February 04, 2014
With the new year, comes new resolutions. A resolution to go to the gym every morning at 5am, with new workout clothes and shoes to match. A resolution to join that vigorous pickup game at the local football field, maybe make a new friend or two. A resolution to cut out all carbs and sugars, and finally eat “healthy”. A resolution to take a pair of scissors to those credit cards, but only after purchasing all those new workout clothes, of course. As if, all of a sudden, we’re able to make a better versions of ourselves, because one midnight out of the 364 other midnights of the year grants us liability to do so.
In 2007, Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol released findings on a study of 3,000 people who set New Year's resolutions. In his study, he found that 88 percent of those who set resolutions at the beginning of the year failed, despite the fact that 52 percent of the study's participants were certain they would succeed when they set the goal. Time Magazine online reports that 60% of gym memberships purchased with the January rush go unused and attendance is usually back to normal by mid-February.
In addition to gym-going, one of the most common resolutions we make for the New Year is to improve our eating habits. Whether it be for vanity’s or biology’s sake, most of us will have spent the first couple months of the new year restricting cravings and eliminating consumption. But eventually, just like gym attendance, our eating habits will resume back to normal as the days go on. So realising this, how do we prevent a slippery slope back in time?
The answer is moderation, not elimination. Where in a few instances it’s best to say all or nothing; quitting smoking cold turkey versus weaning off one smoke at a time, or breaking up with that bad boyfriend, for example, an approach to a lifetime of healthy eating should come slowly, surely, and with mindful intention.
A healthy diet, one that is rid of refined sugars, simple carbohydrates, and processed foods, is a lifelong pursuit. For today, start with one little step forward—something as simple as not stocking Nutella in your cupboard, for example. Once that’s accomplished, bigger goals can be piled on. Eating salad rather than chips with your burger, having fresh green juice every morning instead of buttered toast, walking the long way home instead of taking the tube. The more good that is achieved, the more you’ll find yourself craving more—more of the good stuff, that is. And before you know it, 2015 will be knocking on your door, and you'll be ready to face it head on.
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