Happy New Year everyone!!  As I write this final blog of 2009, I’m watching the last snow of 2009 falling outside our offices.  I just finished my last lunch of 2009, and I’m really looking forward to the last commute of 2009, which ought to begin in just a few hours.  It might sound a little corny, but there really is something fantastic about counting down the minutes of the old year while anticipating the first minutes of the new.  There’s so much anticipation, the new year seems so full of promise, and all of us here at the WGC are eager to roll out all the programs, plans, and surprises we’ve got in store for you in 2010.

This is also the time of year when most people make New Year’s resolutions, drawing up a list of things they hope to find, learn, achieve, and accomplish.  I used to be big on New Year’s resolutions, but several years ago I realized I was saving all the changes I wanted to make for the beginning of the year, rather than trying to spread them out over 12 months.  Like so many people, my enthusiasm for these goals would wane, sometimes after a few weeks and sometimes after a few months.  You know who I’m talking about, the people you see crowding the gyms in January and February?  A friend of mine introduced me to the term “Resolutioners” and that’s how I’ve thought of them ever since.  Changes are good, change is what keeps us alive, but I don’t want to be a Resolutioner.  There can be more value is making small changes over a longer period of time, more of a chance to succeed in making your life and health better if you pace yourself with small steps.

And that, my friends, is where we at Oldways and the WGC find ourselves now.  Yes, we at the WGC still think including more whole grains and cutting back on refined grains is one great change to make, but there’s so much more to the world of food, health, and happiness than just one food group.  We tossed around a few ideas here in the office, and just as we did at the start of 2009, we’re happy to share some ideas with you for 2010:

  • Try a new activity.  Maybe there’s a fitness class at your gym you’ve wanted to try, or maybe there’s a local athletic network you’ve been meaning to look into.  Try zumba, rock climbing, rugby, karate, hiking, yoga – whatever it is that keeps you moving and interested.  Challenging yourself physically can also challenge your mind, and variety will help keep boredom at bay.
  • Try a new food.  So what if you hated brussel sprouts as a kid, or the though of eating quiche used to make you shudder?  That was ages ago, and chances are your taste buds have grown up just as much as you have.  Next time you’re out to dinner with friends and someone orders something you’ve never tried, ask for a “No Thank You” helping – enough to take two bites of, but not so much you feel wasteful if you learn you don’t like it.  You just might find yourself ordering the same dish in the future.
  • Try out new recipes.  That’s right, get in your kitchen and get cooking!  Inspiration is everywhere, from magazines to recipe “warehouses” on the internet, from fascinating TV shows to recent popular movies.  Crack open that little-used cookbook sitting somewhere on a shelf and find a new recipe that looks like it would be fun to try, or gives you a chance to work with new ingredients or a new cooking method.  Experimenting with food in the privacy of your own kitchen can be fun, and even if your results don’t look anything like the recipe photo, cooking something yourself can make your food taste even better.
  • Try a new perspective.  We move so fast these days, rushing to accomplish tasks and check off errands, sometimes it’s easy to let the rest of the world become just a backdrop.  There can be beauty, joy, and laughter all around us, but when we’re too plugged in or tuned out, we probably wouldn’t notice walking by a friend on the street unless they reached out and touched us on the arm.  Every once in a while, just pause and take a real look around you.  Feel the air, see your surroundings, take a long deep breath… and then carry on.  You might be surprised by the difference even a half-minute of awareness can make.
  • Try a new kindness.  Maybe you’ve always donated money to a national charity but never thought about volunteering in your own neighborhood.  Or maybe you’ve been thinking of adding a new pet to your family but haven’t visited your local animal shelter to see if your new furry or feathered friend is there waiting for you.  Generosity can sometimes be in short supply, and sadly there may always people and animals in need of a kind word, an old coat, or a new home.  Give when and as you can, and the kindness you show to others will always come back to you.

From all of us at Oldways and the WGC, we wish you a happy and safe New Year!  All the best to you in 2010!  (Kara)

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