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Now that we have made it through the holidays, I turn to my annual goals to keep me on track. I pick a theme for the year as a reminder. It helps me stay focused.

My theme this year is fun and play.

As you might have noticed by now, I am a self care queen. We all have similar basic needs, and my health and well-being are my No. 1 priority.

My primary care is acupuncture, and I go a couple times a month. I’m noticing at my age that my body can get out of whack more easily, and I try to take care of my mind, body and spirit before I get out of balance.

Dr. Chi, my acupuncture practitioner, says happiness is No. 1. And she’s right. We all have a choice every minute of every day what thoughts we think.

It breaks down into choosing whether to be positive or negative and what kind of energy you want to create. Looking at things in a playful way — the way a child does — can keep us thinking positively most of the time, and that energy can affect others.

Not that negative thoughts are all bad. I view negative thoughts as an indicator that a need of mine is not being met. If I can identify that need and choose to do something about it, then I might notice a positive shift in my energy.

The idea that we get to choose our perceptions or thoughts might be unfamiliar. We might be taught many beliefs, but as adults we can decide whether they are still working for us.

At the end of the day, we are responsible for the beliefs we choose and the consequences of those choices. Blame is not really useful, but it is something that is easy to get trapped in.

I can blame all kinds of people and situations, but what a waste of energy. That just keeps me stuck and not making the changes I yearn for. Taking responsibility for my choices keeps me out of blame.

Even a small step in the direction I want to go in is progress. It is getting unstuck. And life is all about keeping the flow of energy moving.

This is where fun and play come in. We all have the need for it, even as adults.

As children, this comes to us naturally. If you ever forget how to have fun, just watch a baby.

Babies delight in everything. They have very few needs, and if they are all being met the result is a happy, healthy baby.

Once they are mobile, the desire to learn is insatiable. Curiosity turns a toddler into a sponge. They want to know how everything works. Sometimes by taking it apart. The need to know is big.

Bringing fun and play to everything I do makes life so much more enjoyable.

It also keeps my immune system functioning better. You might recall hearing stories of people healing some pretty serious disease by watching funny movies. Healing takes place.

I believe having most of my needs met will keep me happy and hopefully disease free.

Many things contribute to our well-being, and if you are familiar with energy-based medicine – which is thousands of years old – you know it’s much easier to move energy patterns before they get stuck in the body.

There is always plenty to worry about. That never changes. Unless I’m willing to do something about a concern it can fester into negative thinking. That helps no one. Least of all me.

Change can be challenging. I suggest taking it one baby step at a time. You can think about happy babies. They seem to be fearless. The world is their oyster and they don’t let anything stop them from the fun of learning.

If you want a reminder of what being a baby was like, you can get the film “Babies” from our library system. It’s about four babies from around the world and what life was like for them. I found it inspiring.

My goal is to bring that playful energy to all that I think, say and do. It’s a choice. It’s simple but not that easy. It is also well worth the effort.

Jo Ann Lindberg is a City of Verona resident.