Happy New Year! We are entering the Chinese New Year. The Year of the Snake officially began on February 10th. Celebrations across the country and the world have ushered in both a new era and the special qualities its banner animal brings.

In the Chinese tradition, each year is dedicated to one of twelve specific animals: Dragon, Horse, Monkey, Rat, Boar, Rabbit, Dog, Rooster, Ox, Tiger, Snake, and Ram. Each of these animals is thought to bestow its characteristics specifically on the people born in that year but also on the year in general.

The Year of the Dragon--that is, 2012--was characterized by excitement, unpredictability, exhilaration, and intensity. In contrast, the ancients tell us that 2013 will be marked by wisdom, gracefulness, health, and good fortune.

Known to be introspective, insightful, mysterious, charismatic, and elegant, those born under the Snake may appear quiet, even tempered, and sympathetic. Beneath that calm exterior, though, they might also be described as intense, easily stressed, suspicious, calculating, and overly independent. Luckily for all of us, the Year of the Snake is characterized by an especially good outlook in the areas of health and relationship.

What does all this mean for you? In your professional life, perhaps 2013 will be a time when you think through your financial decisions carefully before taking action. Since the Snake presents signs of luck in your personal and love life, you might want to find ways to make new connections as well as deepen the relationships that you currently share.

And if you embrace it, this year may prove even more promising in terms of wellness. I challenge you to channel those Snake characteristics into healthful habits. Are there changes you've been considering but putting off? Perhaps 2013 presents a unique opportunity for you to seize greater health--and improvements in all areas of your life.

Here are ten things you can do to forge your path to wellbeing in 2013. Even if you only pick a few, you can expect remarkable benefits.

1) Shed grudges and old hurts from the past.

2) Commit to making time for exercise.

3) Get more restorative rest.

4) Take control of poor diet. Think nutritious food is boring? Think again! Here's a delicious recipe shared by my associate and friend Marti Wolfson.

Roasted Garlic, White Bean, and Rosemary Dip

Makes 2 cups

1 head garlic
1 T. rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
2 T. parsley
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
3 to 4 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. balsamic vinegar
2 cups cooked cannellini beans
1/4 cup EVOO
salt and black pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut off the stem of the garlic head to expose the very top of the cloves, leaving the head intact. Place the garlic on aluminum foil, drizzle with a few tablespoons of water, and wrap it up. Place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes until soft and tender. Let it cool for a few minutes.

Free the roasted garlic from its skin and place in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add rosemary, parsley, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, beans, and olive oil, and puree until smooth. Taste the dip and season with salt and pepper.

5) Find new methods to alleviate stress. Acupuncture, for example, is a wonderfully balancing modality--and perfectly in keeping with ancient Chinese wisdom.

6) Tackle detrimental habits such as smoking.

7) Embark on a liver cleanse to cast off toxins.

8) Become less secretive and more available emotionally to facilitate your connection to others.

9) Take measures to stay calm through stressful moments.

10) Visit a practitioner who can help you address persistent pain and other recurring problems.

Give in to that voice inside that says, "This is the year I am going to be in better control of my health and wellbeing." Assuming responsibility for your own wellness presents a big challenge, but it's unquestionably worth the effort.

May the Snake drive you to greater wellness!

Author's Bio: 

Roberta Roberts Mittman, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., M.S., is a nutritional and lifestyle consultant, holistic mindset mentor, and nationally board-certified acupuncturist. Using natural, drug-free techniques, Roberta opens the door to complete mind-body health. Roberta believes in empowering individuals to be their own best healers. Ready to take that step? Call 212-686-0939, or visit online at RobertaMittman.com.