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Holiday Ideas to Jump Start Your New Year

Do you ever feel like serious work is a waste in December?

Personal and professional productivity screech to a halt during the last six weeks of the year. Complacency sets in and drives all thought of meaningful activity to a far corner of the mind. Below are three simple ideas to jump start your new year, 2010 and to kick that inertia outside of your ball park.

  1. Carry the Thanksgiving theme into December. Start every correspondence (voice or text) this month with a heartfelt message of gratitude for something the other person did that went beyond a self-serving boundary. Even if you do not personally know the individual with whom you are exchanging emails, recognize the ways they are improving the lives of others and specifically thank them for it. If you need help with those thank you messages, there is no better pro than Robyn Spizman, author of The Thank You Book.
  2. Have one holiday get-together designed to exchange ideas. My favorite gathering is "Yule Enjoy This Read" where I ask my most thoughtful friends over for a book exchange. This is at least half the fat of the traditional holiday cookie exchange! Each participant brings over one book that made them laugh and one book that taught them something new in 2009. They write their reflections on a card inside the front cover of the book. Books are displayed so that everyone has a chance to peruse the selections during the party. At an appropriate time, books are chosen using a lottery system where each consecutive person has two choices: pick a book that someone already chose or pick a book still unchosen. Those who get their choice taken away get to choose again from the unchosen books.
  3. Commit to taking your first 110 steps toward a new fitness habit. I have been using a 110 step program since I trained for the mid-adventure Montana Backpacker with my son's scout troop last summer. Focus on the number 110 and every day do some form of exercise with at least 110 repetitions. My week consists of daily 110 sit-ups, weekly 110 push-ups and 110 step intervals where I alternate walking, slow jog, fast jog and sprinting. Simple and effective.
Actually, 110 repetitions of gratitude and 110 exchanges of ideas are great steps toward new social and spiritual fitness habits. If that seems like too much, baby steps will do!


Lori L. Barr, M. D.

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