Here we go! It’s 2019! We’ve had a little over a week of head-shaking disbelief. Are you kidding me? Where did 2018 go? How did I get here? How did I get this old? Or maybe even, how did I get this fat or immobile or stressed?

Blah, blah, blah ... it’s a very common conversation at the beginning of each year, wherever and whenever we run into friends, family or even casual acquaintances at the beginning of something that could be life-changing, a fresh start! It’s an even more familiar “internal dialogue” that can become a joy and energy sucking loop for a quarter, a year, or a lifetime, if we are not careful. Even though I’ve been supporting people to make lasting shifts in their lives for three decades, I too must be vigilant, because as human beings, this light-hearted “anything-is-possible” attitude that will fuel us to create a rich, fulfilling and healthy life, only happens with focus and on purpose. In my experience what it takes is a desire and ability to be humble, grateful and honest. These big three qualities are the foundation for the best possible 2019 for anyone who’s willing — so let’s get started!

When we can be honest about where we are in the present, we can get really clear about where we would like to go in the future. Whether unconsciously (no, I don’t mean subconsciously, I mean the state of being in a fog, on autopilot) or on purpose, we are creating our future, our lives, and impacting the lives of others with our choices; minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day.

People grossly underestimate the incredible progress that can be made by stacking tiny incremental changes in simple everyday actions. Being honest, reliable and diligent about one tiny thing and in turn building a new healthful habit because you are willing to repeat that daily, as a way of life, is huge ... everything makes a difference!

So here is your first tiny assignment: drink a large glass or bottle of water within three minutes of waking. It’s very simple — you open your eyes, you go to the restroom (eliminate), you drink your water (hydrate). People say, “Well, I’m not thirsty” or “I don’t like water” or “I don’t think of it” or “I want my coffee.” I hear all of that and reject those irrelevant excuses. I don’t “feel” like doing it either! I’d rather lie in bed all day eating chocolate eclairs, sundaes, and French fries while my house restores itself! Hello! Just do it!

For optimal health, you will start your day off with water. If you remember to set up your visual cue the night before (glass of water on the nightstand), you can even squeeze half a lemon in the water. I have a cue card with WATER on the nightstand. Non-negotiable — drink the water.

FYI: I am not reliable to always remember to bring the water from the kitchen, so I have solved that problem by putting a flat of bottled water under the bed for the occasions when I’ve forgotten — problem solved.

I kick off my day by praying, hydrating and giving my dog Grace a much appreciated good morning belly and ear rub ... then we’re off to the races. The tiny water structure has made a big difference in the way I feel. And I wish the same for you, although, you can lead a horse to water....

Good luck!

Go out there and make it a great day, and be kind to one another and to yourselves.

Marilyn McConnell is a wellness expert who, over three decades in Toronto and Chicago, has helped people with personal presentation, weight loss, longevity, organization, downsizing and related lifestyle design. She now lives in Arcadia, much closer to her immediate family/312-659-2424.

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