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Take time to get to know yourself

Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present. -- Bil Keane

2013 is finally here. Tomorrow, we begin a new year with new promise and resolve. Many of us will begin this year dedicated to our New Year's resolution(s).

Some of us will have a renewed interest in a better diet, exercise or both. When it comes to New Year's resolutions and the possible positive change I say, "Why not?" Many of us hear of these resolutions and their probable disbandment within the first few weeks or months after their initiation.

However, I wouldn't discourage anyone trying to improve their lifestyle. Increasing exercise, improvement of a balanced diet, rededication to family events and other positive changes can and usually do provide an improved outlook on life itself.

I consider the month of January a great time for introspection as well as a rededication to self-discovery. How many times have you asked yourself, "What would I like to accomplish this year? What would I like to see during this coming year?"

Sometimes we can go an awful long time and not ask ourselves these simple questions. With our fast-paced lifestyle, it is easy to become complacent or even unaware of what our own needs are. For lack of better words, a form of "self-neglect" might occur.

Many of us can go a long time without taking time for ourselves. Addressing our own needs not only helps ourselves but can also provide us emotional and physical strength to help others. Consider making a simple list of your thoughts for the New Year.

If you haven't participated in this type of self-discovery exercise, you might find it quite difficult at first. But, with time, I believe you will come up with several great ideas for your 2013. Sometimes it helps to write out your initial thoughts and feelings for the upcoming year. Your ideas and goals for the next 12 months also can be broken down to family, profession, friends and any other category that might be of concern to you.

Again, this is really an exercise in self-discovery as well as introspection. It's as easy as grabbing a pen and paper and writing down your thoughts and ideas.

If you feel compelled to discuss your findings with family, friends or both, please feel free to do so. However, remember the objectives you have listed are your goals. If you choose to share with others your thoughts and feelings toward the oncoming year, remember that some of your goals might not be shared by everyone in your life. That's OK. Just remember this is an exercise that is centered on one investment: you.

After you have completed your self-discovery exercise, consider what your role will be to achieve your listed objectives. Sometimes setting a timeline can help you stay on task for the oncoming year.

Throughout the year as you complete your objectives, make sure to enjoy the success.

When you meet one or more of your objectives, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back and continue onward. You will quickly notice that you can accomplish your goals and have wonderful experiences when you map out your trail for success.

If one or more of your initial goals remain unmet, don't get discouraged. Throughout the year, many of us need to re-evaluate our goals and make adjustments. As they say, "The only constant in life is change."

Just remember life is a journey. It can be easy at times to forget it's the journey of life that should be focused on instead of the destination.

The New Year has almost arrived. Begin this year finding out what is important to you. It can be surprisingly easy to suffer from self-neglect while consistently helping others around us. However, the opportunity of self-discovery and rededication to oneself is always close at hand. What do you want for yourself and your family this year? What goals do you want to accomplish within the next twelve months?

This January, make it a point to get in tune with yourself and rediscover what makes you, you!

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me." -- Erma Bombeck

Dr. Charles Weintz, formerly of Hays, is the author of "Healthy Headlines." He is a family physician at Stanton County Family Practice.