New Year’s Resolutions – or…Lifestyle Changes

I’ve been hard at work over the past two weeks. Once again it’s time to make those New Year’s Resolutions…you know, those things you promise yourself you’ll do, and by the middle of January you’ve kicked them to the wayside. We’re all familiar with the resolutions that looked so good, so easy back in December when we were writing them down. And then, by the middle of January we’ve stopped doing them, and life continues just as it did before that little blip of changes in early January. Well, I’m here to tell you that you can keep up some of those resolutions with a little bit of forethought and planning.

So, what’s the magic “thing” you ask? Okay here it is. You’ve got to write down your goals or resolutions – I prefer to use the word goals, as resolutions carry such weight. Then, and here’s where it gets time-consuming, and requires planning; you’ve got to set up a series of steps in order to help you reach your goal. Nothing worth-while is easy, remember?

This is what I did. I wrote down my goals for the year. They actually filled up two pages in my notebook, which was more than a little intimidating, let me tell you! But once I got over my fright (!) I then broke them down into what I wanted to get done in January, and then each month thereafter. My next step was to break that down into steps that I can take each week to accomplish each larger goal by the end of 2015.

Now, after that comes the hard part. You’ve got to implement these changes. For each goal, write down a few reasons why you want to accomplish them. What will you get out of each accomplishment? For example I want to re-organize my house. So, what will I get out of this? Well, I’ll have a budget so that I’ll know where the money is going. When I want to make a meal, I’ll know if I’ve got the ingredients. When I have company I won’t have to spend hours running around in a panic picking-up and cleaning the house. If my house is picked-up, organized and clean, I’ll have more time to implement my other goals. Sounds good, right?

See? You can make resolutions and stick to them; it just takes the time to plan. And, always remember; – you are worth your time and energy! I wish you a Happy, Healthy New Year!! 2015 is your year to shine, and accomplish all that you wish!


Reflecting on Changing My Life

When I began this blog back in June, I was tired of who I was and how I was living. I needed to make a change to stop the depressed feelings and how I saw myself and my life. So these six months into my change, I was thinking about what I’ve done that is positive in my life, and what I need to work on in the coming New Year.

When I look back, the biggest change is that I became Vegan. I had been Vegetarian for years, but I finally made the big change. While on my way to changing my lifestyle, since I really don’t think of it as a “diet”, I was full of all the usual doubts. What will I eat when I go out was one of the biggest things that I blew up in my head. It turned out that I really didn’t have to worry about that one at all. I’ve since realized that if a restaurant doesn’t have a vegan option, you can usually request a dish without the cheese, and it’s been no problem anywhere I’ve gone. (Not that I eat out a lot.)

The biggest surprise in this change of mine is that there are people who feel it is their obligation to judge you. I’ll be in line at the store, and the person behind me, or cashier, will comment on the amount of fruits and vegetables I have in my cart. The usual question I get asked over and over again is where I get my protein from. I’ll address this issue in another blog after the New Year. My response to the people who question me is that they should eat more fruits and vegetables themselves, and find out more about the benefits of doing this. I try hard not to let the comments (and sometimes the comments can be fairly nasty) get to me. This change has been one with a learning curve, since I’ve had to find new recipes to try. I’ve actually found that I really like to eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables and haven’t missed the occasional egg or cheese. I had already stopped drinking milk, and I love Almond Milk. I use it as a substitute in recipes that call for milk. So, that is one good change that I’ve made and kept. And, the one that I’m proudest of.

I’ve found that my biggest issue has been my fitness goal. And that is one of the problems that I need to work on in the coming year. But, again, look at the positive changes you’ve made and make small goals that are achievable so that you can reach your larger goal. I’ll be working on my large goal list this week. I’ve got them pretty much down, and now I’m in the process of breaking them down into weekly and monthly steps. From the work I’ve done this year, I hope to continue achieving my goals for next year. One of the most important things I learned this year is if you don’t break your goals into small steps you can accomplish, all the resolutions in the world won’t help you achieve your goal. So, that’s what I’ll be up to this week. How do you plan on achieving your resolutions?

After Christmas Blues

Why are there after-Christmas blues? Is it just the materialism of Christmas that bothers so many people, or is it the let-down after all the excitement of Christmas? My feeling is that now that Christmas is over with, we still have the whole winter to get through before the relief of spring finally appearing. This year I was afraid that I would get the blues, but instead I awoke this morning with big plans.

Yep, “Big Plans” and a sense of relief. Yes, the cooking, baking, gift-giving is over with, and now I am free at last! Free to do what, you wonder? Free to make all those resolutions for the New Year! Never mind that most of them don’t get accomplished, I’m now free to sit down with my brand new blank notebooks, and fill them up with all the new ideas that my St. John’s Wort brain has once again (for the first time in quite a while) finally come up with. I don’t want to waste this opportunity and do nothing. On the contrary, I feel that this is the time.

So with those happy, excited feelings, I will spend most of my day planning. Not only making resolutions (that’s just the easy part), but also making goals, breaking those goals down into easily doable bit-sized pieces. I’ll let you know how it goes. And, what are you plans for New Year’s resolutions and goals?

