Lifesaving Resolutions

“He’s dead.” The phrase I’ve read, written and heard in films many times had never before hit me with such heartache, doom or nausea—probably because I’d before never witnessed a death up close.

My husband and I were heading for our favorite hiking spot when the driver ahead of us lost control of his car, causing it to flip up in the air, hit the side of the mountain and land upside down, crushing and killing him instantly. Had my husband not had the wherewithal to keep a distance from the seemingly distracted driver, there’s little doubt that we would have been involved in the accident and faced severe injuries, if not a similar fate. This blog series is dedicated to the young man who died that day.

I’ll never forget…

If you knew that altering some of your behaviors could improve your day-to-day existence, emotional wellbeing, physical health and life expectancy, would you do it? I hope your answer is a non-hesitatory, exuberant YES! For the skeptics among you, don’t worry—there’s no “catch.” (You won’t have to sacrifice your first born or left foot in exchange.) Willingness to learn, determination and effort, however, are required. Psst! A positive attitude and sense of humor will also help. 😉

I’ve committed to the life-saving resolutions we’ll explore here throughout January. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll sign on, too.

Here’s a sneak peak at the resolutions I’ll be covering:

1. Mindful Driving: Driving is the most dangerous thing most of us will ever do, yet too many of us do so with complacency. With the help of experts, including our own Natalie Hartford, I’ll address the risks and dangers associated with driving while talking on the phone, texting or, god forbid, intoxicated and offer practical tips for improving yours and others’ safety on the road.

2. Dodging Diets: We already know that diets don’t work. But they’re so darn alluring! Holiday pounds, friends’ and celebrities’ apparent successes, eagerness for “rapid results” and diets packaged as “lifestyle plans” bring great appeal. Add to that the $45 billion-plus industry rooting against us, and sheesh. We seem like goners. But don’t worry, we’re not. I’ll soon share enjoyable and effective ways to manage your dietary wellness without the multitude of risks linked with dieting, such as obesity, depression and heart disease. (In the meantime, please chuck your scale, diet pills and manuals out the window. Ah… Doesn’t that feel GOOD?)

3. Laying Off the Smokes: Don’t smoke. Just say know. The dangers of smoking are so well touted, these phrases seem cliche. But similar to the dieting industry, the tobacco industry wants our business big time. Sadly, it continues to win. This segment will include personal stories and expert insight on ways (some revolutionary) you and your loved ones can quit or refrain from smoking for good.

4. Trusting Your Instincts: Intuition is always right in at least two crucial ways, says Gaven de Becker—the world renowned expert in fear and self-defense. And honing in on it just might save your own life. If you haven’t read de Becker’s book, The Gift of Fear, I suggest you race over to Amazon or a book store pronto. In either case, stay tuned for some of his top tips and their significance.

5. Groovy Moving. No, this isn’t some strange new dance craze or 70’s workout video. Inactivity contributes to some of the most common causes of death in North America and it’s on the rapid rise. But forcing yourself to go to the gym when your soul begs you not to won’t do much good. In fact, you’re more likely to order more pizzas to eat while watching workout videos from the couch. (I’ve only done that once.) (Okay, twice.) Fortunately for all of us non-genetically-workout-enthused, lots of effective and yes, FUN, solutions exist. Promise.

6. Healthy Sleep. Sleep deprivation isn’t just bothersome, but hazardous. Improving your sleep hygiene, on the other hand, increases your overall physical wellness and guards against accidents, obesity, emotional tumult and disease. (Whew! I’ll take it.) After decades of personal sleep challenges, I’m to share what works and what doesn’t. Some of these snooze-friendly tidbits might surprise you…

7. Pursuing Passion. Though this one’s a little less scientific, it’s arguably the most important and at the root of many common conflicts—including those aforementioned. If you haven’t yet stepped fully into passionate pursuits, I hope you’ll consider doing so yesterday. If not, baby steps are a great way to start. This segment will feature clinical research and expert insight, along with kick-butt ways to get your passion-plotting self in gear.

8. Active Gratitude. Many of us consider ourselves happy and grateful. But how often to you put it into practice? Studies have linked gratitude with heightened happiness, physical health and longevity. And you may not have heard some of the useful, most valuable ways we can practice it.

Which of these resolutions resonate with you? Which have you mastered? Which remain on your to-do list? 

