In the new year many of us start to think about changes we can do to help make it a better year. We may have been taught that it is healthy to write down resolutions that include goals and timelines. It is the American way to push towards a goal and work hard at achieving them. We hear messages like, "Be all you can be" or "Work hard and play hard." Is this actually good for our health and wellbeing? Could these messages we are hearing about push, drive, goals, timelines, and strive, be actually bad for our health?
In my practice I see a lot of sick people. When looking at their symptoms and getting to know them, I realize that they may have run themselves into the ground from overwork. They lose touch with nurturing and taking care of themselves. They take on expectations for themselves to be a "super" mom or a "successful" husband. We hear constant messages that make us believe that we are not enough or don't do enough. We are afraid of being accused of being lazy or ungrateful. So we become busy for busy sake.
It is common in life to have mountains and valleys. Some parts of the year will be busy and other parts will be slow. During those slow times it is important to rest up for the busier times in our lives and not take on new projects. In ancient Chinese medical texts there is an explanation that answers the question of why a person may not live a long life. According to the Huang Di Nei Jing it is because, "They exhaust there energies in many directions." Burnout is all too often the case that leads to a health crisis in one's life. People can get sick fast when under a lot of stress. So how do you find balance in a world of chaos?
Instead of goals, write down what is most important to you in your life. Place these goals into order of priority, and then put your energy towards those things.
You may first want to make family No. 1, or you may find that your spiritual walk is most important to you. You may realize that instead of going on a diet your priority is actually health and wellbeing. Then you may want to add more healthy organic foods to your diet and just start moving each day. Instead of trying to work more hours to pay off your car, cut back on some of your daily expenses.
Don't make prompt and quick decisions. Think about them for awhile and get trusted counseling and support. It is important to know that some of these goals and decisions you are making can change your life. It can be a positive experience or a horrible experience for you spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
Statistics show that almost half of Americans make resolutions. Over half of them give up by the end of January. This is because they are pushing toward a goal that is unrealistic for them in their present state. Push causes a resistance and stress in our bodies. Unrealistic expectations can destroy one's self esteem. It is like jumping across a huge body of water and expecting to not get wet. Instead, start slowly on stepping stones. Then you can see yourself cross to the other side with more ease. If you mess up then pick up the pieces and start all over again. You will not only be successful in your achievements, but healthier for doing so.
• Dawn Krueger-Sherin is an oriental medical practitioner in Ahwatukee Foothills. For questions, reach her at www.acupointehealing.com.