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Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

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How about a little optimism?

I’ve added morning sun salutations to my daily exercise regimen. I’m not saying I’ve resolved to do sun salutations every day in 2012, only that I feel good when I do them, so I’m trying to make the yoga poses a bit like brushing my teeth: something I just do to start the day.

But apparently, I should expect to crash and burn. Here’s a sampling of the email subject lines that greeted me this morning:

  • “New Year’s Resolutions:  Top 5 Reasons They Fail”
  • “Why most New Year resolutions to lose weight will fail”
  • “90% of Americans Break Food-Related Resolutions”

If you’ve started the new year with a little extra motivation to treat your body and mind well, I hope you’ll ignore the negativity.

On the upside, one email I received actually included some reasonable advice, such as to have a slow, steady approach to changing habits. As the email said, “You did not gain those extra pounds overnight. You won’t lose them overnight, either.”

The email also encouraged people to focus on the positive — in other words, saying “I want to be fit and healthy” is a lot more motivating than saying “I don’t want to be fat.”

Whether you’ve made a resolution or are in a gradual process of trying to improve your health, remember this tried-and-true advice: If you fall, get back up.  Or, as Samuel Beckett said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

If you’d like a whole lot more information about sticking to resolutions and how to handle setbacks, consider visiting  http://iresolveto.typepad.com/, a site started by a local woman, Kim Simpson, that’s full of tips.

Talking to a personal trainer or life coach also might help. Getting a fitness buddy also encourages lots of people stick to their goals. Even a dog can help; on these cold days, the pooch will still want to drag you outside for at least a short walk.

Notice, also, the trend toward taking a halfway approach to lifestyle changes; eating a mostly vegan diet, for example, but not foregoing meat and dairy altogether. There’s an interesting story about that, with recipes, at nytimes.com.

And this Sunday’s Healthy Living story will delve more deeply into the benefits of vegan eating, as demonstrated by some local GEICO employees who participated in a recent study. Stay tuned.

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