← back to the blog

A Clean Slate

New Year’s resolutions are a funny thing. It makes just as much sense to resolve to better yourself on your birthday or at the beginning of a new school year or the start of a new month, or heck, even on the dawn of a new day. But without fail, promises to lose weight, get in shape, eat healthy, gain control of your finances, quit smoking, or any other number of things always crop up on January 1st.

Maybe it’s just that we need a new preoccupation after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Maybe it’s that there’s something so appealing about hanging up a new calendar or that it feels so novel to write the date as “2011” instead of “2010.” According to Irish tradition (my family is of Irish heritage), it’s even considered unlucky to start the new year without first giving your house a thorough cleaning. In so many ways, we’re all encouraged to begin anew on January 1st, the day of the clean slate.

I love resolutions for better health. That’s part of why I started this blog. But the problem with jumping on the January 1st bandwagon is that resolutions tend to get much harder on January 2nd and even harder still on January 3rd. If you’re making a resolution simply because it’s that time of the year (rather than wanting to put in the day-to-day work that it will take to accomplish your goal), you’ll soon feel frustrated, quit, and be less likely to try the next time.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t make a New Year’s resolution. It’s always commendable to do something positive for your health. But instead of an all-or-nothing, once-a-year effort, follow these tips for doable change:

Set a realistic goal. If you’re a lifelong couch potato, don’t resolve to run a marathon. It’s certainly a worthy target, but something that big can easily become overwhelming if you feel you must do it all at once. Instead, start small and work your way up. Resolve to first run one mile without stopping, then complete a 5K, then a 10K, and so on. And be sure to celebrate each success along the way!
Try weekly mini-resolutions. Decide to do one new healthy thing every day for a week (for example, “I will walk for 20 min every day this week” or “Every morning this week, I will eat a piece of fresh fruit with breakfast”), and add a new one each week until you’ve slowly accomplished your goals.
Keep a resolution diary. In the pursuit of any worthy goal, you will have ups and downs. Write about your successes and set-backs, and periodically review your entries to keep things in perspective. And remember, a stumble doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. Pick yourself up and get back on track.

Take advantage of your clean slate and make 2011 your best year yet! Keep moving, my friends!

– Alan

Have questions or comments on our blog? Or do you have a topic you'd like Alan to address in a future blog post? Email us at .
Menu Title