Happy New Year, everyone!
I came across an amusing story over the weekend: about health-club employees preparing for an onslaught of new members . Gyms experience this spike in business every January 1, as sure as the ball dropping in Times Square.
"They're banging on the machines," the new guys are, says Mike Sponseller. "It's like watching '2001: A Space Odyssey,' " the scene where the ape uses a bone as a club, only instead of discovering a use for tools, the newbies are trying to figure out how to turn on a StairMaster.
Are you a maker of New Year's resolutions? Years of experience have conditioned me not to make them -- not to set myself up for disappointment. A wise person I know preaches that one should set goals, specific and measurable, rather than make resolutions. "Get healthier" or "Start an exercise program" is too big and diffuse. "Walk one mile a day" is a better mission to commit oneself to.
In any case, many folks are renewing their commitment to health and wholeness this week. Also, Spirited Life is starting in earnest with our first three retreats this month. So in the New Year's spirit, here are some items from around the Web that may enlighten or inspire us.
- The Raleigh News & Observer is the middle of a series on obesity and diabetes. The series has the unfortunate title "Frontiers of Fat,"  but the articles are good, including a Joe Miller piece on tips for heathier living , and a slideshow of weight-loss success stories .
- "A Sustainable Life"  is the title of a suite of articles in last Sunday's New York Times. I love the idea of a wallet that gets harder to open  as your account balance gets lower. There are tips for healthy time-efficient cooking  and what makes a mutually enriching marriage . Also (this is tongue-in-cheek, I'm almost positive), here's a way to combine our environmental consciousness with a healthier diet: by resolving to eat only invasive species . Like, does anybody know a good kudzu recipe?
- Matthew Yglesias is a blogger who writes mostly about politics and public policy, but he posted this week about his achieving a 70-pound weight loss  in 2010. He has some astute advice for those who wish to follow in his (progressively lighter) footsteps.
John James, M.A.
Research Analyst, Clergy Health Initiative