By Jackie Rainford Corcoran EBS Health Columnist

January encourages us to slough off last year’s debris and start fresh.

This natural flow of growth and progression helps us to continually move forward. As much as we’d like to wake up and be perfect every New Year’s Day, life keeps us coming back to the drawing board. Success is moving that needle, even if just a little bit, in the right direction day after day, and year after year—in spite of set backs.

Thanks to two of my health coaching clients introducing me to the book “It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, this January my husband and I are going to follow the Whole30 eating and drinking plan.

There’s no measuring or weighing your food or yourself—you just keep checking in with how you feel while eating whole foods and eliminating processed and refined foods. The book offers interesting and entertaining scientific support to the Whole30 program while laying out a clean and concise path on how to follow it.

My three initial motives for doing it were: I believe in it; it will improve our health; and I’d like to hold group classes on the Whole 30 in Big Sky and Bozeman in February, and must experience it firsthand.

The subsequent two editions of this column are going to be dedicated to sharing our trials and successes with you.

Although writing about this is a great accountability tool, it also brings up feelings of self-doubt, as I fear that not drinking alcohol for a month will present a great challenge to me. Two years ago, I did something called “Janopause”—where I didn’t drink alcohol for the month of January. It was challenging, but it felt like a successful accomplishment in the end. But then it was back to drinking wine at 5 p.m. each day in February.

Last year, I skipped the New Year’s resolution and instead began developing my Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG); discovering what it will take for America to become the No. 1 healthiest country in the world by 2040. In retrospect, I may have been avoiding another Janopause.

This year, I thought I was simply doing the Whole30 as a means to an end, but as I read “It Starts With Food,” the section on sugar and alcohol came up. It explained that if sugar is empty calories, alcohol is that times two. I had a moment and realized I can’t keep railing against sugar while I’m indulging in sugar times two.

You might think that’s obvious and I should have known that already, but the ability to rationalize our way out of a habit is powerful. For some reason, seeing that information about alcohol, at that particular moment, made it very real.

So step-by-step we go, moving forward in an effort to become better, stronger, smarter people year after year.

The more mental and physical health I create in my mind and body, the better my life will be and the closer we’ll get to becoming the No. 1 healthiest country in the world by 2040, one person at a time.

Happy New Year!

Look for part two of this three-part series in the Jan. 20 issue of EBS.

Jackie Rainford Corcoran is an IIN Certified Holistic Health Coach and Consultant, a public speaker and health activist. Contact her at jackie@corehealthmt.com.