With 2011 coming to a close, so many people are making 2012 New Year's resolutions. According to this source (and many others), two of the most popular resolutions are "lose weight" and "get fit," which are both certainly fantastic goals. However, many people who make resolutions may start a new diet and/or exercise plan on January 1st, but they don't change their mindsets as well and will give up after just a few weeks (or, perhaps, only a few days). To make a resolution (health-related or not) work, you must change your entire way of thinking-- don't think of it as a "diet" or a "resolution," but think of it as a total lifestyle change. Don't just eat healthy; live healthy.
I've written about the etymology of diet before: it comes from a Greek word meaning "lifestyle." Yet every January 1st of high school, I'd go on a diet (always low carb) and break my resolution within days or weeks; I'm sure many of you out there can relate. I was only thinking about food-- they were always "I'm going to lose weight by dieting" resolutions rather than "I'm going to change my lifestyle and become healthy" ones. While diet did originally mean "lifestyle," it now has that negative connotation of being a temporary thing, and we thus find it socially acceptable to break our diet-related (or other) resolutions. "No one keeps their New Year's resolutions anyway, so now I don't feel bad for breaking mine too! Let me eat that ice cream!"
The Paleo/Primal/real food lifestyle didn't begin for me on a January 1st-- it actually began on a February 1st (2010), and it's now been almost two years! What turned a diet into a lifestyle was my way of thinking-- I actually told myself on January 31, "Tomorrow is going to be the first day of the rest of my life." I did not tell myself, "Tomorrow I'm going to start dieting again," or "Be prepared to stop eating crap starting tomorrow," or "Brace yourself for the carb withdrawal headaches." I had told myself those things so many times before, but they never stuck-- it was only with a different way of approaching a new eating plan that February 1st, 2010, was, in fact, the first day of the rest of my life.
Not only did I change my eating habits, but I also started moving more (goodbye, elevator!), sleeping more (I seriously think I get more sleep than 95% of college students), ending toxic relationships, and educating myself about evolutionary nutrition. After losing weight, clearing up my acne, never getting sick, and feeling all-around better, I knew that this was definitely a permanent lifestyle change!
So if you're going to start something new this January 1st, don't approach it as a temporary resolution. Think about changing your whole lifestyle , even if your resolution (or goal/plan) isn't health-related-- because what's the point of a resolution if you don't make it stick? And actually, why not start your lifestyle change right now? Why wait until the New Year? Why not better your life beginning at this very moment? The "I'll start tomorrow" mindset won't cut it anymore-- because tomorrow, you'll say "I'll start tomorrow" as well. Seize the day!
I recommend reading Frank Forencich's Change Your Body, Change the World, which discusses how we have become disconnected from the world and how we can have much more fulfilling lives by reconnecting with our environment and becoming healthy through evolutionary wisdom. I also recommend checking out this post from Three New Leaves (one of my favorite blogs), "24 Things I've Learned in 24 Years," which has some amazing and inspiring tips, realizations, and comments about life in general that are really worth reading and remembering. Both the book and the post echo living life to its fullest... and how can that happen with the "I'll start on New Year's" mentality?
I think it's great if you're making a New Year's resolution, and I wish you the best of luck in your quest for a better year; however, start your resolution right now and make it a permanent lifestyle change. You deserve the best life possible, so begin today!
Quote of the Day:
"If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds' worth of distance run, then yours is the Earth and everything that's in it." -Rudyard Kipling, 'If'