Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Ringing in the New Year Weil Style?

Most people I know - myself included - don't enjoy New Year's Eve festivities. How do you celebrate? What's your take on New Year's resolutions?

Answer (Published 12/30/2011)

I don't celebrate the change of the calendar year. My personal belief is that the New Year begins at the autumn equinox in September. The autumn equinox has been a big event in many cultures throughout the millennia, marking the time when days shorten and nights lengthen. I celebrate by planting my winter garden and thinking about the "mental seeds" I want to plant for the coming year.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging - Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet! - Everything you need to get started eating a healthful, satisfying diet is here - including eating and shopping guides, over 300 recipes, and an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid! Start your 14-day free trial now - and start eating anti-inflammatory today!

As I was growing up, I also began to get into the habit of focusing on the celebration of the winter solstice instead of Christmas or Hanukkah. Observed on December 21st or 22nd, the winter solstice marks the year's shortest day and longest night, and seems a natural time to gather with friends, have a big fire, eat, tell stories, and greet the coming of a new season of light.

New Year's Eve just doesn't have much significance for me. Often, I don't even stay up until midnight on December 31st. I'm not surprised to hear that you - and many of the people you know - don't enjoy the social activities that surround it. The celebrations sometimes seem forced or nothing more than one last obligatory holiday indulgence before normal routine returns and everyone goes back to work or school with a few more pounds and a few less dollars than they had when the holiday season began. In the end, the biggest change is simply the date.

Other cultures take the New Year a lot more seriously than we do, and approach their celebrations in a more responsible, constructive way. For the Japanese, New Year's Day is the year's most important holiday. Businesses shut down from January 1st to the 3rd. The Japanese clean their houses thoroughly in preparation for the day, visit friends, shrines, and temples, and eat special foods. January 1st is regarded as a very auspicious day, best started by viewing the first sunrise of the year. It is traditionally believed to be representative of the entire year to come. The day is supposed be full of joy and free of stress and anger.

As far as New Year's resolutions are concerned, they're fine as long as they aren't too global and unrealistic. I'm in favor of anything that prompts positive change, but you'll have a better chance of sticking with them if you set attainable goals. Focus on walking a mile, not running a marathon. Set a goal of losing five pounds, not 50. You can always raise the bar when you've achieved your first goal.

Happy New Year!

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here