January 2024 Editor's Note: New Year, New Reflections

January 2024

by stephanie toews, executive editor
“Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with hands shaking. Start with voice trembling, but start. Start and don’t stop. Start where you are, with what you have.... start.”
Ijeoma Umebinyuo

What is it about the turning of the calendar to a new year that compels us to implement changes, set goals, adopt diets, and make resolutions? While the start of a fresh year provides a beautiful opportunity for a new beginning, the truth is that there is no wrong time for positive strides and healthy choices. Every morning greets us with the chance for a fresh start, new morning mercies, and limitless possibilities. These new beginnings vary for each individual; some may find it beneficial to remove certain aspects from their constant hustle, while others may need to incorporate new habits or routines. A common desire for many is to cleanse and detox from the indulgences of the holiday season. Recognize that there are no rules or guidelines for when to embark on a journey towards positive growth and well-being. Start now; today is the day! 

I don’t gravitate towards making resolutions, as it often feels like setting myself up for failure. Instead, I prefer to dedicate some quiet time for reflection, prayer, and contemplation. One year, I committed to saying “no” more often – declining opportunities that didn’t align with my interests and avoiding overwhelming my schedule. Imagine my delight when friends told me I was decisive and discerning about extra commitments. Another year, rather than resolutions, I created a ‘less/more’ list: less gossip, more prayer, less frivolous spending, more focused savings goals; less sugar, more protein… I always select a word of the year, although it often takes me a couple of weeks into the year to solidify my choice.  

Our Embracing the Chill issue delves into the art of maximizing the winter experience at the beginning of this year. While January presents a quieter contrast to its festive predecessor, December, the winter season is only just commencing. Why not seize the opportunity to make the most of these extended chilly months by hibernating and seeking warmth indoors or going out and embracing Montana's invigorating cold-weather activities? Our feature, Making Winter Your Wonderland, provides insightful suggestions for nurturing winter wellness and dispelling those seasonal blues. For those on a journey towards healthier eating, our food feature, When Comfort & Resolve Collide, offers excellent tips for crafting nutritious twists on comfort foods. Enjoy this issue packed full of wintertime inspiration in the Big Sky State. 

As we step into 2024, I encourage you to take moments for quiet reflection, acknowledging the blessings in your life. May you find the strength to gracefully say no to the things that no longer serve you, cultivate a mindset of contentment wherever you are on your journey, and discover joy and happiness in every moment. We are all works in progress. Wishing you a year filled with growth, strength, and resilience. Happy New Year!  



Originally printed in the January 2024 issue of Simply Local Magazine

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