I’m nearing the three month mark of my twelve month experiment, one resolution a month. As the end of March approaches, my mind is already turning towards the selection of a resolution for April. But before I begin that debate, I thought it was time for a quick review.
If I had to sum up my experiment in two words, they would be FUN and SURPRISING.
Fun – I’ve enjoyed this way more than I imagined I would, even though I had an inkling it would be interesting.
Surprising – I’m thoroughly surprised and delighted that people are reading my blog and really enjoy the comments I get, both online and in conversations with folks. The extrovert in me who processes by interaction and dialog is very grateful and thoroughly enjoying herself. THANKS!
Here’s a summary with my best tips from each resolution so far.
Five Servings a Day
I had a 100% success rate with eating five servings of fruits/vegetables in January. I’ve tried to maintain this behavior since then and am having success. The biggest change I’ve noticed is that I now eat more fruits/veggies as snacks – way more. If I haven’t had my five servings yet, I don’t let myself snack unless it’s a fruit/veggie. Wow, this cuts down on the potato chips.
Since I’m no longer a Type-A, obsessive “J” (seriously, I’m not)(no really, I’ve changed), I am not tracking my behavior too rigidly now that my official resolution month is over. That being said, it’s now a habit to count servings every day and I don’t even need a chart on my refrigerator. I’ve missed two to three days max since January 1, and even on those days I’ve had 3-4 servings. Not bad veggie girl, not bad.
Buy the fruits and veggies you like.
It seems obvious, but often we try too hard to do all of the right things. If you only like broccoli and apples, start by just eating five servings of broccoli and apples. SURE, it’s best to have variety nutritionally, but give yourself a break and start with what you like!
Get the day started right.
It’s a lot easier to achieve this goal if you add fruits and veggies to breakfast and lunch. Dinner seems much harder to control, especially since someone else might be cooking it. If you don’t eat at least one serving at each breakfast and lunch, it will be almost impossible to catch up with dinner.
This month was all about not drinking for me, though you could really pick anything you wanted to stop for a month, just to see what it’s like. This resolution was easy for me to keep (another perfect record), but I’ve changed very little of my behavior now that the month is over. I’d like to consider this more but I can’t seem to spend mental energy on this – perhaps that has something to do with my pending thesis deadline. Is there a correlation between approaching deadlines and the need for a gin and tonic? I THINK SO.
Announce your resolution.
It’s helpful to let others in on your goal, especially when our culture has such expectations about indulgence. Whether it’s not drinking or skipping dessert, I found others much more supportive of my choice when they knew I had made a promise to myself.
Don’t avoid situations just to keep your resolution.
You don’t learn much about yourself if you just avoid the situations where you’d normally engage in the ‘forbidden’ behavior. And besides, being sober while everyone around you is drinking is kind of entertaining!
When I realized I could not touch my toes I knew it was time for action. Stretching action, that is. I haven’t failed at this resolution – in fact I’ve learned a lot – but I am batting about .600 on this one (too bad it’s not baseball, I’d be a pro!). This behavior feels the most NEW for me, though, and I’m really enjoying what I’ve learned and how I’ve experimented with building this into my routine. I think it will take me more than 30 days to do it, but I still hope to create a habit out of this one.
Find your time and space.
No, I don’t mean early 21st century, planet Earth. I mean you need to find the time of day that works for you as well as the place where you will enjoy this exercise. I learned that I like morning stretching best, but I also enjoy a post-workout stretch. I also learned that I need to be in a warm room and that a quiet environment isn’t as important to me as an open space.
Get the gear.
No, you don’t need $100 yoga pants to stretch every day. But having a good yoga mat and some comfy clothing, plus a DVD or two has been incredibly helpful to me.
Think “Days Off” not “I’ve Failed”
When I skipped a few days in a row, it was important for me to just give myself permission to consider those days ‘off’ instead of thinking that I had completely failed to keep my resolution. I know, I said earlier I’m not a perfectionist any more (ha!), but even us go-with-the-flow P’s can be hard on ourselves sometimes. Lighten up and give yourself a break!
What Does April Have in Store?
The word is still out on April’s resolution and I probably won’t decide until the last minute. I’ve got one more month before I graduate, so I still need a resolution that doesn’t require a ton of time. I have some ideas (as always, the conference room in my head is debating the merits of a clean house vs. starting a garden as I write), but I’m interested: Any suggestions?