In my practice I have spent over thirty years listening to an array of the most sincere New Year’s resolutions, most of which have been forgotten by Valentine’s Day. I’m referring to the types of commitments that are like fad diets: unrealistically strict, rarely stick.
I, myself have fallen prey to faulty pledges. I vowed to read the “New York Times” from cover to cover each day, exercise for at least 30 minutes every day, and so on. Perhaps the biggest problem with keeping up our oaths may have more to do with the every-day theme than the promise itself. Although our busy lives don’t often allow us to keep up with such consistent commitments, it’s possible that the best approach is to resolve to just improve our faulty habits instead of trying to annihilate them.
Here are some of the resolutions you should steer clear of:
- I will never cheat on my diet. Cheat on your diet? What does that mean, anyway? If you stray from habits that will help you — then the only one that you will cheat is yourself.Excessive eating could cheat you out of better health, smaller sized clothing and a better self-image, but one rich meal or a high calorie indulgence won’t be responsible for allowing you to wear a “cheater” label. That type of black and white approach to dieting will never bring long-term success — focus on better eating, not cheating.
- I will exercise every day. This is a wonderful goal, but it may not always be possible to “exercise,” per se. You don’t need a new warm-up outfit or a gym membership to get fit — just try to do something to move your body each day. Try standing in a tree pose while cutting up veggies for dinner, or play your favorite music and dance around your house, or take your dog for a brisk walk.
- I will cook dinner every night. I would love my own TV show about how to realistically cook for a family. I adore cooking, baking, recipe development, you name it, but I don’t cook every night. The desire and ability may be there, but lack of time and overload of other commitments get in the way. There are hundreds of healthy ready-to-eat foods on your supermarket shelves that you can add to a meal that’s simple to prepare. Just remember to check food labels and watch portions.
- I will not eat after 7 PM. This sounds like a punishment more than a solution. Some of us work late hours and can’t manage to fit in dinner at a more reasonable time. If you must eat dinner late, just don’t eat a lot. The more you eat when it’s close to bedtime, the greater chance you’ll have a restless sleep and you’ll wake up wearing more calories than you were able to burn up.
- I will be in bed by 10 PM. Several studies this year have shown that a lack of sleepinvites a wealth of pounds. Although it may be hard to step away from the electronics — put down your phone, tablet, game controller and whatever else that may make you feel more wound up than calmed down.
Perhaps try to make a list of 5 of your worst eating habits and try to improve upon one habit forone week. When you nail that one, move on to another. If you attempt to “fix” everything at once, you might as well fast-forward to this day on the eve of 2017!
Remember, you don’t need a holiday or special occasion to take care of yourself. Good habits have lasting benefits all year through.
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