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According to media outlets such as TV commercials and Facebook, it's time to evaluate where we are at personally and professionally so that we can decide who we want to be before the calendar officially flips to 2013!

Some of us spend at least a month eating and socializing with friends and family, catching up, sharing stories and counting our blessings, only to wake up and be reminded that maybe we have over done it...again.

Although many are focused on the new year already, my family has one more holiday gathering this Saturday. So far we’ve successfully survived five Christmas celebrations and walked away with only one fever virus! We are fortunate, blessed and usually exhausted after the sixth party, but we wouldn't have it any other way. We prepare, wrap, cook, bake and plan for each event as if it’s our one and only. Once the beloved chaos is complete, we find ourselves surrounded by great memories, thoughtful gifts and TONS of leftovers.

Does anyone else eat pie for breakfast because it's there and you don’t want it to go to waste? How about having a handful of chocolate covered pretzels and summer sausage for lunch because it’s ready and waiting for you? Why not have a little red wine for an afternoon snack since it's already been uncorked?

Most of us have already eaten enough sweet treats to gain the dreaded seven pounds over the holidays and we may even feel like we need a complete overhaul of mind, body and spirit. We now have less than a week to decide how to undo the damage we may have caused during the holiday season...or perhaps the entire year of 2012.

Yes, it's that time of year again, endless commercials for weight loss, gym memberships and home exercise equipment. January 1st is the perfect time to declare your resolutions. According to the media, we all have a lot to lose!

As a former kickboxing instructor, I firmly believe in building a strong body from the inside out. "If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live", right? The synergy of food, water and exercise have proven to be essential to a healthy body and a healthy life. Since my family is involved in several sports and activities, we are naturally active and as always, we try to focus on a healthy new year. However, instead of calculating what we might need to lose in the coming year, we’re looking at ways we can GAIN what we need in 2013.

I will work to gain a continued sense of balance in my life. It remains at the top of my priority list. A work-life balance is like winning the lottery for me. You know when you've got the right formula when the house is calm but happy and the voices are relaxed and sweet. Balance doesn't mean boring. A balanced home is full of conversations and easy laughter that lead to great memories. To strive for that smooth balance in your home is not impossible. It just requires a little love and attention and lots of flexibility.

I will work to gain time. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, so I’ve often wondered how it is that some people seem to get more accomplished. My good friend, who is a yoga instructor, reminds me to "be gentle with yourself". Sometimes it's OK to put yourself first in order to benefit your family. So I will focus on not saying yes to everyone else if it means I need to say no to myself, my husband or my boys.

In the aftermath of the tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newton, Connecticut, I was once again reminded of what really matters. Skinny jeans don't make the list and neither do washboard abs. Running a 7 minute mile or completing a set number of pull ups both seem trivial when I think of how precious our time is with our children. Be healthy, love unconditionally and work hard this next year to gain what truly matters. Only you know what that is.

A strong heart and healthy body are imperative to living your best life and I encourage you to add these to your New Year's resolutions. Both of these allow you to offer the best of yourself to those you love, but be careful not to focus too much on how much you need to "lose" this next year and forget how much you can truly gain.

Wishing you health and happiness in 2013. Happy New Year!

Jacqui Slater Lawrence

Jacqui Slater

ParentSavvy Blogger

Jacqui is all about her family. She loves being with her husband and four boys and spending time with her large extended family. Jacqui can be found multiple times a week shuttling her younger boys to soccer and cheering all of them on from the sidelines.   ...

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