Resolutions: how you can make them work


Rationally we know adopting a new eating routine for health and self-improvement makes sense. We want the benefits of energy, vitality and wellness this will bring and of course this is why we start the New Year with resolutions. However, summoning the resolve to follow them can be difficult, with research suggesting over a quarter of resolutions will have fallen by the wayside by January 8.

We summon up discipline, force ourselves to conform to the demands we are suddenly making upon ourselves, with a daily investment of resolve to accomplish what we have set out to change. However, in the process we often create stress, make ourselves miserable and even induce an emotional reaction that drives us back into the old habits we are trying to break.

Harness your emotions rather than picking a fight them

Did you choose the habits you are trying to change, or did you just fall into them? If you just fell into them, how and why? Stress? Mindlessness? The need of an emotional crutch? This is important because if your rational willpower fails, your emotions may lead you to actions subverting your new goals.

Successfully adopting new routines

You need to make sure that the new routine is important to you, that you are emotionally invested in it and that it is something you want to adopt into your life. It must be about you, not just the rational outcome you aim to achieve: the bikini you want to fit into in the summer, the wedding that you are planning, or the six pack you think will change your life. You need to think beyond these. For example, breaking bad eating habits requires more than just calling a halt to eating junk food. If it were this easy everyone would do it. Start by examining eating routines, not just the food itself. Consider why you step into the kitchen for a tub of ice cream. Hunger? Boredom? Or do you feel you have earned that tub after a crappy day, or need it after all the denial trying to stick to your resolutions?

Becoming mindful about your food

This year take time to cultivate an emotional buy-in to succeed in New Year resolutions. And when it comes to weight management, start by making small changes by planning your food, becoming mindful of it, enjoying and savouring each bite, increasing chances of successfully adopting new eating routines.

Practical mindful eating

Of course, good intentions can still be notoriously difficult to translate into breaking bad eating habits and forming healthier new routines. A hectic work schedule is often a contributor to failure, being one of the main reasons people choose takeaways over cooking at home at the end of a busy day. Unfortunately, these calorie-laden meals are more often a contributor to expanding waistlines.

There is another way…

  • What if you were able to come home to a tasty and nutritious meal that could be ready within minutes of walking through the door?
  • Or what about a delicious lunchbox filled with food that will energise and lift you over the mid-afternoon slump?

Both are easily achievable with just a little pre-planning and Just Routine can help. Here’s how

  1. Make a list. Browse the food database and Just Routine recipes for foods and meals you might like. Create a shopping list of anything that takes your fancy. Use your commute to help you get thinking – it will also help focus your mind on what you should and shouldn’t buy on the way to the office.
  2. Discuss with your partner or family what they like to eat and what their favourite foods are, considering different options for different days of the week. Make Tuesday pasta night, Thursday stir-fry night …you see what I’m getting at. Most people enjoy consistency and routine, while this will also reduce the pressure of what to cook in the new routine.
  3. Pick a day of the week you go shopping (online, in shops or markets) with the pre-prepared shopping list, including all the ingredients you need to cook your favourite tasty meals.
  4. Choose one day a week for a big cook and make extra for refrigerating and freezing. Plan ahead with a schedule of what you want to cook on any particular day; this ensures you always have the right ingredients to hand while removing the pressure of dreaming up meal solutions when you are tired and stressed.

Start small by pre-planning 1-2 meals a week. You will soon discover this can both save time and money while contributing to a more nutritionally balanced and healthier diet.

Top tips:

  • Label all prepped items with a date to track when to use them.
  • Rotate stored items so older foods/meals are kept to the front.
  • Collect healthy recipes and store in the Just Routine Cookbook.

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Iris is the founder of No Targets Just Routine. She has researched food since 2009 and believes “Happiness is real food shared with loved ones.”

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