures, for playing with the kids, real conversations with my husband, nicer, more nutritious meals — and a nicer me!”

Still another dear friend, who is enormously creative and artistic herself, raised seven children, each equally artistic.  The number of art projects were overwhelming and created a lot of clutter and chaos in their home.  She said “What if … we decided that joy is in the doing and not the keeping” for some of these projects?”  She helped them give away and discard things regularly without guilt or regret, so they could continue creating and progressing.

OK.  It all sounds very positive.  So, what if … we made the number one item on this list “Spend more time with family and friends” the foundation for our health efforts this year?  Can you just imagine where it would lead?  What pictures there would be to share come New Year’s 2011

Here are some ideas:

What if … we bravely sat down and talked together, whether it’s roommates, couples of any age, with or without children, or families with children, teens or a mix of everything, to figure out what would be the best way to improve the group’s physical health overall?

I’ve created a special PDF discussion guide that you can print out and use to take notes and
start a notebook, or even a scrapbook to mark your progress through the year.  CLICK HERE.

You may be interested in sharing educational DVDs, as Suzette Whiting did with her kids.
As you may recall from her Meridian story “Courage for A Cowardly Lion”

Suzette is down 100 pounds, and all her children have both lost weight and kept it off!  You can CLICK HERE for the link to both her story and the DVDs from Dr. McDougall.  In these programs, everyone can see what junk foods do to the body and establish a desire for health in a whole new way. 

What if … within that discussion was a plan was a physical activity (or several)  that everyone could regularly enjoy together?  Whether it’s brisk walks, dancing in the kitchen, a gym membership to enjoy together, scheduled time with the Wii – whatever!  Something with some exertion that leaves everybody breathing hard and feeling like they’ve accomplished something when you’re done.

What if … together you got rid of the junk in the house, then made a decision on one or two days to enjoy a special dessert/treat?  And all looked forward to that together?  Whether it’s a Family Home Evening Treat, or a Sunday dinner treat, or a Friday night date treat, doing it together makes it all the more memorable!

What if … you shared a daily “inspiration moment” that makes healthy living, and self-discipline an inspiration, uplifting part of your day?  Whether it’s a scripture, or a story from “Chicken Soup for the Dieter’s Soul” (available online) or my little book of 101 one-minute inspirations and the matching little PDF cards to tuck into pockets, notebooks and lunchbags.  (Click HERE for details on how to download a free copy.)

What if … you got some books from the library and/or some magazines and sat down together to find new recipes interesting meal?  This also fulfills the No. 8 “learn something new” resolution and No. 10 “get organized.”

What if … you started discussing together about the ways food affects you, emotionally, physically, and spiritually? Which fulfills the No. 9 “help others”


The “what ifs” are unlimited and all lead to you-know-where:  The undeniable physical proof of what a true TEAM is:


And what will that “more” be? (Drum roll, please:)  Noticeably healthier, happier, more vibrant, more productive individuals, families and friends!  Look for glowing skin and radiant smiles, too!

Is this not a part of what the Family Proclamation is all about and our Heavenly Father want most for us?

On an individual basis, of course, you can do more and inspire each other:

What if … you found out that you’re perfectly satisfied and noticeably healthier with fewer carbs, meats and dairy products?

What if … you discovered that you really, really feel great emotionally and spiritually after working out and working up a sweat?

What if …
you learned that you can get along just fine without food from wrappers (fast food, processed food, candy, snacks, etc.)?

What if … it’s not as hard as you thought it would be, and a lot more satisfying?

So What if … this is your year to make memories worth remembering and getting healthy at the same time?  What if … you achieved all your goals while having a great time with the people who mean most to you?  ( News articles report that who you hang out with has a great influence on what you weigh.

  An interesting article supporting this is on my special links page for today CLICK HERE.)

What if you created a scrapbook of memories worth remembering and reached a level of physical fitness, health and attractiveness that would make a real difference in personal and family/group confidence?

What if …
on New Year’s Day 2011 you had achieved your fitness goals?  Now that, my dear Meridian friends, is a great “what if“! One with a principle and a promise of an absolutely fabulous year in every possible way!

Once again, CLICK HERE. for the PDF print out and links for today.


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