The Gift of Christmas

Whether “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”, or “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” is the main focus of your holiday, Christmas should be looked at as a gift. I know, I know…I’ve been so disorganized this year and not nearly as ready as I should be, but Christmas is a gift we really need to give ourselves. In my house we did the whole run around to the relatives when the kids were small. However, one year they cried the whole way to “uncles” house, and that was it for me. From the next year on, we stayed home. And I’m so glad that I decided to stop the whole rat-race.

What a difference that decision made. We had time to open gifts, eat a leisurely breakfast, and make the big family dinner. However, the best part of our slowed-down day was the time my husband got to spend with our son putting his new Lego’s together. And that time was priceless. I also had time to dress Barbie in her new outfits with our daughter. There was even time to begin reading some of the new books Santa had brought for me to read aloud to the kids. It was a magical time that seemed so far out of the daily routines that it is still special years later.

While our children are no longer “kids” Christmas has still retained the magical feel. We spend the entire day together, and now watch a new movie that Santa brings for us, instead of me reading to the kids. Yes, no one still “believes” in Santa, but all the same, we get filled stockings and a few gifts left for us. Some things never change.

So, when you’re busy running around this week, feeling that horrible pressure to be all things to all people, please stop and take a breath. Remind yourself that Christmas is a gift.

The Spirit of the Season

Every year Christmas seems to sneak up on me. It’s like I lose the ability to understand that it’s on December 25th. I keep thinking that I have so much more time than I do. Somehow it’s the 15th, and I still think that I’ve got the entire month of December to prepare. Apparently every December I tend to think that the month is twice as long as it is, and not only that, there are 2 of every day.  Yes, I am a crazy person.

So, today I took a trip out to the stores early this morning, and realized that everyone is basically getting money and/or gift cards, and they won’t have any gifts to unwrap. I do have the stocking stuff done; but this will be an interesting Christmas. I’m giving my husband a gift-card; my son wants Dental Insurance and my daughter needs money. Other than the stocking stuffers there will be almost no gifts to open. I did pick my husband up something to open. But other than that there will be only a few gifts under the tree.

Now that my kids are grown, I just don’t feel excited about Christmas anymore. I used to plan it like the invasion of Normandy. I started buying some gifts over the summer, but by November 1st I had a whole agenda. The gifts, the food, the cards, etc. It was crazy. But I knew exactly what I had to do and when it needed to be done by. Now I just fly by the seat of my pants.

And, I think that’s just part of my problem. I’m not organized and I feel lost in the season. Anyway, I’ve decided this is the last year I’m going to let this happen. I’ve got to go back to my old planning guide and get this under control. It’s taking away the peace and joy of the holiday season, and I’m tired of feeling like the Grinch!

My Food Evolution

When I was in second grade, my teacher had us hatch eggs. No, we didn’t sit on them – that would be too silly. She brought in an incubator and lights and after a long time (at least it seemed that way to us), most of the eggs hatched. We were of course thrilled with the little yellow puff-balls, and all of us claimed that we would be able to bring at least one of them home with us when they were old enough.

I don’t remember how I managed to talk my parents into it, but somehow I did, and I got to bring home two of those sweet little chicks. We let them hang around the backyard, and at night my Dad had made a cage for them in the basement. It was my job to feed and clean up after them, and it was one of my favorite things to do. It was great fun to sit down and let them climb all over me. Then, I discovered that the two hens that we thought we had were in fact a hen and a rooster. We named the hen Lucy; she was a noisy little beast and was always squawking at the rooster, who we named Charlie Brown (he was just a little bit hen-pecked).

All went well for a while, but then Charlie Brown discovered that he could crow. And crow he did. All the time. And, that was the end of my clucking and crowing pets. My Mom had a friend who lived on a farm and that’s where Lucy and Charlie Brown ended up.

But, a funny thing happened after this pet interlude. I couldn’t eat chicken anymore. I would spit it into my napkin and give it to the dog who always sat under the table at my feet. This was added to the fact that I had never been able to eat lamb; that also was given to the dog; and do I have to mention liver? I had a very well-fed dog. So, at the age of 8 I wanted to stop eating meat. This didn’t go over well in my family, so I simply continued to spit it out in my napkin, and became a champion salad and veggie eater.

Then life went on, and I started to eat meat again (although never lamb, veal or liver), thinking that “someday” I would tackle this moral issue and do something about it. About 15 years ago I did do something about it and became a vegetarian. I made my family also become vegetarian. This didn’t work out well. I no longer have a screen door on my back door, and my husband and son now eat meat. But, my daughter is a vegetarian, and I’m now a vegan. And, I’m happy to report that the amount of meat that my husband and son eat has decreased dramatically, and when my son is able to move out; my husband will be eating even less meat. A fact that is so far unknown to him. He’ll find out given time…if he even notices. All he ever wants is food that tastes good.

I often feel badly that it took me so long to realize that I could change my eating habits, but I have and that’s a good thing. And, I hate that my husband and son do eat meat, but they eat less and less of it all the time. It’s been a long journey to get to this point, and hopefully more and more people will follow along. Vegan food is so good, and I’ve learned how to cook so many new things. Life is a process and the road is long and winding. I’m just glad it’s led me to this new lifestyle.