Mind & Body

New Year’s resolutions are kind of like the tableware at Greek weddings ... they’re just waiting to be broken. If you haven’t already made and unmade most of yours for 1998, take a minute to consider what a few easy changes can do for your physical and mental well-being in an ever more stressful world.

  • Take care of yourself. This may sound too simplistic, but in the rush to be everything to everyone, we often forget to take care of our most prized possession -- ourselves. Being selfless will certainly score you points at work (if you have a boss who notices), and it will probably endear you to friends and colleagues alike. What it will not do, though, is help you develop as a complete person. Consider your personal energy as a bank account. To keep your account "in the black", you must at least match your deposits to your withdrawals. Witdrawing energy to take care of others’ problems can well lead to a painful overdraft if you fail to care for your own needs. If you are a person who thrives on chipping in with every project that rolls around, make a point of letting

    someone do something nice for you on a regular basis. Remember, it is often easier to give than receive. Make an effort this year to learn how to be a good "getter."

  • Learn to laugh -- even when it hurts. It may be an overworked quip, but laughter is truly the best medicine sometimes. Even as far back as the Old Testament, the writer of Proverbs 17:22 knew the value of mirth and humor when he wrote, "A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones." Life is a serious business, but it isn’t any good without a hearty laugh now

    and then. The person who learns to laugh at his or her own little mistakes is well on the way to a healthier life. So, the next time you err and feel like cursing the gods, step back for a moment, consider what you have just done in the context of history, and just laugh.

  • Get physical. All the work, learning and knowledge in the world won’t be much help if your physical condition is bad. Just knowing what you should be doing to improve your fitness is not enough. You have to actually do that first, and most difficult, weight lifting maneuver -- getting your behind off the sofa.

    Though health clubs and infomercials promise miracle "cures" for just dollars a month, there is no substitute for sweat. And don’t think that a few minutes a few days a week is enough. Physical fitness is an attainable goal for the vast majority of Americans. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on equipment or experts, but you do have to achieve one thing -- consistency. By committing yourself to at least 30 minutes of aerobic and weight-bearing exercise four days a week, you can bank on not only feeling better, but also performing better at work.

    The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions. Make it your goal in ‘98 to take a detour from this road and sample the good things that come from laughter, sweat and concern for self.

    Next time: A simple approach to personal fitness.