Now that the holidays are over, it's time to implement those New Year's resolutions we made when we had a little too much Champagne and thought that losing 30 pounds by Easter would be a cakewalk. Or not. Last fall I spent a weekend at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA, with my friend Lori, where we engaged in a variety of activities designed to help us live the healthiest life possible. We attended a Lifemapping workshop and learned that we actually think creatively in short, quick sequences known as "brain-bursts." Our goal is to become whole-brain thinkers and problem-solvers able to access the big picture at will. We also attended a lecture on energy healing, which can relieve stress, help us face a major life issue or even make it easier to let go of grief. At a workshop on women's choices led by Dr. Karel Rose, we learned that some people are better than others at making the right choices. The secret is to cultivate "wide-awakeness" or mindfulness. "By the time we're three or four, our suitcase has been packed by people who say they love us," Rose said. "They put these metaphorical clothes into the suitcase and lock it up, but the people who pack the suitcase don't know who we are. Knowing yourself is paramount if you want to make choices that are right for you." We also attended a workshop with behavioral health therapist Eileen Lawlor to help us redefine the meaning and purpose of the second half of life. I attended a lecture that examined how diet and lifestyle can cause all kinds of illnesses and learned about the benefits of a diet rich in antioxidants.
Meals were included in our stay, and I cannot rave enough about how wonderful—and healthy—the food was. Needless to say, I was confident that I'd have no trouble at all implementing all the diet and lifestyle changes I'd made over the weekend. Still, the powers that be at Canyon Ranch know how difficult it is to maintain momentum once you go home, which is why they offer a farewell workshop called "Taking it Home," which provides helpful information designed to keep you on track. "It takes long-term practice to create lasting results," we were told. Oh, and it takes 21 days to create a new habit. The point is not to make radical changes but to ease into a new way of living. In other words, start cutting sugar out of your diet slowly, not all at once, or commit to 15 minutes of exercise every other day to start. No wonder those dramatic New Year's resolutions don't work. So here's to a happier, healthier and more prosperous new year for all of us, even if it doesn't happen overnight. —Marianne Dougherty, editor in chief, [email protected]
My friend Lori (second from left) and me (in pink) with our new best friends at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA