Happy New Year! After the countdown has taken place, the horns have been blown, and the cheers and greeting have been exchanged, it's time to get some rest in order to wake up refreshed on the first day of the New Year.

January 1 marks the start of a new calendar year. For many people, it's also symbolic of a new start. It represents a new year and a new chance to make changes to make the coming year better than the last.

Many people make New Year's resolutions to do a variety of things, from losing weight to volunteering more time to charities. A resolution is a simple statement that sets forth a decision or determination on a future course of action.

In fact, you might hear people say that they're resolved to turn over a new leaf in the New Year. What exactly does that mean?

In today's world, turning over a new leaf probably conjures up images of picking up a tree leaf off the ground and turning it over. How does that represent a new start, though? It doesn't! That's why we must look much farther back in time to figure out the meaning of this common phrase.

In the 16th century, people called the pages of books “leaves." Many books at that time were journals filled with blank pages that would slowly be filled over time. Turning over a new leaf thus referred to turning to a new, blank page to start anew.

Today, turning over a new leaf means making a fresh start. Many people use the phrase to refer to New Year's resolutions, in particular, since many people use a new calendar year as a good point in time to make changes in their behavior and attitude. In essence, people are turning the page to a new chapter in their lives — a chapter they hope will be better than the last!

Many New Year's resolutions focus on personal lifestyle changes that people hope will make their futures brighter and better. Some of the most popular New Year's resolutions include losing weight, eating healthier, exercising more, quitting smoking or other unhealthy behaviors, finding a better job, going back to school, saving money, paying off debt, and lowering stress levels.

Of course, you don't have to wait until a new year to make such changes. Any time you recognize that changes are necessary is a good time to turn over a new leaf. The sooner you make necessary changes, the sooner you'll see the benefits!

Some people will tell you that New Year's resolutions are meant to be broken. This is probably because statistics show that a large percentage of people do indeed fail to keep their resolutions. Don't let that discourage you, though.

There are a few steps you can take to make sure you stick to your resolutions and turn that new leaf completely over. For starters, start small. If you want to lose weight, don't set a goal of losing 25 pounds. Instead, set a realistic goal of five pounds and work toward it steadily.

Experts also recommend that you make changes slowly over time. Unhealthy behaviors don't usually appear overnight. They develop slowly over time, and the same approach to reverse them usually works best. Too much change too soon is a sure recipe for failure.

Finally, don't forget to ask for help from others. Share your struggles and your resolve to make changes. Enlist the help of others to support and encourage you. When you stumble, don't beat yourself up. Get up and get going again and you'll soon see your goal in sight!

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is really something to chew on!