Whether you’ve mastered them or not, I hope you’ll join me for fun, inspiring conversations, fabulous expert insight and the revealing of tough-to-swallow, but worthy of discussion, truths.

In the meantime, please have a safe, healthy, SPECTACULAR New Year! 🙂

Leave a comment

45 Comments

  1. Lance

     /  December 27, 2011

    all of these….I would add, making every count as opposed to making it through every day.

    I’ve gotten a jump start on 2012 by being more organized at work and home. Efficency is what I’m striving for, to be honest.

    Also, for me to reach my goals in 2012, I need to embrace what I have, not what I do not. I have put these 4 women I live with first and our relationships come before everything, including the novel I’m finishing.

    great post

    Reply
  2. great blog, August. I am a former smoker – put them down 14 years ago. but I know I’m one puff away from being a smoker so I don’t go there. And at $10 a pack, our provincial government is working hard to ensure I don’t pick them up again

    We have distracted driving laws in Alberta – fairly strict ones, I think. but that’s good. people are killed every day because of doing other things when their minds should be on the road. I’m glad for the law because it makes me safer. ditto for drunk driving. As of Jan 1 the legal limit is .08 but if you blow .05 or higher, your car will be immediately impounded because you are not safe on the road. YAY!!!!

    And I’m passionate about writing, building a platform for my fiction as well as personal growth and sharing that journey. So…those are all good.

    on the other side, however, I’ll join you as I work to release some weight and get active again. I have become a couch potato these last few months and I’m feeling it. and while i actively practice gratitude, I’m looking forward for new ways to see and feel it in my life.

    can’t wait to get started

    Reply
    • Congrats on overcoming your smoking habit, Louise. So fabulous!

      I WISH the U.S. came down harder on cell phone use and drunkenness while driving… I’m all for raising the legal driving age. (Alberta’s law enforcement has it down! :))

      I respect your passion and personal growth goals so much. Eager to support you toward these and your wellness-related goals.

      Reply
  3. Lovely post, August. These are all really good resolutions. Only one I’d add is not giving in to negative thinking, which is one I struggle with often.

    Reply
  4. Hi August. I’m sorry for the trauma you experienced. I too witnessed a very yucky automobile accident that changed me for life. My driving habits have changed drastically since my youth, When I turned 45 I really started being a lot more observant on the road and will not tailgate for anything. I was never a smoker, although I have had a cigarette or two in my lifetime. I’ve never been a dieter, but have had to change my eating habits due to some health problems. Groovy mover, yes I am. I attend zumba classes twice a week and dance every chance I get. Active gratitute, I try to find something every day for which to be thankful.

    I do need to be reminded often of how much these things affect my life so I’m looking forward to your series. Always insightful and fun posts.

    Best of luck to ou in the new year!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for your support, Patricia.Glad to hear that you’ve implemented these measures already. (No wonder you’re so darn sweet! :))

      It takes a wise person to utilize hardship, such as the accident you witnessed, in a pay-it-foward, positive way. You may never know what a great difference you’ve made in doing so.

      Reply
  5. I’m excited that someone wants to help me live better, but I’m conflicted; I want to pursue passion(#7), but at present mine are texting, smoking, getting intoxicated and long drives whilst pursuing my passions. Help me, August. Can’t wait to read the series – if I make it til then.

    Reply
    • I think you’ll need much more than me and my posts to save you, Rich! I’ll do what I can regardless. 😉 Take care (please!) and keep me posted.

      Reply
  6. All of your points are great and they should definitely find a permanent spot on anybody’s fay-to-day list.

    I always keep numbers 1, 6 and 7 on my list. These items never go away. 4 and 5 are deeply embedded in my very soul 🙂 I also strive to have a positive outlook on life, smile and always be friendly, non-judgemental and easy-going.

    Have a fabulous New 2012 Year!

    Reply
  7. Thought-provoking reminder. One late night I came around a curve in Topanga Canyon to see a car ablaze on its side, only the frame visible through the flames. It must have been burning for some time. I drove right to the fire station (this was before cell phones), but they were already pulling out. I’ll never forget the sight.

    #5 is my bugaboo and only New Year’s resolution — to really move for a little bit every day 🙂

    Reply
    • So sorry you had to see that horrifying sight, Debra. Such events certainly keep things in perspective…

      Happy to hear you plan to move more in the coming year. I’ll support in every way I can!

