Ah New Years. That time of year when we try to fix 'bad' things about ourselves and our lives. And since we believe in ourselves - we can do anything - we set the bar high. Then when life happens, or we give in to a craving we tried to cut cold-turkey, we feel like a failure.
And "life happened" to get in the way, just 2 weeks into the year 😉
I have a magic solution. It will also make you happier & healthier, and you'll look 10 years younger! Well, that last one might just be wishful thinking, or is it... ?
Set fun resolutions. That's it - make it a goal to do things you've always wanted to do for fun. Want to take more long weekend getaways? Do it, what's really stopping you? Schedule those now and then you can't back out. Been meaning to check out a few new restaurants or hot spots? DO IT! Get a puppy? Pick up painting? Go for it.
We have enough to worry about and body images to obsess about... do yourself a favor and set New Year's Resolutions that you're excited about.
For my 2017 resolutions, I'm refining one from last year, adding a new one, and repeating an old favorite.
Resolution #1: Host more dinner parties
How awesome of a New Year's Resolution is this?! Last year, I set a resolution to host 1 dinner party a month - I think I hosted 4 total, including the Bond-themed one on New Year's Eve. Do I feel guilty that I didn't do 12? Nope, instead, I am happy because of all of the fun times we had with our friends at those 4 parties. But at the end of the year, I asked myself what stopped me from having more? The answer: knowing I had to do extra cleaning ahead of time, and again after, made me slow to schedule the dinner parties.
I want to try it again this year, so I'm toying with the idea of hiring a cleaning service once a month and scheduling the parties right after (or before?) the house gets cleaned. The cost is covered by the savings from not eating out with friends or ordering overpriced drinks at a bar.
Resolution #2: Go hiking (at least) once a month
This is borrowed from a friend's resolution last year, which led us to this 13-mile hike. It's such a fun idea. Don't let this picture fool you, I plan to use the term 'hike' loosely - the idea is to get outside and to spend time with friends.
I plan to mix this up with all types of hikes. During the weekday, instead of meeting for a cup of coffee, take a walk through a cute neighborhood with a friend. When Mom visits, instead of going shopping, we can take a walk through the botanical gardens, or hike from winery to winery instead of taking a car.
On the weekends, a medium difficulty hike through a local forest or near a lake is a perfect way to spend half a day. I might even contact one of the animal shelters who let you take a dog out for a hike with you, how much fun is that?
And of course, I plan to take a few big hikes this year too. I want to return to Pinnacles park for a 'boulder' hike with friends, hike while on vacation, and find a beach for a nice long walk too.
Resolution #3: Make 1 new recipe every week
This one really focuses on what I gain, not what I lose. When I focus on cutting carbs (or insert bad thing here), I find myself wishing I had them, until it consumes me. I give in, binge on those carbs, then swear I'll get my act together this time, for real. For me, the problem has always been that pesky focus on what I can't have.
The beauty of this resolution is that it is not about cutting out carbs or sugar, or feeling guilty any time I reach for 'bad' food. Instead, it's about trying new things and having fun in the kitchen. With this approach, good things follow.
If I want to eat healthier, then I find yourself seeking out a new healthy recipe each week. Another side effect was that a lot of my new, fancy dinner recipes were set aside to be made on the weekend when I had more time - this turned into something I looked forward to. Since dinner on the weekends didn't feel like a chore, I ate out less (and ordered less takeout). Several new snack recipes replaced less healthy alternatives, like homemade fruit leather (super easy, btw) or homemade potato chips (200 calories for a whole potato's worth of chips!).
After a full year of this resolution, I had made 50 new recipes and changed the way I approached dinner. Just have a frozen pizza or some quick dinner on hand in case a recipe goes bad - it happened to me twice that first year 😉
I've been doing this resolution for 5 years now, so I guess it's just a habit instead of a resolution... but it's a favorite I wanted to share with you all.
Try a new recipe this week
It's ready in 10 minutes and perfect for the winter season. Give it a shot.
Looking back at the end of the year
With resolutions like these, I'll look back and smile. I remember all of the fun times I had and feel like I accomplished a lot in the year. Life is short, focus on what makes you happy!