Category: Featured Articles

alternative to the new year's resolution

An Alternative to the New Year’s Resolution

This is the time of year. We start hearing about them. Our friends are making them. We may be making them ourselves. What am I talking about?

New Year’s Resolutions.

Am I hearing a collective groan? If so, I’m right there with you!

One reason I’m not a fan of the stereotypical resolution at the beginning of each year is that we often set ourselves up for failure due to:

  • Unrealistic goals
  • Unachievable timeframe
  • Lack of a support system

Research shows that only nine percent of us who make resolutions feel successful in reaching our goals. When we don’t achieve what we resolved to, we often cannot see any accomplishment we may have made….just the fact that we fell short. How does this really help? It doesn’t.

In looking for a better approach to the New Year’s Resolution, I found that many creative, compassionate, intelligent people have come up with some amazing alternatives. There are better ways to improve our lives without the self-guilt that comes with falling short of the goal. I’m very excited to share these alternatives with you – and to hear back from you about the ones you like the best.


30-Day Challenge

Set a specific daily objective for a 30-day timeframe. If you are so inspired, come up with 12 different ones (one for each month of the year). The first one can be basic – like decluttering. What action would you be taking each day in January to declutter? It could be throwing away, donating or selling five items per day. At the end of the month, celebrate your accomplishment and decide if you want to take on a new challenge (or skip a month and pick back up in March).


Find Your People

Instead of committing to a new activity, commit to the people you want to spend time within your life. Make a list of who brings out the best in you. Who adds value to your day. Who makes you laugh and improves your mood? Get the list down to about five-eight people and plan how to spend more time with them. It could be monthly coffees, weekly walks in the park, weekend trips or even just regular hangouts at your place. Be intentional – and spend quality time with “your people”.


Decide What to Track Rather Than Pick a Goal

This one is very interesting to me! Instead of a goal, you’ll decide something to track in your life. It could be how you spend your money, what you eat (food log), how much you use social media…anything. The idea is to decide on your metric and what you’ll measure rather than a measurement goal. A goal may evolve out of it, but in the beginning, you focus on tracking. And perhaps the act of tracking will result in the implementation of a goal (like weight loss).


Focus on Gratitude

Practicing gratitude regularly can have an amazing impact on your life. Start by making a list of things you are grateful for, then think about why. Reflect on this list as well as what doesn’t make it on the list (that can be equally insightful). Then make a list of people you are grateful for. Write each person a note sharing why you appreciate having them in your life (without expectation of a response). Go through this exercise as often as you like throughout the year and see how good it makes you feel!


RELATED: Attitude of Gratitude


Pick a Word of the Year

Find a word to serve as the inspiration for the new year. The idea is that this single word will give you clarity and help you focus in a particular direction. To get to the word, make a list of all kinds of things you’d like to accomplish throughout the year. You should see a theme come to light that can be encapsulated in a single word: joy, relaxation, friendship, discipline, wellness, etc. Whatever it is, that word can be your guide for the new year. Make a poster for your room, write it on your bathroom mirror, buy a keychain with the word on it – then commit the year to that word!


Do an Experiment Each Week

Decide to make the new year a year of curiosity rather than difficult change. Establish weekly experiments to encourage you to step outside your comfort zone, try a new activity or discover a new passion. One week you can talk to five strangers to see what happens (new friends, new perspectives). Another week you can decide to do your exercise before work instead of after by going for a brisk walk in the morning. Another you can taste a new food each day to try to expand your diet (you may actually love Brussel sprouts and not know it!). This approach lets you try out a variety of things to decide which ones you want to keep going with. You never know what you may discover about yourself… and what you want to become a permanent habit.

In conclusion, don’t sweat the New Year’s Resolution, and please don’t think you have to do it like everyone else does! There is no one right way to make a change in the new year. Try one of these options – and be sure to let me know which ones you like!


Dr. Sharman


Resources for this article (and more good ideas not mentioned):

dry needling for pain

Dry Needling for Pain Relief: A New Tool for Your Pain Toolkit

Believing that needles can actually REDUCE one’s pain may sound far-fetched to some of you.

