Jamie Carroll: On New Year's Day we resolve
Published: Tuesday, January 1, 2013 at 8:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 1, 2013 at 8:30 a.m.
On this New Year's morning many people will embark on a new journey in which they will make “New Year's resolutions,” or vows to improve their lives. While many have excellent intentions, they lack a plan of action or they set so many goals that no one, save for perhaps Superman, could reach. The beauty of resolution is that we have the power to reaffirm and renew our intentions every day, every moment even.
One of my resolutions for the New Year is to continue growing spiritually and cognitively and to allow myself to forgive any likely mistakes along the way. If I account for human error, then I can use it as stepping ground for success rather than the cliff of failure. Setting too many goals without realistic execution will ensure the guilt-ridden deterioration of one's hopes and dreams.
The following is a list of some common New Year's Resolutions derived from www.usa.gov. I have taken the liberty of providing my unsolicited advice (which I vow to try to follow), and thoughts on health related resolutions, as I believe a change in the way people treat their bodies and minds will ignite a collective change and shift in people's way of thinking. My intention is not to sound self-righteous, for I am flawed and fallible like everyone else, but rather to encourage people to choose the goal of a healthy lifestyle in order to facilitate positive change in their lives.
Eat Healthy Food: Vow to nourish your body and your soul. If you cut down on refined sugars and greasy food, you will feel and look better. I promise. Read labels, use common sense, and load up on fruits and veggies. Trust me; I understand the desire for sweets. In fact, I liken chocolate to divinity in food form. However, I abstain from eating this delight on a regular basis because I do not want to ignite the sugar beast within. You know the one…once you begin eating sweets it sinks its gnarled claws in your taste buds and demands that you feed it sweets, now! When I ignore the beast, he fizzles and fades, leaving to my own healthy devices.
Get Fit: If you think you “should” exercise but you dread it, I encourage you to take the first step (pun intended). Trust me; endorphins are your friends. The lazy monster is worse than the sugar beast, for it physically makes you tired, thereby convincing you do not have the energy to move your body. However, once you make a little bit of effort you will conjure up bursts of energy and mental clarity. The key is to find something you like to do: go for a walk, take a class at the gym, get an exercise accountability partner, or just crank the music up loud on your iPod and move. Just move!
Lose Weight: If you vow to lose weight, do so for your health's sake, not for vanity or for the illusion of effort. Appropriate weight loss is not about fitting society's concept of beauty, but is rather about your health. The best way to begin your weight loss journey is through good food choices and consistent exercise. A pill will not help you maintain a healthy weight, despite what the multimillion-dollar diet industry tells you. The United States is dangerously obese, and as a result, people have a slew of health problems. The enormous food portions served at every meal and the resulting morbid obesity has become the norm. As a nation, we are desensitized by the prevalence and danger of obesity as it has become somewhat socially acceptable. If you are treating food like a drug, a mindless way to fill a void, please at least try to stop. People speak openly about their health problems, but few speak candidly about obesity, which is rather ironic considering it is the source of many diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and breathing problems such as sleep apnea.
Manage Stress: Chronic stress can make you and the people in your life miserable, and it can manifest itself in your body. There will always be stress in life, much of which we cannot control, but we can strategize. I have struggled with this balancing act before, but I have found two methods that help me. First, make time for yourself. Preemptively prepare for life's stressful moments by creating space for yourself in your own life. Secondly and perhaps most importantly, recognize stress and base your life decisions, both big and small, on how stress can affect you and the ones you love. View stress through the lens of economics by applying a cost benefit analysis to your life experiences.
Quit Smoking: You know why…black lungs, cancer, yellow teeth and a wretched smell…please try.
If you are currently setting New Year's resolutions, I urge you to make your goals attainable, to honor them and to honor your process, and to continue growing and trying, even if you have a momentary set back. I care about you and your choices because I am a part of this community. We owe it to one another to stay happy and healthy this year.
Happy New Year,