Friday, December 31, 2010

Doomed Resolutions (and how to improve them)

What are the two most common resolutions? No drumroll needed, weight loss is number 1 and number 2 is to not make any resolutions. Last year I gave you my 2 cents on resolutions in In Defense of Resolutions. I still remain steadfastly pro-resolution.  I rejoice in resolutions and encourage my clients do the same. But there’s a method to resolution-making: You need to make resolutions that are realistic – not revolutionary. Here are my five resolutions not to make, and what to do instead:
(I wrote this piece for Blisstree)
Result Resolutions. An example of these is the classic and clich├ęd aforementioned, “I will lose X number of pounds.” While it’s perfectly fine to wish for weight loss, this is no road map to get you where you want to go.
Resolution Evolution: Focus instead on the behaviors that may be holding you back. Is your oven being used as alternative storage? Maybe you need to cook more often. Is there only milk for your coffee in your fridge? Focus on food shopping. Are you hitting the vending machine during the afternoon at the office? Bring healthier snacks to work. If you change these behaviors, weight loss (and subsequent maintenance) stands a chance.
Never Say Never. No, Really. We all have our vices and it’s not out of the question to give them up. I have a good friend who started drinking green tea instead of soda (yes!), but you want to set yourself up to succeed and not aim to wipe something out completely.
Resolution Evolution: The key with a goal like this is to avoid using the word “never.” With the soda example, my friend first cut her “habit” down to one a day, then weekends only – and now she’s soda-free.
Flying solo. Let’s face it, whether you’re training for a running race or trying to eat less sugar you are going to stumble. When your internal motivation wanes, there needs to be a back-up plan or safety net. I can tell you when I had doubts while training for the Chicago Marathon, knowing I had blogged about it kept me on track.
Resolution Evolution: Accountability and support can help you stick to your resolutions. If your goal is to start working out, perhaps you can join a running group or select an ongoing yoga class. If you want to work on your eating habits, seek out a nutritionist or email a weekly food journal to a friend.
Putting-All-Your-Eggs-In-One-Basket-Resolutions. You want to make resolutionS, as in more than 1. For starters, there’s probably more than one thing you can benefit from improving, and some are easier to accomplish than others.
Resolution Evolution: At Foodtrainers, our clients make multiple resolutions and use them as a road map for the year ahead. Goals can be as simple as “learn to make soup” or “stretch more.” Rather than falling off the wagon, you’ll find that during different parts of the year you’re doing better with certain goals. You’ll also most likely be successful in a few areas and this will spur you on.
What Resolution? The sad fact is that well before we “spring ahead,” most resolutions have gone by the wayside (or jumped onto our backside). Instead of hanging on for dear life and regularly slipping up, expect inconsistency.
Resolution Evolution: Set a resolution reminder on your computer or phone for the first of every month. Perform a resolution review. If your workouts aren’t happening the way you had hoped, re-group and refine your plan. The act of veering and re-grouping is actually the number one weight loss skill.
For selfish purposes (not one to fly solo) some of my 2011 resolutions:
Run 2 half marathons- I am planning to kick off my 2011 running with the More ½ marathon and I’d love company. I most likely will pick a marathon (or ultra) but haven’t yet.
I’ve coined 2011 the year of the headstand for me. I stuck with yoga and now I want to face some of my flexibility “fears”.
Cycle for Survival is in February, I’m honored to be doing “Cycle” and I’m on team fearless. This is a huge source of inspiration for me, please help support the cause.
1 new recipe a week-I want to be less of a cooking creature of habit and will try at least one new something each week and tell you about it.
 I’m a financial imbecile and want to get on top of things.
And finally and I can’t believe I’m putting this out there. I want to write more. I love blogging and want to write the book I’ve been postponing.
What’s on your evolved resolution list? I’d love to hear and promise to check in with you and keep you honest.  Let’s check back on February 1.


  1. Lauren, I love that you posted about this (great minds think alike :). This year, I've resolved to spend my time and money wisely. Some ways I'll be doing that: squeezing in a 15-20 minute workout whenever I can instead of stressing about the fact that I don't have an hour to exercise, or buying a $5 pint of strawberries if I'm craving them and it means I won't eat a chocolate bar instead.

  2. Hi! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

    I love this post! The biggest thing, for me, is the accountability piece that you mentioned.

    I'm going to "piggy back" on your resolution of running two half marathons. I have one picked out at the end of March (I'd love to run MORE with you, but NY is a bit far from AZ!), and I'll make sure to pick another one later in the year.

    I also love your "One new recipe per week." I get stuck in ruts, so this one is perfect.

    Like how I mentioned "stealing resolutions" on my blog post? Yep, I'm stealing yours. THANKS! And Happy New Year!!!

  3. Lauren,
    I loved this post, and I’m glad to see writing more is on your planner—you’re very good at it! The 1 new recipe a week resolution is also a lovely, fun idea.

  4. I want to drink more water, set a writing schedule that I stick to, set up a more organized closet in our kitchen so we can store more staples (so that cooking in can be easier and more manageable without trips to the grocery store all the time), work out 5 times per week and add rowing to my cardio, I also want to pay off all my debt and start saving more!

    It's a lot, but it is all doable. :) I hope you post some of your new recipes!

  5. Hi Lauren,
    Great tips! My favorite one, that you mentioned is "Never Say Never." My top New Year Resolution is to "Trust My Gut." I need to do this more often! If something feels right I should proceed, but if something does not feel right I need to say no.

  6. My New Year’s resolutions are similar to last years’, which probably isn’t a good sign:

    run 1/2 marathon
    be more eco-aware
    go to my “die-zone” at least once a week – for more information on die zones, do a search for Rhonda’ll see
    be more communicative with friends....translates to not screening phone calls (which I always do) and to use email and text less frequently so that I actually talk LIVE with people
    launch this website I’m working on and really start to generate a nice funnel of funds for BCA charities
    patience patience patience

  7. Now that this is public, I better stick to it.

    - Sushi - no more than 1 per week (use brown rice)
    - Mexican - no more than 1 per month
    - Lose 15 more lbs (5 by end of Feb, 5 more by end April, final 5 by end of June)
    - One vegetarian day per week (probably Sunday since I eat fewer meals)
    - Eat 2 vegetarian lunches or dinners per week
    - Run a marathon
    - No more than 3 alcoholic drinks per week (exceptions vacation, after big races, November and December)
    - Go to bed by 10:30 on Monday throughThursday (exceptions vacations, theater, business travel)

    Until the summer:
    - New recipe per week (I stole this one from you).
    - Try new vegetables (at the least, new preparations)

    I have find by writing them down, I became more specific.

  8. Great post Lauren! Fabulous point that I always tell clients too--"don't use NEVER." Again, love this article! Happy new years to you! And I too--am out to run a half marathon--then a marathon! Baby steps... ;)

  9. My New Years Resolutions:

    To reach goal weight -- I am almost there.

    To teach my children how to love fruits and veggies and to be open to trying new things.

    Stop falling asleep on the sofa -- just go to bed.

    Trying new recipes - especially, easy brown bag lunch recipes (HINT HINT HINT).

    Eat more fish and less meat

    Pay attention to what are my vices and tackle one at a time -

    To run the MORE 1/2 marathon in April.

  10. My resolutions:
    Keep a food journal consistently.
    Get a handle on finances by tracking what we spend.
    Ask for help and admit when I'm overwhelmed. I tend to take on way too much, but then I'm too proud to admit that I need help sometimes.

  11. No resolution for me yet. I'm going to make one, but I need some time to formulate it. I would love to read a book written by you!