Turd in the punchbowl that I am, I’m not big into the whole New Year’s resolution thing. Deciding to get my
sh stuff together because of some arbitrary flip of some arbitrary calendar just doesn’t resonate. But I can’t deny that once we put the period between Halloween to New Year behind us, we’re faced with an optimal opportunity to focus on change.
The problem is many people go big when research continues to demonstrate that the process of change is hard and best achieved in an incremental vs. big bang fashion. This post offers suggestions for incremental changes you can make throughout the year. These suggestions are achievable, beneficial and, oh yeah, make Karma Sense. They’re Karma Sense New Year’s Resolutions.
Karma Sense New Year’s Resolutions
Below I offer nine suggestions for habits you can adopt in 2017. Embrace any one and do it for thirty days, and you’ll transition into 2018 significantly healthier and happier. And with an army of us healthy and happy people, we’ll be able to save the world.
#1 Envision What You Want for 2017
This one starts really easy. Allocate some time to focus on what your ideal self will be doing one year from now. Ask yourself:
- What will be occupying my time?
- With whom will I spend my time?
- How pretentious do I feel by asking myself “whom?”
- Where will I be physically and emotionally?
- How will I feel?
Try to explore all your senses. Hear your future. Smell, taste and feel your future. See your future. Traverse the many aspects of this future in your mind until you have a complete picture.
That’s it. Karma Sense New Year’s Resolution complete. This activity alone will inspire most people to take some small step to make that vision happen. But if you want to take this resolution to the next level, be your future (Danny).
#2 Be Your Future
Whether you decided to take on Karma Sense New Year’s Resolution #1 or not, ask yourself this question regularly throughout the day.
How is what I’m doing right now helping me be who I want to be?
For example, if you would like to be more active in 2017, you may decide you’re going to exercise three times each week. But what about on days you don’t or can’t exercise? Are there other ways to be active? Can you walk the stairs instead of riding the elevator? Look for the farthest parking spot instead of the closest (this will often save you time too)! Do extra chores around the house (saves you money)!
Sure, these ideas don’t work for everybody but that’s not where this resolution is trying to get you. The point of resolution #2 is only to ask the question, “How can I make sure what I have to do also serves what I want to do?”
Just ask the question. If you’re stuck talk it out with someone else (use form below or contact me).
If you can’t remember to pause for this question, create events in your calendar or set timers throughout the day. Even no answer is progress towards your goal. If there is no solution it’s because you’ve chosen something else as a higher priority and you should be at peace with that choice.
#3 Perform Regular Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness
Over the course of your life, you developed habits of kindness. I’m talking about the practices you perform on auto-pilot with no other motivation beyond courtesy, love, virtue or tolerance. You may consider them small or of little consequence. Still, I thank you for those.
For this Karma Sense New Year’s Resolution, why not add an additional act of kindness to your routine each day? You decide what it is. Don’t worry about going big. Make it something that’s not in your current bag of tricks.
Then, own it! Observe, if you can, the effect it has on others. How does the target respond? What effects does it have? Was it what you expected? How does it make you feel? Do you want to change it in the future? Or try something different?
If it helps, take notes on your experience.
This act of intentional goodness should have two results. Certainly, it should benefit the recipient(s). But also, it’s a path to the self-love and self-affirmation that you deserve. Here is a link to one of many studies that demonstrate the positive effects of adopting a resolution like this. Granted, this sample study was done by Canadians and on Canadians, but still…
#4 Acknowledge the Goodness in Everyone
80% of neuroethnobiologists agree that 92% of the time, a regular gratitude practice improves happiness by 36%. Now, I have no idea what that means. And I’m the one who made that statistic up. But there are a bunch of studies and statistics that I also don’t understand and that I did NOT make up that prove the health and happiness benefits of a consistent intentional gratitude practice.
Each one of the 112 studies I found states its own case using a different cohort with different practices and different, yet positive results. Here’s what I’ve been able to conclude from those parts of the study that I do understand:
- Gratitude practices are easy and require no skill or training.
- Gratitude practices have minimal impact on your busy schedule or other precious resources. There is no cost or obligation.
- Individual results may vary when engaging in a regular gratitude practice but no subjects ended up worse off by adopting one. Especially Canadians.
So, carve out a regular predictable time of each day and focus only on pondering the things you’re grateful for. If you find your mind wandering from this task, be grateful that you discovered that fact and go back to contemplating the people, places and things that you appreciate.
Can’t think of anything? Nothing? Then be grateful for your individuality. Because you are the only person in this world in that situation. And also, Canada.
#5 Eat Slowly and Stop Before You’re Full
One of the barriers to people keeping New Years resolutions is that the resolutions are outcome based (e.g., I will lose 40 pounds) or they are too vague (e.g. I will eat healthier).
