New Year, New You: How to make a change in 2008

January follows December every year, so you’d think we would all catch on that the excesses of the holidays might just come back to bite us once the parties with family and friends are over and the seasonal and beloved foods, cookies, cakes, candy and more are all consumed.

Well, actually, if your house is anything like mine, you may still have some lingering goodies begging to be eaten and a few decorations hanging around that didn’t make it into the first boxes tossed back into the attic.

No matter. It’s still a new year, and it’s only natural that we all take stock of our lives and ourselves at this time. So shall we all agree to throw out whatever calorie-laden things remain within reaching distance, scour our homes for the last vestiges of 2007 and tuck them into storage boxes or trash bins, and move on to the next logical step: healthier living, through the many opportunities available in this area.

One approach to finding new ideas for self-improvement is to visit your local bookstore and browse around. I made a visit to Oblong Books and Music in Millerton, N.Y., where owner Dick Hermans steered me toward shelves laden with books giving advice and ideas for new approaches to life.

"There’s always a spurt of publishing this time of year," Hermans said. "These books come out the day after Christmas. There’s a short little time when people are reflecting on how to be better."

When I expressed the sense that I was already beginning to leave that feeling behind, he noted with a smile, "It’s not too late. There’s still 95 percent of the year left."

He persuaded me. Looking through the choices, there really was something for everyone, from "Secrets of Self-Healing," by Dr. Maoshing Ni, to "Good Calories, Bad Calories," by Gary Taubes, to "Ageless," by Suzanne Somers, the "Sonoma Diet Cookbook," "21 Pounds in 21 days," "Magic Foods" (who could resist?), the "South Beach Diet" (classic), "Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution" (really?) and the "No Fad Diet," a real no-nonsense approach to healthful eating from the American Heart Association.

"You could probably find plenty of inspiration just from our local authors," Hermans said, pointing out several books, including a new book by Salisbury’s own Dr. Peter H. Gott (who writes a weekly column that is published in our newspapers), a companion piece to his "No Flour, No Sugar Diet Book." It’s called "The No Flour, No Sugar Cookbook" and was published just in time for the new year’s resolutions of the buying public.

Also, "Younger Next Year," by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D., (who have ties to Salisbury), and the "Younger Next Year Journal" have a companion, "Younger Next Year for Women." That’s the one I picked up.

Part one of "Younger Next Year for Women" is titled "Take Charge of Your Body." Part two is "Take Charge of Your Life," and a last chapter is titled, "Relentless Optimism." I know I’ll find some good inspiration here.

Stop by your local bookstore, and also take a look at all the uplifting services offered by the advertisers in this section, and see what inspires you this year. After all, 2008 is still young.

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