We don’t typically think of something we associate with getting shots as something that can reduce or remove our pain. However, dry needling is helping a lot of pain sufferers feel better – and we now offer this pain relief technique at Life Care!

With the addition of our new doctor of chiropractic, Dr. Betel Aklilu, we now have a practitioner experienced in dry needling. We sat down with Dr. A to get answers to the types of questions you might have about dry needling so we can educate our patients on the technique.


Dry needling explained

For starters, the needles are dry. The reason the needles are described as “dry” is that they do not involve injecting any type of medication into the skin. Thin, solid needles are inserted into the skin at the myofascial trigger points of muscles. Specifically, the needles penetrate the taut band of skeletal muscle located within a larger muscle group. The purpose of the needle placement is to create a relaxation response and increase range of motion within the muscle group.

Dr. A got interested in dry needling because she saw it as a simple, non-invasive yet effect way to improve pain.

“I had seen other providers use it to enhance healing of their patients, and I wanted to do the same. I have always been passionate about finding holistic, safe, effective treatments for treating pain. Dry needling is widespread in Europe and other parts of the world but it is still fairly underutilized in the United States. Dry needling therapy treats soft tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament) dysfunction and has proven remarkably effective in treating a vast number of myofascial syndromes,” shared Dr. A.

The needles used to perform dry needling are similar to acupuncture needles – but be clear, dry needling is very different than acupuncture. Acupuncturists insert needles to release endorphins and affect the nervous system, aligning a person’s “chi” or healing energy. Dry needling is really about muscles – and relieving the tightness and pain with needle placement.

“This therapy is based on palpatory findings and an understanding of anatomy, physiology, and neurology. Thus, it is a separate system of healing unrelated to the laws and philosophy of acupuncture,” said Dr. A.


Good candidates for dry needling

Certain pain conditions respond better to dry needling than others. Practitioners believe dry needling can be effective for the following conditions:

  • Neck, back and shoulder pain (i.e., whiplash, frozen shoulder)
  • Arm pain, such as tennis elbow
  • Migraine and tension headaches
  • Hip, buttock and leg pain (i.e., sciatica)
  • Muscle spasms

Dry needle therapy cannot be done on areas of open wounds or over a pacemaker. It is not recommended during high-risk pregnancies or for patients with needle phobias or genetic bleeding disorders.


Reasons to try dry needling

For starters, it has proven to decrease pain in folks who are candidates for the technique. Dr. A believes in trying it as a part of a patient’s overall treatment plan.

“When dry needle therapy is coupled with chiropractic adjustments, patients feel relief faster and their adjustments typically hold longer because we have impacted both the musculoskeletal and nervous system,” she said.

RELATED: Every New Chiropractic Patient Needs to Know This

By releasing the tightness in muscles, patients can move more freely and experience increased mobility. Dr. A, like Dr. Sharman, is always in favor of getting patients back into the activities they love as quickly as possible. Dry needling can assist in speeding up this process.

Another reason to try dry needling is that the side effects are minimal and very short term. Any achiness or fatigue from treatment only lasts about 24 hours.

As well, patients become less reliant on medication for pain control. For people looking for more natural pain solutions, dry needling should be a part of their toolkit.

Finally, dry needling is very cost-effective when you compare it to surgery or long-term medication use.

Dr. A generally asks patients to have dry needling done two to five times in span of two weeks. However, this varies depending on the patient’s condition, and Dr. A cautions that relief is not always immediate. Like any therapy, it can take time to bring about the pain relief a patient is seeking.


Is dry needling for you?

It may be. At Life Care, we’ll start with getting an accurate diagnosis for your pain condition – and see if dry needling is recommended as a part of your PAIN TOOLKIT. It won’t be for everyone, but we are thrilled that, thanks to Dr. A, we now have this as an option in our holistic approach to healing. Be sure to reach out if you want to learn more – or schedule a diagnostic appointment with Dr. A.


Dr. Sharman