When your resolution is outcome based, you start to lose control of it. In the example of losing 40 pounds, you can certainly engineer a downward trajectory of your total weight but you can’t easily manage the pace or endpoint. There are too many variables that conspire against you. Successful resolutions are process or habit oriented; not outcome oriented.
When your resolution is too vague, you never had control of it. You can’t measure progress.
If your goal for 2017 is anything close to losing weight or eating healthier, then there is one adjustment you can make that’s measurable and will have the greatest impact on weight and health and that is to Eat Slowly and Stop Before You’re Full.
You can learn more about how and why this works by watching this 30-minute video about Karma Sense Eating. You’ll enjoy the visual aids and the warm approachable style of its handsome narrator. So handsome, that at no time does he appear on the screen to prevent any viewers from turning to stone (Ha! Ha! Greek mythology humor).
I know, Eat Slowly and Stop Before You’re Full still sounds pretty vague. It doesn’t have to be. Only you know how quickly you eat and what your tipping point to fullness is. But if you’re stuck…
#6 Eat Protein in Every Meal
Eat protein in every meal. How’s that for an easy resolution? And it’s one that can improve your health in many ways. You’ll be less hungry and your body’s immune system and recovery processes will work better.
Protein is essential for life. When you eat protein in every meal, you’re making sure your body aways has the materials to repair whatever damage you’ve inflicted upon yourself throughout the day. Fat and carbohydrates are essential macronutrients too but neither is as critical to health maintenance as protein.
Protein is also satisfying. It’s harder to fill up on crap when you’ve focused on eating high-quality protein like meat, fish, dairy, eggs, beans, nuts, seeds and soy.
This one change will help you better manage your hunger and will likely improve your quality of life.
To adopt this resolution, it’s important to spread your protein throughout the day because your body has an upper limit of how much it can metabolize at one time. Doubling your intake at dinner because you had a bacon-free doughnut for breakfast isn’t going to help.
A recent New York Times article asked, “Can You Get Too Much Protein?” Great question New York Times. It’s a pity that in the 1600 fear-mongering words that followed, you never actually answered it. So I will. Yes, you can get too much protein. But most people don’t eat close to the upper limits suggested by such health-focused organizations as the Institute of Medicine (motto: ICD-10-CM Z76.0 Encounter for Issue of Repeat Prescription). The Institute suggests a range of 55 to 180 grams per day for 150-pound (68 kg) adult.
And since your portable food scale is probably on the fritz, here’s a more convenient way to track your protein intake. Look at the size of your palm when your hand is open. Women should aim for a serving about the size of one outstretched palm. Men should double it.
#7 Eat More Vegetables and Fruits
This one’s even easier than resolution #6 was. It doesn’t matter how much vegetables or fruits you eat, eat more of them. Eat a variety of flavors, colors and shapes. Eat them raw or cooked.
Vegetables and fruits are nutritional powerhouses that are relatively low in calories.
Don’t like them? The internet is replete with recommendations to reduce your revulsion.
I have had 100% success in turning vegetable haters into vegetable lovers. When all else fails, roast.
Here’s an idea, cut cauliflower heads into popcorn sized florets. Toss the florets in olive oil and salt and spread on a roasting pan. Roast at 375º F (190º Celsius) until charred to your liking. You now have cauliflower popcorn. Rogue One-worthy cauliflower popcorn. You’re welcome.
If you’re interested in adopting this resolution but your stuck…
#8 Go Deep or Wide
Habit change pundits (such a thing exists only they don’t call themselves that) say that after about thirty days of adopting a new behavior, it becomes a habit. If you selected one of the resolutions above and it’s now a habit, why not go deeper or wider?
To go deep, tweak the changes you’ve made so they better align with the life you want. To go wide, pick up another of the Karma Sense New Year’s Resolutions above or maybe even a related but more complex one.
If you’d like to go deep or wide but are stuck, I’m here for you. Or if working directly with me frightens you because I’m kind of strange, you can get the same help from afar by adopting Resolution #9 (never to be confused with The Beatles Revolution 9 which is also strange but a little repetitive if you ask me).
#9 Resolve to Be Happy. Be Healthy. Save the World!
Get your copy of The Karma Sense Eating Plan and adopt all or none of its crazy good advice for being happier, healthier and for saving the world. It is over 300 pages of in-depth and realistic information on how to improve your life without being preachy, heavy-handed or dull. But even if you choose to ignore any of its wisdom, you’ve still taken a step towards saving the world. I donate all profits from the sale of The Karma Sense Eating Plan to Alice’s Kids. Learn more here.
|Hardcopy or Kindle ($9.99)||Fully Hyperlinked PDF Version|
And those are your nine easy to keep resolutions. I’d love to hear how they work out for you. Have a great New Year!
How Things Worked For Me