A Sweet Year

By Shani Petroff

The Jewish holidays always make me reflect on the past year. Over Rosh Hashanah I saw familiar faces, friends, and family, and it was a reminder of all that I have.

Sometimes, more often than I would like, my mind wanders to the things that are missing. The things that I want and haven’t gotten. Sometimes, it’s a constructive tool. An incentive to work harder, to focus, to go after my goals. But other times it doesn’t do anything but put me in a bad mood. It doesn’t help anything or anyone.

So, I’m trying to start fresh, to go forward with a positive attitude. Here are a few ways I’m putting that in motion.

Be thankful for those in my life: My mom, brother, sister-in-law, niece, nephew, extended family, friends, the guy I’m dating, co-workers, and the Weight Watchers community are all people who put a smile on my face. I just need to think about them and how lucky I am, to realize I have nothing to complain about!

Expect the best: It’s easy after a bad eating week to think the weight will never come off, or to believe after a disappointing relationship that the right person will never show up. But instead of feeling like “it’ll never happen,” flipping the script to “of course it will” has an amazing effect. You start to believe it. And you start taking action. If I know I can lose the weight, I start eating better. If I expect the best in my love life, then I make more of an effort to open my heart. So, I’m trying to picture the things I truly want, the goals that are important, as if they are set in stone. Just like I know my electric bill will come every month, I’m going to know I can do whatever I put my mind to.

Spread kindness: Being kind is contagious, and it makes me feel good. It can be as simple as smiling or extending a compliment to something bigger, such as helping a friend move or volunteering. There are days when I’m grumpy, and don’t feel like talking to anyone, but it’s those days that I feel it’s even more important to put this rule to the test. If someone comes up and talks to me, I don’t want to pass on negative energy. I want to make someone’s day brighter. I know when people are friendly to me, it always puts me in better spirits.

Appreciate what I have: My friend wishes she could have bought her dream apartment. I wish I could afford to buy the one she’s in now. And I’m sure there are people who would want the apartment I rent. Everything is relative. But me being jealous of my friend isn’t productive. Instead, I’m trying to really appreciate all that I do have. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook how fortunate it is to have a place to sleep, running water, food. The hurricanes were my most recent reminder of not taking what I have for granted — and that it’s important to do what I can to help others.

Put aside for charity: I find if I put aside a little money each week, it really adds up — and yet I’m not feeling the cost all at once. And I really like being able to give back.

I wish everybody a sweet, happy, healthy year. You can find me on Connect @shani!

Read more Shani Weighs In