Welcome 2022! We’re ready for YOU! 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 –especially for our health!

A good friend has a wise observation: “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!

That being the case for most of us, I was delighted to read on a list of “Top 10 New Years Resolutions” 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 a Latter-day Saint eliminates several of their other top-10 resolutions, which further shortens the self-improvement path for an awesome year.  Here they are:

  1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends – YAY!
  2. Fit in Fitness – OK!
  3. Tame the Bulge – That will happen with Number 2
  4.  Quit Smoking – Being members of the Church, we can check this off the list
  5. Enjoy Life More – OK
  6.  Quit Drinking – Another easy check off with the Word of Wisdom
  7. Get Out of Debt – The best resource is, of course, the Church’s brilliant course entitled “Personal Finances for Self-Reliance. (Click HERE to learn more!)
  8. Learn Something New – OK

9. Help Others – OK

10. Get Organized – OK

So here’s my big Ah-Ha for 2022: What if by focusing on Number 1, “Spend more time with family and friends) we were able to do several of 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, just the three of us 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 … our family got rid of the TV?”  They 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?

One of my friends lost 100 pounds.  To help her children understand what she was doing and why it mattered, she shared her favorite and most important Youtube videos from her favorite health gurus. It made a huge impact on what they ate, and did not, independent of their Mom.
I suggest anything from Dr. James 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 any number of weight loss inspiration quotes that are easily available online.

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.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 2022 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!

In my next article, I’ll be telling you about a wonderful Latter-day Saint family who did just this in 2021! The start of 2022 finds the adorable wife having lost 26 pounds. The husband has reached an improved level of fitness. Both love knowing that they are providing excellent habits and tools for their six children. And their six children are snarfing down fruits and veggies like candy. I know you’ll learn a lot from their journey this past year.

So what will you do in 2022?  It’s up to YOU! Here’s to the happiest, healthiest year yet!

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 since 2007. She provided mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success and happy living both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 through 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 Sandy, Utah where they center their online business for an amazing herbal detox