It’s time to think ahead

Some people have difficulty letting go of the past. I, on the other hand, am always into the future.
As a result, I had three 50th birthdays. At least, it felt like that.
At the time of my 48th birthday, I thought to myself, “I’m almost 50.”
Then the next year, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself only 49. And you can’t imagine how young I felt when my 50th birthday really arrived!
True to form, I’m looking ahead to 2011 even as I finish my last-minute Christmas shopping.
Christmas is a wonderful holiday, and I enjoy every minute of it. Our Christmas Eve service, the supper of cheeses and fruit after the service, our family gift-giving, Christmas with our extended family at Jim and Roberta’s house, and even “Boxing Day”—a tradition we picked up during our years living in Canada.
But after Boxing Day, life goes on. So I prefer thinking about the future now!
Yes, it’s time to think about next year–the 365 days of 2011. So I’ve been reading “365 Health and Happiness Boosters” by M. J. Ryan.
As the title suggests, this book offers 365 ways to experience more happiness and better health next year. Some of the boosters are very serious, others are lighthearted and fun.
But all will make you think!
The #1 booster is “What Matters to You.” Ryan reminds us that the beginning of a new year is a good time to take a look at your values.
What is really important to you? Do you express those values in how you live?
Ryan challenges her readers to think about these questions in order to find “the deep sense of joy” that comes from living our values.
And your goals should reflect your values.
Another booster is “Set a Goal That Matters to You,” not to someone else.
Ryan references a University of Miami study that found that if a particular goal is shallow (to win praise or to please someone else) and not to satisfy a true inner longing, then reaching the goal doesn’t bring happiness.
Think about your current goals. Do they come from an inner desire?
And then do what Ryan suggests—pick one goal today that matters to you alone.
On the lighter side, Ryan says “Blow Bubbles.” Buy an eight-ounce bottle of bubble liquid and find a child or a fun-loving adult and blow bubbles together.
Watch how the wind carries them far away.
Allow yourself the fun of being two years old again—if only for 15 minutes, Ryan advises.
I recommend this booster. A few Easters ago, our extended family did that very thing. Everyone from four to 80 had fun.
Other fun day tips are:
1). Declare a Watchless Day. Put your watch in your dresser drawer, cover your clocks, and live outside the bounds of time all day.
2). Have a chocolate bar today (that’s an easy tip to follow!)
3). Clean out a closet. This booster can be lighthearted or serious depending how you view getting rid of clutter.
For me, it would be fun!
Whether you buy Ryan’s book or follow a day-by-day calendar or make up your own daily booster, begin planning now. And make sure you enjoy all of the 365 days in 2011.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

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