      Reply
  8. They all resonate with me, except for the smoking & sleeping because I don’t have issues with those. I can’t wait to see what great posts you have in the new year & how they can help me grow.

    Reply
  9. Some incidents make us see life from a different perspective. I am sorry that you had to witness such a traumatizing accident but glad that you were inspired to start this series because of it.
    Sometimes we just need to stop and process what we are doing and start again keeping in mind that some of our actions not only risk our lives but countless others too.
    Have an awesome New Year and hope you stick to your resolutions! 🙂

    Reply
  10. Thank you so much for the FAB shout out. I absolutely am IN LOVE with this series already! I can’t wait to read more and absolutely each and every one appeals and interests me. Although I am tinkering around at improving myself in each section, I have not mastered any and am looking forward to your expert tips and tricks. Woot woot – fahhhbulous darlin’!!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Natalie! Your enthusiasm and support mean oodles! May you find ample support here and elsewhere as you race with rock star success toward your goals. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Good plans, August. I’m a bit of a “goody goody” myself in these areas. Swell? Um, not so much. So yesterday I was on my way to the bank. Driving in my neighborhood, safely (I’ve been a “safe driver” according to my insurance company for more than two dozen years, i.e. no accidents or tickets or anything close), and I stopped at a traffic light, waited for traffic to clear, and then turned right on red. About half a mile down the road, a cop pulled me over. “No right on red at that intersection, Ma’am.” Wrote me a $153 ticket! Now, here’s the question: When we strive to do everything right while law-breakers all around us go scott free, how do we maintain our “follow the rules” focus?

    Reply
    • $153?! Sheesh. I feel frustrated FOR you…and can relate. Your FANTASTIC question is worthy of its own blog post and discussion.

      If I were in your shoes and the ticket erroneous, I’d fight it for the sake of principle. I hate thinking of myself and others being charged, hurt or bothered by glitches in “the system,” others’ oversights, etc. If the ticket was legit, I’d chalk it up to an annoying, expensive c’est la vie and forge on. I don’t think that one or even numerous road blocks should keep us from the GG life…IMHO. 😉 (Easier said than done, I realize.) I hope better luck continues to find you!

      Reply
  12. mgmillerbooks

     /  December 28, 2011

    OK, there’s a few of these that strike a chord with me. I will listen and learn 🙂

    Reply
  13. Super excited about this series! Can’t wait!

    Reply
  14. This is a great list and I must say I can’t wait to start reading some of the suggestions you are going to post to help us along the way. I admit to being a distracted driver, and I want to stop it!

    I’ve read Gavin de Becker, who is a genius, and I also recommend it to anyone and everyone.

    Anyway, I can’t wait to read more! These are my kind of posts!! 🙂

    Reply
    • So glad you’re giddy about this, Julie! Good for you for admitting to your distracted driving habits. Awareness and admittance are fantastic first steps toward improving.

      Thrilled you’re Gavin groupie, too! LOL He IS a genius and his philosophies are gifts themselves. I hope many of us will take seriously and share them as you do.

      Reply
  15. I look forward to this series… I find your list of behaviors helpful and insightful. Most people resolve to “lose weight” and “exercise” for the New Year, but few actually follow through because they set themselves up for failure with crash diets and super-intense (and impossible to continue) gym routines. Diet is a 4-letter word (and as a fellow goody-goody, I don’t use them often) but living a healthy lifestyle (while pursuing my passion and practicing gratitude) is a worthy goal!
    Margin (finding a space between myself and my limits) is the key to success this year and next!

    Reply
    • Well said, Jana! I love your perpetual goal of margining… Stellar idea and something I see you doing already. I look forward to hearing more of your fab insight as we forge on. 🙂

      Reply
  16. What a terrible thing for you to witness. I’m so glad your husband was a safe driver!

    Your list is amazing. Such simple things we can do everyday, but often forget ~ I like the word you used for driving ~ complacency. We get too complacent and forget to challenge ourselves. I’m looking forward to your future posts!

    Reply
    • I’m grateful, too. Thanks, Tameri! I’m touched that you dig this list and LOVE what you said here: “We get too complacent and forget to challenge ourselves.” Right on, sister-friend! 🙂 It applies not only to driving, but most aspects of life and growth.

