As a new year rolls in, so do all of the pushes and prods to renew your life – change this, detox that, purge something else. Out with your old, broken 2018 life, and in with the new, shiny expectations for 2019! I’m not a New Year’s Resolution hater per se, but I do think that we need to rethink and redesign our sense of resolve.
According to some some sources, up to 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by February – barely enough time to break in those new running shoes. Yet we start the year with such motivation and desire. So what goes wrong? How can we do it better?
Evolution Instead of Resolution
The word “resolution” has two different definitions:
- A firm decision to do or not to do something.
- The action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.
The first definition fits our classic idea of a New Year’s Resolution. No more sugar! No more debt! Exercise every day! And while these intentions are valiant and respectable, they typically end in disappointment, frustration, and self-loathing. Unlike these resolutions, the human spirit is not black and white. It’s fluid and dynamic, and we need some room to adjust, wiggle, and breathe.
The second definition feels better, doesn’t it? First, it creates motion by encouraging us to act. That action is intended to bring us to a solution, but the timeline isn’t defined. It doesn’t have to happen this instant. Second, and perhaps most importantly, it feels free of judgement. “The action of solving a problem” suggests that this will be a process, likely with ongoing adjustments – a New Year’s Evolution, if you will.
How might your perspective and intention change this year by setting a New Year’s Evolution instead of a Resolution? Might you be more gentle with yourself? Maybe you’ll actually accomplish a goal? Perhaps you’ll learn something important about yourself.
How to Create a New Year’s Evolution
Let’s imagine what this looks like in real life.
Alex’s New Year’s Resolution: I will stop eating sugar this year. No more candy, cupcakes, or donuts. No more sugar in my coffee. I am not going to Dunkin’ Donuts anymore. I’m DONE!
Alex’s New Year’s Evolution: I enjoyed every cookie that I ate over the holidays. They were made with love, and they are an important part of my holiday tradition. I know I don’t feel good when there is a lot of sugar in my diet, so I’d like to make some changes so that I can make better, more consistent choices. I’ll start by eating more veggies; that way I’ll be giving my body the nutrients that I need and I may be less likely to crave or binge on sugary treats. I’ll still swing through Dunkin’ sometimes, but I’ll get a black coffee and use the healthier creamer that I’ll keep in the refrigerator at work.
Want to Stick to Your Goals? Do This Instead
How you can you turn your Resolutions into Evolutions in 2019? Can you take action to create a solution? Can you be gentle and forgiving with yourself, like you would your best friend or child? Maybe that alone is the evolution that you need first.
If, like Alex, you need a health and nutrition evolution this year, increasing your veggie intake is actually a perfect place to start. Veggies provide us with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and phytonutrients – special plant chemicals that improve health and fight disease. Veggies are the one thing that the myriad dietary philosophies agree on – whether you are vegan, Paleo, vegetarian, even keto – veggies are consistent across every platform, as they should be! Well-known food journalist Michael Pollan says it best: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
If your current veggie intake is skimpy (fewer than 3 servings per day, and the lettuce and tomato on your burger DON’T count!), start by trying to incorporate one serving of veggies with each meal. A serving is about a cup, although for leafy veggies like baby spinach or kale, two cups equal one serving. If those same greens are sautéed or cooked down, half a cup will do. If you are already incorporating veggies with most meals, challenge yourself to increase this to two servings with each meal. The ultimate goal is 9-12 servings of veggies every day. Impossible? Hardly. Life changing? Absolutely.
Small Steps = Big Difference
Eating more veggies doesn’t have to mean having salads for every meal! Here are some easy ways to sneak veggies into your day-to-day life:
- Add veggies to a smoothie. If you have a powerful blender, you’ll never know they’re there – promise! Try spinach, kale, frozen or fresh cauliflower, avocado, cucumbers, or cooked sweet potato
- Make cauliflower crust for your next pizza night (click here for dairy and dairy-free versions to make at home)
- Try riced cauliflower or broccoli and use it to make a healthy veggie fried “rice”
- Use portobello mushroom caps or slices of baked or toasted sweet potato as the “bread” for your burgers, or the base of your avocado toast
- Finely dice onions, peppers, carrots and/or zucchini and mix them into meatballs or a meatloaf.
- Incorporate Meatless Monday into your weekly routine and use it as an opportunity to see what really ramping up your veggie intake feels like!
- Add tons of extra veggies to your crockpot chili
- Snack on carrot, pepper, celery, or jicama sticks, or snap peas dipped in hummus, tzatziki, guacamole, or salsa
What are your secrets to upping your veggie intake? I’d love to hear them! If you’re interested in even more great ways to make delicious veggie dishes, click here for 35 veggie based sides, snacks, and meals.
Cheers to a veggie-filled 2019 Evolution!