New Year, New You?

The new year is a time for reflection.  It’s almost impossible to celebrate a holiday season and look forward to an upcoming year without pausing to reflect on the past year.  I’ve put off publishing this post because I wanted to urge you to actually think about it, not just do it on January 1st because you think you’re supposed to.

I bet you already made some promises though, didn’t you?  It’s been three weeks now.  How are things going?  Honestly.  If you have been successful, how are you going to sustain your progress for the next 11 months?  If you haven’t gotten started yet, why not?  What’s stopping you?  After all, your resolutions are your own, aren’t they?  If it’s something you truly want, what can possibly stand in the way?  What are you letting stand in the way?  Let me see if I can help you.

A) My very first question is this – is this a new resolution?  Or have you made this resolution in years past (every year?) and for one reason or another, you haven’t kept it?  If this is a new resolution, skip to part B.  If you’ve made this same resolution before, continue to number 1.

1) When you made this resolution in years past, did you intend for it to be temporary, or did you intent for it to be permanent – a whole new you?

2) Why wasn’t it permanent?  Why did you allow yourself to not follow through?

3) How will you feel if you make the very same resolution in 2014?  Disappointed?  Ashamed?  Let down?  Sad?

4)  How will you feel if at the end of 2013 you have checked this particular item off your list – permanently – and need to come up with whole new resolution?  Happy?  Proud?  Relieved?  Satisfied?  Excited?  Hopeful?

B) How will your resolution become a reality? 

1)  What is your end goal?  That is, what is your final result?  What does it look like?

2) How will you know you have achieved your goal?  Whether it’s a number on the scale, a specific car in the driveway, a particular job, a grade in school, or new clothing size, exactly how will you know you have achieved your goal, or how will you know you’re moving closer?

3) How will you feel when your resolution is a reality?

4)  Is it important to you to maintain that feeling?

5) What are you willing to do to obtain that feeling?

Each person has their own goals, aspirations, and achievements.  Be sure that your resolution speaks to you, if you have a resolution at all.  Don’t let 2013 be another year of empty promises, unfulfilled dreams, or same-old, same-old.  Let 2013 be the year that you come alive!  For good!

You may be wondering why a vegan blogger is focusing on new year’s resolutions.  For me, it has to do with watching the endless commercialization of health and “wellness”.  I have watched so many people hop back on the hamster wheel of common resolutions like ‘Finally going to lose weight’ or ‘Eat healthy and exercise more.’  I have to reach out and ask openly and honestly – If you have tried this before and it hasn’t worked, what makes you think this time is different?  Is another gym membership or Jenny Craig really going to cut it this time?

Are you willing to keep an open mind?  Have you pondered why you’ve been trying for years but haven’t succeeded yet?  Did you ever think that maybe it’s not entirely your fault?  That what you’ve been told to eat might not be in your own best interest?  I know, I know, you need dairy for strong bones, meat for protein, right?  Have you thought about reevaluating your definition of eating healthy?

Have you wondered why it’s ‘normal’ for women to gain 5 lbs every year?  Sorry to break it to you, but it’s not because your metabolism is slowing down and weight gain and disease is an inevitable part of aging.  It’s simply because the food that a normal American eats will inevitably cause weight gain at an average rate of 5 lbs a year.  Simple as that!

Health and wellness is not strictly about losing weight.  It’s not about finding a new pill.  It’s not about finding a magic cure.  It’s not even about avoiding symptoms of illness and disease.  It’s about letting your body do what it was designed to do for you.  It’s about fueling your body with food that is going to serve you, not harm you.  It’s about enjoying what you’re eating and knowing it’s going to make you look and feel better.  It’s going to make you less likely to get sick, less likely to suffer from the diseases of obesity, and it’s going to protect you from the most common cancers.  Can you honestly say that your current diet does all of the above?

If it doesn’t quite meet all of those requirements, consider making a resolution to start a whole foods plant-based diet this year.  Know that you can do it.  It’s so much easier than you think, and it’s infinitely easier, cheaper, and better than the alternative.  Come on, I’ll even help you.

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