Happy new year, from the third week of January. How are those resolutions going?
Statistically speaking, if you have stuck with your resolve, you are doing pretty darned well. By the end of the month, one third will have been broken; by summer it’s well over half. But take heed! Resolutions may be meant to be broken, but goals are meant to be reset. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It’s a saying for a reason.
New year’s resolutions boil down to a time-driven excuse to make a life change. And topping that list, in some way, shape or form, is health. (Okay, in 2018 the #1 slot was occupied by “saving money,” but “losing weight or getting in shape” came in a close second, a decent proxy for health in my book). By the way, there’s nothing magical about changing on Jan 1st. There’s just momentum around it, ritual, and this enhances resolve. But if you’re reading this on any other day of the year, you can still resolve to make a change.
Health and wellness goals can encompass a wide swath of topics. Want to eat more whole foods? Reduce sugar intake? Drink more water? How about sleeping more? Stressing less? Not biting or picking your nails? Or zits? Want to sweat more often, push your workout harder, or just get up and going with regularity? Want to learn to do the splits? Or how about touch your toes? All of these – and you can probably think of 15 more right this instant – can be filed under the Health tab.
Our kids strive to live healthfully in many of the same ways that we do. They feel better when they eat cleaner, lower-sugar foods and sleep that extra hour. They are energized by exercise, not to mention walking away from the screens. Almost every truism about healthy living that applies to us adults applies to them as well. They just don’t necessarily have the money, transportation or access to put their goals into action. Or the language. They know they feel better when they live healthier lives, but it can be hard for them to articulate why.
So this mid-January, don’t just reset your own lifestyle goals, recalibrate for your entire family. Educate yourselves, set goals, and then set out to achieve them. Jump into debates about the quality of your food, from hidden sugar (here’s a good basic primer if you need one) to school lunches (check out this article about how specific foods wind up on 30 million plates per day). And make sure to add self-forgiveness to your list of resolutions. Because if you try to make a change or two and then you stumble, there’s always Feb 1st, March 1st, April 1st…