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For New Years, Form New Habits, Not Resolutions

The New Years celebration always comes with new goals and resolutions for ways to improve oneself. But as we all know from practice, those resolutions are difficult to keep. What I'd suggest is don't strive for resolutions, strive for new habits. Find one or two small routines in your life that you can tweak and, more importantly, that you can sustain. It's your habits that lead to change, not your intentions. 

Start by reflecting on last year's habits. What habits lead to better results over the course of the year that you should continue and which ones lead to results that you aren't proud of?

For me, last year I changed my habits with the way I spent time with my wife. I did it more intentionally in a way that meant something to her, and I can say our relationship is in a better place than it was when it started the year. I will work to continue those habits and improve upon them.

However, I also noticed that as I started traveling for work again, it became a challenge to keep my good eating habits that I developed during the pandemic. I added 10 pounds of weight, especially as the holidays kicked in with Halloween and continued through year-end. I am proud that I was able to keep up my workout routines, which has kept me feeling fit and pain free, but I need to work on my cravings especially when traveling.

It's difficult because a part of my identity that people know me for is my love for food and my desire to try everything. I have a tough time controlling myself, especially when sweets and decadent food are prevalent. The habit I want to change this year is to control my urges better when in those situations. I want to shift towards a "tasting" mentality by working on not overeating. 

I'll start by shifting to 5-6 smaller "moments" of eating a day rather than 2-3 large meals. I'm hoping this lowers my caloric intake and shifts it towards a mix of foods rather than overconsuming one particular meal. It's my brain that needs to be retrained to recognize being satiated with smaller quantities of food. Overeating is training my brain incorrectly as it searches for that state again and again.

Finally, sadly my sourdough bread making habit will need to be put on the shelf. As travel picked up, it became very difficult to keep up with feeding it. My sourdough starter recently spoiled and figured this was a sign that I should take a break (much like when I lost my chickens earlier in 2022). If I lighten the load/responsibility in these areas, maybe it will help me keep good habits in other areas and take on new ones.

Use these personal notes as an example to reflect on your habits and look to tweak one or two of them to create a better version of you.