I’m pouring my heart and soul into my New Year’s Resolutions this year. Actually, it’s the other way around, and I expect my resolutions to make a noticeable difference in my life – my heart, my soul, my attitude and my concentration. All in just 20 minutes a day.

While trying to decide what my New Year’s Resolutions would be this year, I thought about all the advice I hear regularly about things we should do first thing in the morning. Exercising, for instance, to get our hearts pumping. Eating a hearty breakfast, to fuel our bodies. Planning out and organizing our day, to work more efficiently and productively. Or meditating, to calm our minds and help us focus.

This list is just a start, but it’s already well past the number of things we can actually do “first thing in the morning.” So I’m selecting two. I plan to do each of them for ten minutes. That’s not a lot of time, but it’s enough to help establish a routine, one that I should be able to follow without being too tempted to skip it because I don’t have time.

One of the two things I’m going to do first thing every morning is to exercise – something aerobic, like marching in place or going up and down stairs. The other is to pray. Not the kind of praying I already do at various times throughout the day, such as before meals, or when I’m just waking up or getting ready for bed, or when snow starts piling up, the roads are getting icy, and I need to drive to a meeting in St. Paul. Instead, I mean the kind of praying that’s more like talking to a good friend – sharing my hopes and dreams, my worries and fears, my secrets and sorrows.

I’ll probably spend the first week or so of the New Year experimenting with the best way to incorporate my new resolutions, including determining which one to do first. It makes sense to start with praying, especially since I can do that before I even get out of bed. If I hit the snooze alarm, that gives me ten minutes right there. I just need to force myself to sit up immediately, so I don’t simply roll over and fall back asleep.

If I hop out of bed as soon as I’m done with that, I can jump right into whatever exercise I’ve decided to do. I’m sure I can get ten minutes in before I’m even fully awake. Just to be safe, I’ll set the kitchen timer for ten minutes. Or maybe just hit the snooze button again.

Although ten minutes of prayer and exercise first thing each morning won’t turn me into a monk or a marathon runner, the idea is to get started and to build consistency. From there, anything is possible.

So those are my New Year’s Resolutions for 2017. One of them will be good for my heart, the other will be good for my soul. Together they should make me a better, stronger person. And I think that’s a great way to start the New Year.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on December 29, 2016.
©Betty Liedtke, 2016

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