Ahh, January…. It is as familiar as vitamin-D deprivation, the sales on workout gear and closet organizers, and leafy green vegetables. Each year, about 50 percent of us make new year resolutions, but few of these resolutions survive through winter, let alone the rest of the year. According to the founder of the Canadian Obesity Network, Dr. Arya Sharma, one reason why so many people fail to keep their resolutions is because the goals are unrealistic.
In light of this, I tried to keep my resolutions for 2016 smaller both in number and in scope. I’d love to hear your thoughts on making resolutions and if you have set any specific goals for this year!
Make better food choices
Let’s get real—if I were to list my 50 favorite foods, brussel sprouts and quinoa wouldn’t stand a chance. So rather than forcing myself to eat these and other “good for you” foods, I’m making an effort to consume larger amounts of healthy foods that work for me. Since discovering this recipe for Tuscan Kale Salad, I’ve added the once-intimidating vegetable to my grocery list on a regular basis. Speaking of salad, I have finally come to terms with the fact that finishing a container of salad greens is strangely a lot harder than it seems. Rather than stocking up on containers of baby spinach only to rediscover them a week after the expiration date in the back of the fridge, I plan to purchase only what I need from the bulk bin at my local co-op.
Make movement a priority
The physical and mental benefits of regular exercise are so profound that a growing number of medical professionals are urging doctors to “prescribe” physical activity. However, if exercise is viewed as a chore, it’s not likely to be very enjoyable or effective. I have never been a fan of cardio machines, so I plan my gym visits to accommodate group fitness classes. As a commuter, the easiest way to get myself to the gym in the dead of winter (or frankly anytime I feel unmotivated) is to bring my sneakers along in the morning and head to class directly from work. My insurance company offers a partial membership fee credit if I meet a minimum number of gym visits each month; if you have insurance through your employer, I recommend talking to your HR department to find out if this is an option! When I’m not feeling the gym, I enjoy the same stress-relieving benefits through a bike ride with friends or a hike in a state park. Even small movements such as standing up once per hour and going for a walk on my lunch break can offer a reset for the day. Too often I find myself making excuses to stay put, so this year I am going to renew my efforts to move a little bit each day.
Get rid of what you no longer need
When I was little, I attempted to learn how to use a sewing machine. It didn’t go well. Nevertheless I have dutifully moved fabric scraps from apartment to apartment, in the faint hope that someday I’ll possess the time/patience/hand-eye coordination necessary to produce something more than a misshapen pillowcase. As I grudgingly prepare to move again this year, I’ve decided that it’s finally time to give this up and donate the fabric to someone more crafty. Periodic purges can be great for freeing up space, both physically and mentally. Is there expired Nyquil lingering in your medicine cabinet? Dispose of it safely using these tips from the FDA. Do you dread opening your inbox because of the deluge of newsletters? Unsubscribe from the ones you never read.
So how about you? What are your plans for the new year, and how are your resolutions going? Leave a comment below.