Taking Action in the New Year

Bringing creativity to your goals and commitments

Posted Jan 04, 2012

Aloha and Happy New Year! In this post I want to discuss two ideas: the health value of forgiveness, and the importance of flexibility and creativity in meeting your goals. Let's start with goals, since it is the New Year and lots of you, like me, are probably working out and trying to eat right to meet your fitness goals.

I got a very nice thank you note last month from a student asking me about a visualization I did while working out on a treadmill. The student wanted to know if visualizations such as this were something I do consciously or as part of the Huna techniques I live and teach.

Most of us have experienced very intense exercise where we are 100 percent focused on our workout. Recently I was working out and I had this experience of being totally in the moment, visualizing a healthy heart, the fat cells liquefying and coming out in the form of sweat.

I noticed this visualization improved my overall workout experience from a cardiovascular perspective. I was able to do this visualization because I was totally focused on the workout, as opposed to say, watching TV or talking on a cell phone while exercising.

When setting a goal, I always teach that you have to let go of preconceived ideas and achieve your goal however it is you achieve it. For instance, you might say I want to be able to run three miles in under 30 minutes by May 1st. Then while you are on the path you take certain steps toward your goal. It might be running on a treadmill or spinning or working out on the elliptical machines at the gym.

For me there is no conflict between these two ideas. You set a goal, you put it out there and then you let it go, while at the same time remaining ever conscious of what you want to achieve. That doesn't mean forgetting about it, but rather saying to yourself, however it happens, it happens. Practicing this helped me to lose 75 pounds.

So remember as you work toward your goals:
• Let go and enjoy the ride.
• While on the path, take the steps you need toward your goal.
• Remain conscious while you take those steps.

If you want to hear more on this topic, visit my audio blog on YouTube:


Have you heard that January is "Self-Love Month"? Some sources also consider February "Love Yourself Month." Either way, it's a good time to think about the relationship between loving yourself and forgiving others.

Fellow Psychology Today blogger Dr. Mark Banschick, MD, recently wrote a post about forgiveness. In his blog The Intelligent Divorce, he writes: "first, you have to acknowledge that you have to forgive. It is important to your psychological health. Carrying old wounds is simply a burden that steals the pleasure from the life that you have now."

To this I would add forgiving others is the ultimate act of self-love. Many times people will say "I am not going to forgive him or her" as if they are doing something to the other person. The reality is by withholding forgiveness, the only person you are hurting is yourself. Holding onto unforgiveness affects you physically, emotionally and neurologically because it harms you spiritually.

On the other hand, making the conscious choice to forgive someone you feel has wronged you is one of the best things you can do for your health. Why? For one thing, when you decide to forgive you are making a choice to be generous. That empowers you to feel more positive and happy, which has long-term benefits for your health.

Last year, Science Daily reported that a review of more than 160 studies found "clear and compelling evidence" that happy people live longer and experience better health than unhappy people. The study, in the journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, is the latest and most comprehensive review to date of the evidence linking happiness to health.

So the next time you find yourself needing to forgive, remember you aren't doing it for the other person, but for yourself. Choose to forgive and love yourself in the New Year!

Got questions? Please respond here or get in touch with me through my Facebook fan page.



Matthew B. James, MA, Ph.D., is President of Kona University and its training and seminar division The Empowerment Partnership, where he serves as a master trainer of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), a practical behavioral technology for helping people achieve their desired results in life. His new book, The Foundation of Huna: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times, details forgiveness and meditation techniques used in Hawaii for hundreds of years. He carries on the lineage of one of the last practicing kahuna of mental health and wellbeing. To reach Dr. James, please e-mail him at info@Huna.com.