New Year Resolutions!

 happy new year_1

Will you achieve your New Year resolutions this year? You have a year to find out! New Year’s resolutions are the hardest to keep, because they go into the deep core of what we don’t like about ourselves. These bad habits have taken years to perfect so breaking them all in one year is a pretty tall order. But fear not. I can be done as demonstrated by the millions of people who have done it. First you need to alter your mood. Put yourself in the winners zone. Get enthusiastic! Approach it in a very different way. Make it interesting. Almost like a game you can play for the whole year. But make it realistic and achievable.

A New Year, especially 2013 represents an opportunity to take years of failed New Year’s resolution into another realm and finally make it happen with resounding success. Here are my 7 easy New Year’s resolutions:

  1. Eat 3 small balanced meals a day
  2. Avoid GM food, Food Coloring & Sodium Nitrate
  3. Vigorous exercise for 60 minutes per week
  4. Take 10,000 steps a week
  5. Get my waist to 32 inches by the end of the year
  6. Cook fresh healthy meals everyday
  7. Eat Ceylon Cinnamon, Oregano,  Rosemary & Turmeric

Write It I down.
The key to success is to write down your New Year’s Resolution. In this day and age of smart phones, a better way to go is to set a daily alarm on your smart phone with your resolutions. I have for example set my target list for 4:30 PM every day. And the alarm is programmed to sound every day. I will not turn it off!. Even if I forget or ignore it that constant everyday reminder will keep my focused. In fact I have gone one better. I have programmed the alarm for twice a day. Talk about being a pain. You will be quite surprised at how shockingly effective that constant reminder can be. So go set your alarm right now! Just do it. Stop everything else and do it now. In fact stop reading this and do it now!

Set realistic Goals
Many people make grand promises which they can’t keep. For years I have committed to goals (albeit modest goals) I can keep no matter what. For example I committed myself to doing 60 pushup or 60 crunches (broken up into 3 sets of twenty) every week no matter what. Used to be I could do 60 pushups in one go when I was twenty. Many people will say that is laughably low. True enough. That is just a “ minimum standard ” that I have to meet. Your minimum standard maybe higher and all the power to you if you can do that every week no matter what. However if you miss even one week, then you have failed. Think very carefully on what is a realistic minimum standard should be for you.

The idea of setting realistic goals is to teach you the discipline to follow through on the goals. And if the goals are just too stressful, then you will abandon it on some pretext or another. But if you can achieve those 60 pushups per week (which anyone can do no matter what) for the rest of your life, then you will feel a sense of accomplishment. More importantly, in most cases you will do more than the minimum standards, even though there have been many weeks where I have done just the 60 pushups and then gone to bed.

Pattern Interrupt & Alternative Patterns
One of the key things I have learned about New Year resolutions is that you have to do a “ Pattern interrupt “.That means you have replace a bad pattern with a neutral or positive pattern. Without a replacement pattern you will fail.  For example if you like to go to Starbucks and get a cup of coffee and a slice of lemon pound cake everyday on the way to work, you have to stop that and replace it with another habit. You could for example replace that pattern with a cup of Cinnamon tea and a small piece of toast with marmite. Or maybe rice porridge and a cup of te de canela. Whatever. Going cold turkey without an alternative pattern is a disaster waiting to happen.

How about exercise you ask? Can you do a pattern interrupt for exercise?  You bet. We all get enthusiastic and go full speed ahead at the gym. The trouble is life happens. One week you get overloaded at work, your car breaks down or there is a severe winter storm that upsets your scheduled exercise program. And next week it gets worse as your child has to be rushed to the doctor or you cut your hand while slicing an Apple. The exercise program now gets cancelled for another week. By week three you are so lazy you just don’t feel like it. The trick is to replace the regular exercise program at the gym with a more flexible program that you can do anywhere. Yeah even in prison. Now I exercise on the go. I do some squats while watching TV. Some pushups at work. Park at the far corner of the supermarket parking lot. Wash my own car even in the freezing snow. And I wash my car quite a bit.

Eating right is really the hardest part I have to deal with. So while I have a good selection of canned food for earthquakes or a winter snow storm in the basement, I have decided only to keep a minimum of food in the house. This way I am forced to go shopping every few days and that process has made me acutely aware of the food I am eating. And I will tell you the discipline needed not to buy thing I don’t need is very hard. Remember always eat a snack or drink a full glass of water before you go shopping because otherwise you will buy the whole store. And as Dr. Oz says follow the Rule of Five.

Everything in the  house except an occasional left over dish has to be cooked fresh every day. I cook just what is needed for the day. Easier said than done, but I am getting the hang of it  When you do that enough times you create a new normal. Sometimes I am too lazy to cook so I make a very simple and quick healthy meal. Like a salad or some lentil soup with cabbage. Sweets are much harder. The cravings for sugar is so bad sometimes I can feel violently ill. When the craving happen I have a glass of ice cold water. Another pattern interrupt. Replacing one activity with another. I tell you ice cold water is quite a pattern interrupt. But I also have a bag of really spicy Indian snacks when I feel like something sweet and then the inevitable glass of ice cold water.

Spice of Life
This past year proved how bad our food system really is. California Prop 39 brought the real evil of genetically modified foods to the forefront with Monsanto at the center of this evil. With a little bit of effort you can make healthy food choices without it costing you a penny more. You can have good organic food and choice fruits and nuts without spending more. You just have to consume less. A serving of meat should be the size of a deck of playing cards according to Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen writing in successs magazine. Buy the organic or non GM choice whenever you can. Because it’s more expensive you will buy less and eat less. Run away from anything with High Fructose corn syrup. Of course it will reduce your choices but that’s a good thing since you will buy less junk food. Avoid anything dairy or a least minimize it significantly because our entire dairy system is contaminated and dairy products in general are not good. But also take a closer look at spices. Because therein lies the solution to many of our ailments.

This year in addition to Cinnamon I have decided to add Turmeric, Oregano, Rosemary and Thyme to my diet on a more active level. Meaning I have set the “ minimum standard”.of one teaspoon of these spices per week. All of these spices have very high anti-oxidant properties, all above 120,000 ?mol TE/100g ORAC values. I could take cloves too, which has the highest ORAC value but recipes for cloves are very small indeed. Cinnamon is far easier to take and can be put into many recipes. Same with Turmeric, which can be added to rice, lentil and meat just like Cinnamon. Oregano can be easily sprinkled on pasta and on many meat dishes. Rosemary is a little harder. Guess I have work to do finding Rosemary recipes.

All the best for 2013. Eat well. Drink well. Sleep well. And keep healthy. Remember modest goals, pattern interrupts and spice up your life. And set your smart phone alarm. It’s that simple.