It seems like there’s been a lot of haters discussing the topic of New Year’s Resolutions this year. “Just be healthier all year,” they say. “Don’t go on a diet, adopt a lifestyle change forever instead!”
And while they may have good intentions, I tend to think these platitudes overlook the difficulty in creating real and meaningful change in one’s life. The reality is that having a resolution and putting a plan in place to support that resolution is much more effective than just putting some amorphous, non-specific wish about “being healthy” out into the universe.
Why? Science. There’s a fantastic book out there by Pulitzer-winner Charles Duhigg called The Power of Habit. I’d highly recommend it if you are looking for a good read.
But assuming you haven’t read it, the premise is that if you can get something to become a habit in your life, instead of a one-off action, you’re much more likely to continue it long-term. Research generally shows it takes anywhere from 2 to 8 months to effectively establish a habit, depending on the difficultly of the action.
So you know that you’re going to have to continue with your resolution for at least 2 months to get it to stick. How can you ensure your success? The best way is by making a plan for how you’ll do it. Studies have show this is true across a wide variety of situations:
- Businesses with a business plan are twice as successful as those without. (Source)
- Having a plan for how and when you’ll vote increases voter turnout. (Source)
- Forming a plan for when you’ll exercise increases the likelihood you will actually go do it by nearly 3x. (Source)
- Including plan-making elements in health care reminders makes individuals more likely to get their yearly flu vaccine or colonoscopy. (Source)
If you’re going to stick with your resolution, then, the key isn’t simply changing your thinking to a long-term focus, it’s making a plan for how you’ll succeed.
We’ll be doing this around here; I’ve already got 4 weeks of low-carb meals all planned out for us. By having a plan, it’ll help me avoid the dreaded “Meh, let’s just order a pizza” cop-out, and help with grocery list making as well. Here’s what we’ll be eating in January!
|Lunch||“BLT” Omelettes||Leftover Chili||Leftover Lettuce Wraps||Leftover Chili||Charcuterie Lunch – no crackers (recipe)||Tacos “in a bowl” (from a taqueria)||Sausage and Egg Frittata “Muffins”|
|Dinner||Texas Red Chili (recipe)||Thai Peanut Sesame Chicken Lettuce Wraps (recipe)||Pork, Spinach & Tomato Stuffed Eggplant||Date Night: Greek Food
(I’ll get a big salad)
|Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce (recipe)||Broiled Fish Filets & Veggies (recipe)||Fajita Salads (recipe)|
|Lunch||Leftover Fajita Salads||Sausage and Egg Frittata “Muffins”||Leftover Fajita Salads||Tomato Basil Cream Soup||Work Cafe Salad Bar||Diner Brunch (Eggs & Meats)||Smoked Salmon & Cheese|
“Pizzas” (similar recipe; different fillings)
|Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts & Brussel Sprouts (inspired by…)||Date Night: Gastro- pub (I’ll get meat/ veggies)||Southwest Ranch Chicken Breasts (recipe)||Baked Sweet Potato Bar (similar recipe)||Shrimp Boil (recipe)||Slow Cooker Beef Stew (recipe)|
|Lunch||Leftover Beef Stew||Leftover Chicken Skewers||Leftover Beef Stew||Leftover Chicken Enchiladas||Leftover Lamb Salad||Chorizo Egg & Cheese Breakfast Tacos||Lunch Out: Kebab Salad|
|Dinner||Harissa Grilled Chicken Skewers & Zucchini||Verde Chicken Enchiladas w/ Corn Tortillas (recipe)||Greek Salads with Lamb Burgers (inspired by…)||Date Night: Hawaiian
|Spiced Pork Chops & Spinach (inspired by…)||Chicken Caesar Salads||Scallops in Pesto w/ Salad|
|Lunch||Black Bean, Corn, Chicken Salad||Leftover Pork Stew||Black Bean, Corn, Chicken Salad||Leftover Lasagna||Charcuterie Lunch||Lunch at a Wing Bar||Goat Cheese & Spinach Omelette|
|Dinner||Green Chile Pork Stew (recipe)||Ground Pork Lettuce Wraps (recipe)||Zoodle Lasagna (similar recipe)||Date Night: BBQ||Spiced Pork Chops & Spinach (recipe)||Red Curry Shrimp w/ Brown Rice (recipe)||Chicken, Artichoke, and Tomatoes in foil packets (recipe)|