One of the most common new years resolutions is to lose weight, or get fit. I applaud those that set health resolutions for their bodies. However, sometimes we forget to set resolutions for our mental and spiritual health which are both equally important. Below are some ways to keep your sanity and stay focused while you are working so hard on your weight loss goals. Enjoy!

Today, in our too-fast, information-overloaded society, we've lost much of our connection to the earth, to spirit, to nature's cycles, to our own cycles. And yet, we still need things to feed us, to ground us, to give us courage and connection.

Good rituals are essential to our emotional, psychological, and spiritual health. To help reconnect us to the sacred aspects of our lives, we asked three experts on the subject to share everyday rituals that they've created or practice.
1. Welcome the DayGreeting the new day is ingrained in our collective unconscious. Many ancient cultures had some form of morning ritual, and even now most people have a pattern for starting their day, even if it's coffee from the same cafe. Jane Alexander, author of 20 books on holistic living, including "Spirit of the Home: How to Make Your Home a Sanctuary" built this ritual around the classic yoga Sun Salutation. "I like it because it gives your whole body a vibrant wake-up call," she says.

To put your mind into a positive frame and prepare your entire body for whatever stresses lie ahead.

MaterialsGrapefruit essential oil (or any uplifting aromatherapy oil).

1. Before getting out of bed, lie quietly for a few moments. Say a word of thanks for this new day, and the gift of life. Dab essential oil on a cloth that you'll use solely for this ritual, and breathe in the aroma.

2. Get up and stand in front of a mirror. Smile at yourself and affirm that this will be a good day, full of blessings, opportunities, and wonder. Say aloud, "I look forward to a wonderful day," or any affirmation with personal significance. If there are difficult meetings or decisions ahead, affirm that you will tackle these with ease: "I will take the challenges of this day in stride."

3. Face east and perform the yoga exercise Sun Salutation.

2. Share the Family MealVirtually every culture has a tradition of blessing food, cooking and eating mindfully, and giving thanks for the gift of nourishment, Alexander says.

IntentionTo create a setting for nurturing and togetherness.

MaterialsFestive table decorations, favorite foods, a candle.

1. Set a specific day and time for a weekly dinner. Every member of the family, even small children, should be in charge of contributing something -- even if it's just stirring the pot or setting the table. Focus your intention as you chop, mix, and blend.

2. Before eating, light the candle, then hold hands and acknowledge the gifts in your life. Feel free to create a special family blessing. This could take the form of a favorite short poem or saying aloud, "We thank mother earth, the sun, and rain for producing this food, the farmers for growing and harvesting it, and the cook for preparing it."

3. Eat your meal with mindfulness. Encourage silence as everyone savors the taste and texture of their food. Reflect on the long journey from farm to table, and how lucky you are to be eating such delicious, nourishing food. When the meal is finished, blow out the candle.

3. Appreciation/Gratitude Ritual
For our ancestors, gratitude was a way of life, and as a result, every aspect of life presented an occasion for celebration. Offering gratitude is a way to open yourself up to giving and receiving more blessings. Sometimes it takes a simple ceremony to put us in touch with all we do have in our lives. Make this ritual a part of each day, each month, each year -- or whenever you feel it's time to stop and give thanks.

To value and honor those you love, including yourself.

MaterialsCinnamon (essential oil with diffuser, or sticks with bowl of warm water); paper and pen.

Steps1. Pour a few drops of the cinnamon oil into a diffuser or spray bottle, or crush two cinnamon sticks into a small bowl of warm water. Allow the aroma to permeate your space.

2. Pick up a pen, sit down at your desk, and make a list of all the family members, friends, and pets that matter the most to you. 


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