By KRS Edstrom, M.S.




Dear KRS:
Every year I make bold New Year’s Resolutions with every good intention. I have always followed the thinking that if I set my goals a little higher than what I believe I can attain, I will surprise myself and do more. Unfortunately, my only surprise each year is that I usually don’t even make it to February without letting my goals slide. I don’t want to fail again. What do you suggest?
                      New Year’s Resolution Failure

Dear New Resolutions:
Don’t feel bad — you are not alone. Over 70% of us keep our New Year’s Resolutions a mere seven days!

One of the most important elements of successful resolution making is, contrary to popular opinion, to set your goals LESS than what you think you should. Set them so that you know you will be comfortable living with them without Herculean effort. Your surprise will be, come the first of February, that you are still doing them. Then, approximately once a month, you can gently “raise the bar” a bit on your goals IF you feel you can handle a bit more. If not, you are still a winner since you are doing more than you were before. Such mental tactics can make or break a fitness program, a career, or a life and are worth taking the time to cultivate.

Think of your New Year’s resolutions as an ongoing, evolutionary journey of your inner, as well as outer self. Accept that it will have ups, downs and plateaus. It is to be expected and is all part of the process. If you look at the financial graphs of any successful business you will see this same pattern. The indicator line doesn’t just shoot straight upward. It goes up for a while then it jogs down some, then up again and so forth. But the overall picture is upward progress — success. Maintain that image of your own resolution progress.

Dear KRS:
I’m a 37-year-old business owner, single and am happy with what I’ve achieved thus far in my career on a material level. However, I am disheartened that at this age and stage of my life, inner peace is a distant concept instead of a reality. My success is difficult to enjoy because I’m usually stressed. Basically, I have “bitten the bullet” over the years, ignoring the tension and frequently working 10-hour days. The older I get, the harder it is to ignore. More importantly, I no longer want to ignore it. How can I decrease stress and increase the quality of my life on a daily basis?
        Stressed from Success

Dear Stressed from Success:
Most people go to their graves never stopping to reflect on the quality of their lives. They are so busy keeping the hamster wheel going that they don’t see they are even on one. The good news is that by bringing awareness into your days, your “hamster wheel” can be experienced in a new way that actually transforms the wheel into a challenging but fascinating road with lots of rewarding forks. Congratulations on seeking quality in your life. Two simple suggestions towards achieving it:

1. Pause regularly throughout the day for a “be in the moment” check (10-60 seconds). Look around you and really absorb where you are and what you are doing — in this town, in this building, in this room, holding this file. Even if it’s unpleasant, be still with it and relax into it. Let your shoulders drop, your face muscles soften. Eventually you’ll learn to recognize the beginning stages of stress so it doesn’t have to get to the grinding-your-teeth-at-night stage. Put a “Be in the Moment” sign or reminder on your desk that will bring you to a stop throughout the day.

2. Reinvent your time for YOU. There’s a whole world of people, places and things, not to mention spending time alone, that’s passing you by. Start by going home on time. Life doesn’t have to be a constant emergency. Besides, statistics say little is accomplished in those extra hours workaholics log.

Dear KRS:
I’m slim, but have never had a flat stomach. I work all day and don’t have time (or desire) to go to the gym. I do sit-ups but they don’t seem to be of much help. How can I get flat abs?
            Want Flat Abs

Dear Want Flat Abs:
From my experience and observation, sit-ups are a great way to build a nice hard ROUND stomach. I find a lot of fault with sit-ups, which I realize borders on sacrilege since sit-ups are practically a part of our national culture.

Look at your stomach or someone else’s when you/she does a sit-up. Notice that it actually goes OUT during the exercise. It may be getting stronger but you’re actually building it, like you would your biceps. The difference is you want your biceps to bulge; you don’t want your stomach to bulge. Right? Also, sit-ups put a strain on your neck.

Here is a safe, convenient and effective exercise for flat abs that can be done at your desk, in your car, waiting in line, or almost anywhere. This exercise is isometric in nature, meaning that you tense only a certain set of muscles at a time:

Simply “pull in” your stomach and hold it as tightly as you can, then release it and repeat. Be sure to keep your breathing as natural as possible and don’t tighten other parts of your body, such as your shoulders or chest. The exercise can be done either slowly, holding the contraction for several seconds or faster, contracting every second. Do it to music and it will keep you going longer than you normally would. Start with a few minutes and work up to 5 or even 10 minutes, 3 or 4 times a week.

Establish an exact time you are committing to this exercise, such as when driving to work. As your muscles get stronger, add more  “mileage” to your routine.

KRS Edstrom, M.S., is an author, lecturer and columnist. She is available for private sessions (by phone or in person) and seminars on meditation, motivation, stress, pain, weight loss and other personal growth issues. Her books and audios, offer solutions for healthful, conscious living. For free soothing guided meditations and more, please visit KRS’ “Serenity and Meditation Corner” at  For more information call (323) 851-8623 or e-mail:  

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