Six Things to Ditch This New Year



s you reflect back on your Snapchat year in review, you may be wondering what to expect for the New Year. This past year proved to be a time of change for our country. We experienced a fluctuation between what some may consider a loss of semblance for dealing with prominent issues, while others would claim it to be a long awaited bolster in our economic infrastructure.

While uncertainty continues to persist (and when doesn’t it) for the future of our country, void of any major catastrophes, you should be poised for an extraordinary year ahead. In order to stake your claim and position yourself to accomplish your goals and take your life in the direction you envision, there are some housecleaning items that you must square away to best leverage yourself for a healthy and happy New Year!


1. Toxic Chemicals in Your Home

Set your home up for success. Don’t wait for someone to come down sick or for something to rear its ugly face and go wrong and then decide to do something about it. I live in a community that possesses a number of known chemicals in the water that are cancer-causing, which, I may add, really challenges my ability to pronounce correctly, such as bromodichloromethane, chloroform, chromium, dibromochloromethane, and a variety of trihalomethanes. It is important to know what you are consuming on a regular basis and be aware of your options for clean drinking water. I am currently researching various high quality home water filtration systems that not only remove heavy metals, asbestos, coliforms and other contaminants leached into the water, but also the above mentioned carcinogens and this is something I highly recommend you look into as well, especially if you have city-treated water. I do welcome your advice if you have recommendations for an effective system that satisfies these needs.

If you have a furnace filter, check it monthly and change it when it gets dirty. This will help extend the life of your furnace and save money on your utility bills. Choose alternatives to plastics where you can, and go glass for storage as much as possible. Try and avoid Teflon (non-stick) cookware or at least turn down the heat when cooking with these products. Non-stick cookware is made using a carcinogenic chemical known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). When you cook with a non-stick pot or pan, harmful fumes are released, especially when pans overheat, which are toxic to the body.1

Furthermore, choose furniture that doesn’t contain flame retardant chemicals that are endocrine system disruptors. To keep your home clean, avoid using mainstream cleaning supplies. You can use white vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice (to name a few) that will do the job. It’s cheap, effective, environmentally friendly and non-toxic.

2. Unhealthy Eating Habits

We all know that this is the time of year where we are coming off those family and work-related holiday parties where all the goodies from cookies to cakes and other pastries were readily available at your fingertips. It is amazing how we, as a society, are addicted to sugar in all its forms. The American Heart Association recommends a limit of 6 teaspoons a day of sugar for women and 9 teaspoons for men, yet we tip the scale by consuming between 20-24 teaspoons a day, on average.2 With all the added sugars hidden in food, we are consuming more than we ever have before in history, which experts claim is a large contributor to the obesity crisis.

In general, limit or avoid foods that contain corn syrup, corn sweeteners, and a multitude of sugar molecules ending in “ose” – such as dextrose, sucrose, maltose, glucose, fructose. Long story short, limit purchasing processed foods that come in a box and consume whole food products.

3. Toxic People

It is easy to get caught up in other people’s dramas and pulled into their quagmire of problems.  However, as American writer and political activist Charles W. Chesnutt once proclaimed, “There’s time enough, but none to spare.” Who you spend your time with and how you spend your time and focus your energy will determine your state of mind and direction of your life.

Don’t be afraid to establish healthy boundaries with others and set the record straight once and for all. Toxic people aren’t looking out for your best interests. They are motivated by their own fears and spider web of troubles and can easily draw people in and entangle them into their crises. They will give you a lot to be angry, guilty, and sad about (if you let them) and wouldn’t mind for you to jump on board their “Misery Train.”  It may not be easy to simply dismiss these people from your life, but putting up and maintaining boundaries is the first crucial step and surrounding yourself with uplifting, positive, and happy people will help you ultimately break free.

4. Negative Thinking

The beauty of a New Year is that we get to hit the refresh button all over again and refocus our mind, body, and spirit with a renewed and positive outlook on life. The only problem is that 95% of our thoughts today are exactly what they were yesterday and 80% of them are negative. My solution to that is to lay it all out in the open. Some people can clear their minds by talking it out. Others meditate, some hit the gym, while others take a walk and focus on what they are grateful for. Personally, I’ve noticed that writing down my thoughts and how I feel can be extraordinarily powerful.

My suggestion to you is to take your thoughts, both positive and negative, and write them down on paper. One at a time. Go ahead…beat yourself up, praise yourself, express any and all thoughts down on paper about anything and everything that you feel. Cut out each one separately and read it out aloud to yourself. I would do this in a private setting so you can be free to express with complete truth and expression as to how you are feeling.

After you’ve read one, place it either in the “to keep” pile or “to discard” pile. For the ones you don’t want to keep, put them in a frequently visited place in the house to serve as a constant reminder of all the good in your life. Take the ones you want to discard and tear them up, one at a time, and throw them in the garbage – to rid once and for all. Whether it be a relationship, an unfulfilled or failed goal, or someone who has wronged you, you need a sense of closure to these matters in order to truly move forward and close the door on these chapters of your life. We all do!

5. Excuses

Ah, excuses, excuses, excuses! What better means to justify why we should have that piece of cake we know is bad for us or why we can’t make it to the gym again today. Yes, I will admit…guilty as charged!  It is easy to blame someone or a situation for why you didn’t do, did do, should have, or shouldn’t have done this or that.

First off, be honest with yourself and second off, give yourself a break. Be kind to yourself and talk about what you want to accomplish, the obstacles that may get in your way, and formulate a plan to achieve your goals. If you don’t know  by now, I’m a big fan of  the paper and pencil. Writing down your goals on paper is about gaining a vision and holding yourself accountable for your actions. It also turns the obscure into something real and palpable.

6. Phone

Yeah, I know… leaving your phone behind is like “Mission Impossible” these days. Everywhere we turn these days, it seems as if someone is making a text, talking on the phone, checking the weather, reading an article, listening to music, hanging out on social media somewhere…all on our electronic gadgets.

Although phone use has pervaded into an overwhelming and exhausting portion of our daily activities, perhaps of greater concern is the effect that cell phone use has on the quality of our interactions with others. Research has shown that having electronic devices out when spending time with someone sends a nonverbal message of devaluing the person you are with, by answering the call or responding to the text. People have more meaningful conversations and report higher levels of trust and empathy when they speak with people who do not attend to their devices during the conversation.3  The moral of the story – we all know of course – is to limit time spent on social media and overall electronic use and do something that will enrich our lives and the quality of our relationships with those individuals we are actually spending time with, in person!

For a complete guide to help you and your family’s overall well-being, from all things healthy home to eating, moving, sleeping, and thinking well strategies, grab a free copy of my 25-page WHOLE LOTTA LIVING GUIDE here.

If your New Year’s goal is to regain balance, joy, and happiness in your life, all while handling life’s day-to-day responsibilities, or you know someone who is interested to take their life to greater heights this year, check out my new program “30 Days to Finding You.” I walk you through my 10-Step Personal Happiness Formula that you can apply specific to your lifestyle, starting today. Click here to learn more. 

To a Healthy, Fearless, and Fulfilling New Year!


 1. “Non-Stick Cookware Dangers: Hundreds of Scientists Issue Warning.”,

2. Sugar 101,

3. “Can You Connect with Me Now? How the Presence of Mobile Communication Technology Influences Face-to-Face Conversation Quality.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships,


  1. Thanks Doug. Always appreciate your great insights and positive motivation. Have a great and healthy New Year in 2018, your old buddy Mario

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