Happy New Year friends! As we are just three days into 2017, many of us may still be pondering goals and resolutions for the year. Health is often at the top of the list, yet so many times we sabotage our goals by our thinking and expectations. As we pray about and plan for good stewardship of our bodies this year, here are four new ways to think before you ever take the first action step:

Idea One: we can only deal with one change at a time.

It’s just the way most people grow and learn. We tend to make lasting changes if we pick one thing and allow ourselves to adapt to it, rather than completely overhauling everything at once. So, if you think you need to: eat more vegetables, drink more water, cut out fast food and exercise 3 times a week- as slow as it feels, just pick one to begin with. Let your life and schedule and brain adapt to it. Let it become “normal” before you move on.

Idea Two: quit making it a moral issue.

This is where I could risk stepping on toes, but I’m going there anyway. Unless it is a command of God’s, we have a personal choice to evaluate and decide what we believe works best for our life. God never says “thou shalt avoid gluten” or “thou shalt exercise daily.” Do you know where legalism comes from? It comes from taking a principal of God (like modesty, generosity, stewardship) and creating rules about how to live out that principal. I can’t tell you how you should best steward your health any more than you can tell me about mine. I know you need to consider that question, as do I. But I may come to a different conclusion than you, or mainstream media or my doctor or my natural health inclined friend.

Idea Three: start with either- your most troubling area OR the one that sounds the easiest.

This speaks to motivation. Depending on personality, you may be motivated more by attacking the area of your health that causes the most stress. (In my life this was my lack of energy for several years. I needed to have this problem resolved, so I was willing to hit the gym at 5:15am for months to get into an exercise groove.) On the flip side, you may be more motivated by attacking the thing that feels easiest to start with. Sort of the dip-your-big-toe-in-the-pool approach. So maybe you think, I need to exercise, drink water and quit consuming large amounts of bacon. Pick the one that sounds the least difficult. (Water obviously. Bacon is delicious, and exercise is hard.) Once you have some success and your water intake is up, you can move on to cutting back on pig.

Idea Four: use common sense.

The internet is full, I mean FULL, of information. Some of it is good, some of it nonsense. Be cautious and be aware. Listen to those whom you respect and who are generally very healthy people. Some things just make good sense- eat real food with as little chemicals as possible, overall. Move your body regularly. Sleep every night. Drink a lot of water. Get variety in your diet. Get some fresh air and sunshine. Practice gratitude by thanking God for your body and how it allows you to serve Him, your family and others. Allow times for both feasting and fasting in your life, as both have value. (I feast from Thanksgiving till New Years! Then I fast, till my pants fit properly.)