Delicious Living Blog

Why healthy New Year’s resolutions fail

Can't remember your 2011 New Year's resolution? Don't beat yourself up. It’s difficult to make a healthy change in a culture of quick fixes that doesn’t value realistic goals when it comes to diet, exercise, or other habits. Find out why most resolutions fail and how to make simpler changes this year. Plus, easy tips for cooking, eating more of the most important nutrients, taking supplements, using safer personal care products and more.

OK, so perhaps you’re the super-committed type who diligently writes out the 10 steps you need to take to fully realize your New Year’s resolution —and then does it. But, let’s be honest. How many of you actually remember what your 2011 resolutions were? Neither do I.

Well, don’t beat yourself up. It’s difficult to make a healthy change in our culture of quick fixes that doesn’t value realistic goals—sensible plans that might actually come down to the obvious (drink more water, anyone?). The truth is we’ve developed some pretty distorted views about healthly habits, such as cooking or exercising. Have you set yourself up for failure by believing in an impossible ideal? Tara Parker Pope nailed it in a recent New York Times blog about An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler:

Why are so many of us intimidated by cooking? It may be that this convenience-food generation never got to see our mothers and grandmothers boiling and roasting meals without a recipe, turning the leftovers into hash or stew. Instead we are guided by cooking shows that celebrate the elaborate preparations and techniques that Ms. Adler calls “high-wire acts.”

“Anybody who grew up with a lot of home cooking around them knows that you can have eggs for dinner or that lentils can become pancakes tomorrow,” [Tamar] said. “But sometimes we just don’t know that we can do that because they don’t do that on TV.”

Or, as our senior food editor Elisa Bosley put it: “People don’t have a sense that they can do it ... they don’t trust their own senses, and they don’t have the basic skills to make it happen. So they give up before they start.”

This year, I’ve committed to changing the tone of mornings in my household by refusing to give in to what my boss calls “blender brain”—you know, that stressful, reactive mindset that spins out scenario after scenario until everything seems like an opaque, impenetrable mess. How can I possibly succeed in taking care of myself and my family if I feel totally overwhelmed? So, I will start by simplifying: One thing at a time.

What’s your resolution? For ideas, check out these 36 super-simple tips that inspired me most in 2011 (no complicated steps, I promise!). Whatever your goal, expert recommendations such as these can help you keep on track. And stay in touch—let us know how it’s going on the Delicious Living Facebook page. I wish you lots of inspiration in making a healthy change this year!

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