      Reply
  17. Great list August, it sounds like a really interesting series. I’m so glad you put driving first. How people assess risk always drives me nuts (pun intended).

    People worry about flying. People worry about skiing. When a light aircraft goes down people worry about it – it makes headline news. Yet 30 to 40 THOUSAND people die on US roads every year. That’s 100 people a day, one person every 15 minutes. In the time its taken to read your blog and comment one person has probably died. But people don’t worry about that. They talk on the phone, eat food, read books, push it through lights, junctions, cut across lanes to exit when they knew all along.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that nothing else matters, there’s a risk to everything we do. It’s a matter of keeping it in perspective, but more information helps get that perspective.

    Sorry to get all serious, so here’s one last thought for a grin: more people die in bed than anywhere else. My New Year’s Resolution? I’m sleeping on the couch!

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • I can’t tell you what your insight and getting “all serious” means here, Nigel. 😉 And I couldn’t agree more. Every day I see people driving with intense, often multiple, distractions. I realize that they aren’t trying to put themselves and others in danger… But that doesn’t make matters or outcomes better. The statistics you site are powerful…and they represent sisters, friends, daughters, grandparents, husbands, wives, children… I hope you’ll share more facts and wisdom as we progress.

      And once again, you’ve made me LAUGH! *Please* tell me that that couch isn’t in an RV… Too hilarious! Glad I specified “healthy” sleep, not just more.

      Reply
  18. With my erratic sleep patterns I look forward to your advice on healthy sleep. 🙂

    I recently watched the Secret and have been implementing these thoughts of gratitude. I do it almost everyday now and I’m already feeling a difference.

    Reply
  19. I’m excited about this list, and am looking forward to the coming posts. Taking better care of myself overall is one of my ambitions for 2012. I’m not a smoker or a drinker, but I push myself too hard on too little sleep for much too long. This year I need to find a way to reduce my stress and get more sleep. Because of those two factors, I’ve been sick more this past year than ever before. I think my body is trying to send my a message, and I need to listen before I really crash.

    Reply
  20. I so relate to your sleep troubles, Nisha and Marcy! It’s a catch 22. The less we sleep the more we stress and get sick, which makes quality sleep difficult.

    Early this year I had two trips in one month and decided it was my one “rest month,” amidst an otherwise fast-paced, workaholic lifestyle. That month turned out to be my most productive financially and creativity. I rested more and wrote better. I was also much more fun to be around. LOL I’d LOVE to support you as you strive for and reach your own sleep goals.

    P.S. If it makes you feel any better, studies show that highly intelligent people tend to struggle in the snooze dept… 😉 You both fit this category for sure.

    Reply
  21. EllieAnn

     /  December 29, 2011

    Phenomenal list, all of these are so important. Some of them are bound to conflict with each other occasionally, like pursuing dreams and getting good rest (I write early morning at 5:00 am) but these are wonderful resolutions. Good post!

    Reply
  22. I love your list, August, and look forward to the series of posts on these topics. The one I’ve truly mastered is not smoking. I quit on September 15, 1996 and haven’t looked back. I never wish for one and certainly wouldn’t pay the price for a pack now. I quit just as they reached $2/pack.
    As for the others, I have a Health Challenge going on now with reard to exercise and healthy eating. Always have been a mindful driver, but there’s always room for improvement. The others I’m very good at are the sleeping and pursuing passion. No matter how good we think we are at any of these, posts like yours serve as perfect reminders and reinforce what we may already be trying to improve upon. Thanks, August!

    Reply
  23. Sounds like a great list. I look forward to read more about each item. I do half of the list (2, 3, 7, 8) regularly. But I fail miserably at 4 and 6. I need some advice, August! : )

    Reply
  1. | Write On, Jana!
  2. New Year’s Eve Prep: Sidestep the Psychopath « August McLaughlin's Blog
  3. LSR #3: Laying off the Smokes (And Other Toxic Crutches) « August McLaughlin's Blog
  4. LSR #8: Active Gratitude « August McLaughlin's Blog
  5. LSR #4: Trusting Your Instincts « August McLaughlin's Blog
  6. LSR #5: Groovy Moving « August McLaughlin's Blog
  7. LSR #7: Pursuing Passion « August McLaughlin's Blog
  8. GOF Moments: Could You Save Your Life? « August McLaughlin's Blog

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