Every year I make a promise to myself. Sometimes it’s for my birthday, sometimes for Christmas. I’ve never kept it. That is, until this past Christmas.

It’s been a stressful 35 years. That’s how long I can remember stress being an almost daily companion. There were reasons for it: a tough first marriage, building homes, a divorce, another (happy) marriage, adopting four children at once, depression, alcoholism, jail, death, homelessness, a successful business, a failed business, more success, more children.

Life can beat you up; even good changes can add stress. I built a wall of protection around my body. A wall 70 pounds strong.

This Christmas I made a promise to replace that wall of flesh with a better boundary. A set of boundaries, in fact–one for each situation that triggered my stress reaction. After all, it was my perception (or lack of it) that caused the problem. The solution was in how I decided to think about things.

And so my wall began to crumble in a very good way. I lost 30 pounds in two months, just by thinking differently (this is how). Acting differently followed naturally. Watch out, I’m on a roll!

(Real Age Test available at https://www.sharecare.com/static/realage-test)