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New Year, Fresh Start

by Beth on December 28th, 2020

Are you as ready for 2021 as I am? The beginning of a new year is often filled with hope for positive change. January 1 is a “temporal landmark”, a day that stands out from other days. The beginning of a new year gives us a chance to start over. We can wipe the slate clean and give ourselves a fresh start.

Temporal landmarks can make change easier because we view our future self differently from our past and present self. We can decide who we want that new person to be. I did this last January when I changed my diet. The old me ate meat, while the new me prefers a plant-based diet.

Not only is it easier to do things differently when we hit a temporal landmark, but we are also motivated to continue the new behavior to preserve our perfect record. I’m less tempted to eat meat now because I don’t want to break my streak. So if there’s a change you’ve been wanting to make in your life, January 1 is a great time for a fresh start!

But just deciding that you want to change isn’t enough. We all know that New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep. Your motivation will wane, so you need to take steps to stick with your resolution. You’ll be more successful if you pick one goal to focus on and make it specific. Commit to exercising for 30 minutes 3 days each week, not just exercising more. Aim for eating 30 different plants every 7 days, not just eating healthier. Resolve to turn the lights out by 10:30 pm, not just get more sleep.

A detailed plan can help you stay on track. Decide when and where you will exercise. Plan your meals ahead of time so you can make sure to include a wide variety of plants. Set an alarm at 10:00 pm to remind you it’s time to wrap things up and head to bed.

Tell others about your resolution so they can support you and keep you accountable. And be kind to yourself when you slip up! You will have setbacks and it’s important not to use them as an excuse to give up. Instead, use them to explore what might have gone wrong and make changes to your plan. Perhaps you’ll find fewer reasons not to exercise if you do it first thing in the morning. Or maybe you need more than a 30-minute warning to get organized before going to bed. Stay flexible and celebrate the progress you do make.

What will you do differently in 2021? Here’s to a new year and a fresh start!

From → Goals, Health, Well-being

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