Today’s Quote: “20 years from now what will you wish you had done?  Do it now!”

Happy New Year, Happy New Decade and Happy 2020! Truly, this is the one and only time in history when we can all sing “I Can See Clearly Now” instead of “Auld Lang Syne.” :0)

Actually, my favorite song to sing at New Years is “Ring Out Wild Bells” (lyrics are at the bottom) with its haunting melody and imploring message to put aside the past.  Hooray for fresh starts!  Have you cleared out the refrigerator and cupboards of the holiday-goody remnants and treats?  This Monday after New Year’s is a fine time to declare our plan for a healthy new year … and life.

As important as our actions, however, is our mindset! Emotions and attitude about personal behavioral changes are also essential for endurance and persistence.  Don’t forget about the critical element of fun that makes any challenge more do-able.  So how about fast-forwarding ourselves in a “back to the future” visualization? What will you look back on when New Year’s Eve 2021 arrives?  How about 2030? Or even 2040?  Let your imagination soar and see what happens to your spirit!  Write down some thoughts, words or photos that inspire you and post them where you can see them often. Recreate this vision as you’re going to sleep and waking up.
 
Shortly after our marriage in 1984, my husband posted a quote on a bulletin board that read:  “What will you wish you had done in 20 years?  Do it now!”  We lived with that quote for many years and have had the opportunity over the past couple of weeks to reap its fruit.

First, the outstanding Bishop of my Singles Ward back in the early 80’s recently passed away.  Counseling with him long ago as I faced a challenging situation, he gravely said, “Carolyn, it’s not now that matters.  It’s how you’ll feel when you look in the mirror 10 years from now when this is long over. Let that be your guide for what you choose to do.”  He was oh-so-right! That situation resolved itself wonderfully and I’ve been able to employ that strategy ever since. Thank you, Bishop Brimhall!

Second, for Christmas this year our grown children secretly got together and gave us a beautiful water-color painting of the Virginia home they grew up in.  For 20 years (1995-2015), it was our heaven-on-earth.  Our youngest was 2, our oldest 14.  One night in Family Home Evening, we pretended that everyone was 10 years older. We howled with laughter at little Kelly, then just 4, being a Mia Maid in Young Women, Spencer as a missionary, Emily a BYU student, etc.  But it all came true and is now our family history! Even as in the scriptures where we read of prophecies then watch them being fulfilled, so it was for us when we think of that home and those years.  It was a leap of faith to buy that home with a number of extenuating circumstances, but with prayer and faith, we were inspired to follow the quote on Bob’s bulletin board to “do it now!” that long-ago summer of 1995. 

Third, the first of each new year my husband shreds and discards no-longer-needed tax and other business papers.  This year’s included some from the successful business he launched all by himself in 1990.  It’s quite amazing to see the first checks he wrote, the first invoices, the first listing of clients.

Looking back, that quote inspired him to take a huge leap of faith! We learned on Day1 of his new business back in September of 1990 that we were pregnant with our 4th child.  Six months later he was called to be the Bishop of a large Ward.  From 1990 to 2013, (23 years) he ran his own business in downtown Washington, D.C. which included a daily commute. We raised a family, bought two different homes, sent out missionaries, paid for college educations and actively served in Ward and Stake Callings, including 4 years as an early-morning Seminary teacher. I’m not quite sure how he did, it, but we are humbled to look back and see the blessings of those years.

He pictured twenty years into the future and it worked!

How about you?  What experiences from your own life or family history can you draw on where you jumped in with faith, trusting the Lord and made things happen in positive ways that added up to eternal, excellent results?

Now we can look back to a wonderful Prophet who employed the same tactic of visualization: 

President Wilford Woodruff died at age 91 in September of 1898.  Just a few months previous to this at the April 1898 General conference, he gave an amazing talk about all the near-death accidents he had had from the time he was very, very young. He broke nearly every bone in his body, some more than once! You can read it all in his own words with the link I have included at the bottom of this page.  His life is a testimony to the fact that the human body CAN and WILL restore itself, which is encouraging to many of us who have taken advantage of our health through poor eating and lack of exercise.

The quote that matters for us most today, however, is the following about resurrection when he was 73 years old:

 Oh Death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the gift of God is eternal life, through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” This doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is most glorious. It is comforting, at least to my spirit, to think, that, in the morning of the resurrection, my spirit will have the privilege of dwelling in the very same body that it occupied here. As Elders of Israel we have traveled a great many thousand miles in weariness and fatigue, laboring to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the children of men. I would be very glad to have the same body in the resurrection with which I waded swamps, swam rivers and traveled and labored to build up the Kingdom of God here.

(Discourse by Elder Wilford Woodruff, delivered at the Forty-Sixth Semi-Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Utah, Friday Morning, October 8, 1875.)

Would you feel grateful to be joined with the body you have lived in when resurrection morning finally comes? Would you embrace it as a friend that had served you well, and that you had served in return with proper care, food and exercise?  Now that’s food for thought!

So a big welcome to this bright new year, decade and a chance to ring out the old and ring in a new commitment to health and vitality!  2020 means clear vision that can be even sharper than ever as we seek personal revelation as instructed by our current Prophet, Russell M. Nelson.  His vision, both physically and spiritually is in a class all by itself.  (At age 95, have you noticed he never wears glasses?!?)

Here are my 3 practical tools to launch our healthiest year ever:

1. Forget resolutions! Just pretend it’s the first week of January 2021 and celebrate how great you feel and look based on the terrific health choices you made all throughout 2020!  

Have fun remembering back through the seasons and imagine your health choices.  Picture yourself fitting comfortably in your favorite snappy clothing and even shopping for smaller sizes. Imagine your energy and ability to move easily, to play with your kids at the playground and on the floor.  Visualize a surprised and happy doctor at your check-ups. It’s NOT rocket science! We know what to do:  Eat wisely and exercise! Ditch the sugar and drink more water!

2.  Read Elder Ballard’s 2019 October Conference Talk:  “Giving Our Spirits Control Over Our Bodies.”  This is a tremendous source of spiritual inspiration for daily application.

3.  Spend some time reading the many testimonials at www.DiscoveringTheWordofWisdom.com for inspiring, practical examples of how other Latter-day Saints have turned their health and weight around, even in their later years.

Yes indeed, we can do it! It’s not only 2020 and time for healthy choices, but time to start humming “I can see clearly now … it’s gonna be a bright, bright happy day!” 



LINKS:  President Wilford Woodruff looks back on his life at age 91:
https://books.google.com/books?id=WJhJAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA385&lpg=PA385&dq=Wilford+Woodruff+Look+back+on+my+body&source=bl&ots=MbNFSNcNn-&sig=ACfU3U3gyWKeBTQWLKBC1nWJBiFiM0sJ3g&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjiyemEkOrmAhWTZM0KHYxODUUQ6AEwC3oECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=Wilford%20Woodruff%20Look%20back%20on%20my%20body&f=false

Ring Out Wild Bells
Alfred Lord Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life. She has been a columnist for Meridian Magazine for 11 years,  providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success and happy living both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999.  She has presented for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. 

She and her husband, Bob, are the parents of five children and grandparents of a growing number of darling little ones. They are now happy empty nesters in Jackson, Tennessee, close to Memphis, where they center their online business for an amazing herbal detox. CLICK HERE