01/22/2014 12:49 pm ET Updated Mar 24, 2014

Galaxy of Gratitude

If you've read Connect To Your One, you know that connect has been my One Word since Nalini Method was conceived, and in 2014, we hope it can have meaning for you too. When making New Year's resolutions, so many people focus only on physical exercise, leaving their minds and emotions out of their goals. Of course, as a fitness business, we love hearing about any steps toward a healthier you, but this year, we invite you to use your resolutions to connect to your mind, body, and to the world around you. Sound like too big of a task? Keep it simple; just start by thinking of you and your friends. They're your network, your personal connections, and in some cases, a second family. Taking the time to be thankful for the special people in your life and to acknowledge how and why you connect to those around you is a terrific way to start your new year.

At the start of each year (and other times throughout!), I do something called a "galaxy of gratitude." In it, I start by drawing my own personal Sun and label it with something meaningful to me -- a person, a goal, an activity, or my One Word! -- from there, I extend at least four sunbeams that connect to other stars (or planets if you really want to get crafty!). Each of those stars represents one element (person, place, or thing) that helps make my Sun possible. It goes on and on from there, as each of those stars has extensions, until my page is covered with a beautiful array of beams, stars, and words that inspire me, have meaning to me, and in big ways or small, are things I have gratitude for.

This year, my "Sun" was friendship and really thinking about my relationships and connections made me value them in some profound ways. Reflecting on how my friendships are more than just people, representing characteristics that come to the surface within me and vice versa, makes me appreciate them in new ways. The "galaxy of gratitude" is a fun way to explore the various connections we have in our lives. You can uncover more than you'd think about your close connections. My friend Laurie for example? She's my energy girl; she makes me want to "go go go!" and party. She connects me to freedom. Sam? Sam's my trendsetter. He's always keeping me in the loop, exposing me to cool things, and is so "in the now." Sam connects me to youth. Andria's my voice of reason; she keeps me settled, grounded, rational. Andria connects me to wisdom. Who are your "go girls" and "trendsetters"? Maybe you don't know yet!

In New York City, we meet people all the time: in line at Trader Joe's, on the subway, at a bar, etc. The connections grow and grow. One afternoon, while I was waiting for an appointment, I got to chatting with a kind old soul for a time, and she said to a fragile me: "Honey, you're an outlet; you've got to be careful who plugs into you." Needless to say, it stuck with me. And I'm not saying to go draw a colorful "galaxy" to assess your relationship with every person you know. I just want to endorse the power of gratitude for those who give your life meaning, and when you discover the ways they affect you, I encourage you to think about what you bring to their table. Are you someone's "voice of reason," or maybe you're more of the "big sister." When you know what charge you're accepting and what people are plugging into, you have the power to either amp up, or unplug. And with that power comes the opportunity to live your lightest, most connected year yet.

What's the Sun in your galaxy? Do you think you are or contribute to someone else's? In 2014, make a commitment to yourself and to your friends to connect with each other and to make healthy choices for your mind, body, and relationships. In the short term, even sharing your resolutions with your friends is a step in the right direction. When everyone's in tune with each other's goals, you build a stronger unit, which can fuel you as an individual.