Friday, December 18, 2009

Thinking About Resolutions

Sure, it's not even Christmas yet, but I still tend to find myself thinking about resolutions come about this time. Partially it's because, yes, New Years is fast approaching, but the other part, I think, is because, as I mentioned in a previous post, it's an indulgent time of year, meaning there are things to think about correcting in the not too distant future.

First, though, how did I fare regarding last year's resolutions? Fair. My two resolutions were that I'd get up by 7:30 on weekdays barring illness and I'd ride/walk more local miles (trips under 3 miles) than drive each month. I did not end up sticking with the 7:30 resolution, but 90% of the time, I'm up by 8:00, so I feel okay about that. I had no trouble with the local mile resolution. In fact, it was so easy by summer that I stopped tracking miles. This fall has continued to be easy. Part of why it's been so easy is that Davan isn't doing gymnastics any longer. That means that the 2.5 miles three times a week trip to the gym has been replaced with a 13 mile two times a week trip to Do Jump, which doesn't count in local miles. I'm good about riding to the store and walking or riding to the library, which counts for most of my local miles, so it's been no trouble.

I'd also made a resolution for just December, which you may remember, to eat just raw fruits and veggies for one meal a day. It's turned out that I'm doing pretty well with that, but only on weekdays. I'm not sticking to it on weekends or, you know, birthdays.

Now, about resolutions in general. I know there are those who say that they don't do them because you should be open to changes any time of the year. I totally agree that you should be open to changes as needed, but I also don't see a problem with thinking about it particularly this one time of the year when it's prevalent in society. It's a good reminder to tackle something you'd like to improve.

So, this year, I'm thinking about what I'd like to do for my resolutions and if any are necessary. For me, I've decided that I will do at least one resolution. I like challenges and laying them out for myself helps to keep me on track. What I'm considering is giving myself a monthly challenge each month of 2010. I find that a resolution that lasts for the whole year doesn't usually work for me because I lose interest. A month is about right. Plus, then I can consider what's going on in my life and in the season and make an appropriate challenge for myself.

If I choose to go this route, which I'm feeling pretty sure I will, but I've got a couple weeks to decide here, then I'll have my January challenge planned out by the first and ready to kick in. One thought I've had is to have a set meal plan for myself for the month. It would look something like this:

breakfast - steel cut oats with fruit, flax meal and cinnamon
lunch - a salad then wheat berry/bean/corn/kale in a tomato chili sauce
dinner - varied, as usual
after dinner - fruit and/or air popped popcorn 6 nights a week - homemade dessert the 7th

Why? Well, I have a few reasons. 1) McDougall recommends limiting choices if one wants to loose weight. I'm doing okay on my weight, but a few pounds (literally) off would be good, too. 2) The excesses of the holiday season has left me over eating because there is a lot of variety around and we're making dessert a lot. Granted, the desserts are healthy, relatively speaking, but they are still extra that doesn't need to consumed. Yesterday I ate left over pumpkin cinnamon rolls until I felt ready to burst. That's not healthy. Just having a template for food will help me avoid those excesses, I think. 3) I just read an article in bicycling magazine about a man who lost 200+ pounds by riding his bike and following Furhman's Eat to Live plan with a specific daily menu. He eats all the veggies he wants, 1-2 pounds a day, a hummus wrap and a bowl of vegan soup. The limiting of what he can eat keeps his will power strong.

On that last part, apparently, there is some belief these days that all the choices we have in life - so much food in restaurants and grocery stores, all the channels on TV - actually erodes people's will power. It forces you to make choices all the time. Choices and will power actually vie for the same part of your brain. If you wear it out making choices, then you have nothing left for the will power part. This is, of course, a paraphrase of the concept.

So, that's my January idea. I'm not totally sold yet, but I'm feeling a draw there. If it goes well and turns out to be a good thing for me, I'd keep that in place for February plus add whatever challenge I pick out for that month, which I think would be an exercise one, but could also have to do with how much time I spend on the computer, which seems to be something I slip on a lot. I don't even want to tell you how much time I spent on this thing yesterday in my post sleepover attempt haze.

When I started this post, I was still feeling not totally sure about the resolution and the January challenge. Writing it out, though, and thinking about my reasons is making me feel more sure that's what I want to do. I will still mull it over for a bit, but I'm guessing you'll hear that's the direction I've chosen in a couple of weeks.

For those of you who do resolutions, what's on your mind?

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