A Vision of Success – An Alternative to New Year’s Resolutions

10106984573_af30744f70_oDon’t you hate New Year’s Resolutions? Seriously, how many of those grandiose goals actually make it through the year? Through the month? If you’ve successfully held to your resolutions in the past, I’d love to hear your story. But for the most part, all I hear about is failure.

Don’t get me wrong, failure is a part of life. Failure is a sign that you’re trying. In his recent blog on the subject, Steve Morris pointed out that Bill Gates and Donald Trump were both wonderfully successful failures. Still, I’d have to argue that all that learning eventually gets discouraging.

My issue with resolutions isn’t with their content but with their lack of results. I’m supposed to pick one giant goal for my entire year? Life just doesn’t work like that.

Let’s look at a common one: In 2014, I will adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Great, so what does that mean? It lacks detail. It lacks the vision necessary to succeed. So, humor me, and we’ll tighten it up a bit.

My new resolution is: I will eat healthier in 2014.

Awesome, I like that one enough. Not so specific that I’ll fail frequently, but specific enough to measure my success at the end of the year. It’s not a S.M.A.R.T. goal, but it’ll do.

But here’s the real problem. My life is about so much more than eating. Honestly, it’s about more than health, too. What about family? Friends? Schooling? Work aspirations? Writing goals? That herb garden I’ve been meaning to start for years?

All the sudden, I’ve made this huge promise to the universe that I will make healthy eating my priority throughout the year. It just doesn’t seem realistic to me. My life is too multi-faceted for that—I’m betting yours is to.

(And if you’re going to tell me that a resolution isn’t about pinpointing your focus for the year to come, then what the heck is it?)

I must sound so difficult at this point. Just a Grinch of New Year’s. I’m not, I promise. I’m just a revolutionary.

I propose this instead: Write a vision for your 2014. Make it encompass everything that’s important to you. What do you want to be looking back at come December? What would make you satisfied and happy with life?

Be specific enough so that you can say “success” or “fail.” But not so specific that you’re failing more days than not. Write it out. Keep it somewhere safe. Reread it in the months to come to gauge your progress.

I’m breaking mine up into sections: Relationships (read: family and friends), School, Writing, Finances, Health. It’ll be about a page long. (To be totally honest, it’s coming a little late because 2013 ended with a lot of partying… Ahem, anyway.)

I want to encourage everyone to take this spin on your New Year. Give yourself a vision to fulfill, not a resolution to fail. Write it down. Send it to me via comment, or post it in your blog and leave me a link. I’ll weigh in on your vision from my perspective and give you a bit of cheerleading, too.

[Photo Credit: , Flickr ]

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Starting Over Again – Making a Healthy Lifestyle Stick

healthy snack fruit and cacao

There are a ridiculous amount of healthy lifestyle blogs. I should know, I read them religiously and run one myself now. I’ve always wondered what motivates other people to editorialize their journey. My motivation is to use this blog as a method of accountability.

I’ve always been a writer. It’s part of my soul. Words are always there for me. Through my hardest times, the written word is my only form of expression. It makes sense, then, that whenever I want to change my life, I turn to some kind of journal. It helps keep me on track and it serves as evidence for Future Alex (that’s me).

I’ve kept journals my entire life. Some of them must have come right out of an owl’s mouth—‘cause they’re a hoot! Oh, to read about my high school woes is entertainment at its finest. I love the proof that I have matured; in comparison, I actually seem like a real adult!

But sometimes, these logs backfire. I have kept an “I Can Eat Just One” blog in some form for about two years. I’ve used the same title over many platforms as a way to track my progress to a healthy life. Life’s journeys are so rarely a straight line; they’re more like roller coasters. As far as health and weight loss, my past blogs only serve as evidence that I’ve gotten nowhere.

If you check out my progress, you’ll see two pictures: one from December 2011 and one from January 2012. I look the same. Those pictures are two attempts to “start over.” Here we are, December 2013, and I’m doing it again.

I’ve got a better plan this time and a lot in my life is different. I’m finally in a solid place emotionally and I think that will make a huge difference. Previously, I tried to gain control of my health so I would have control of something. Now, I have a good handle on the rest of my life and I feel better equipped to focus on my health.

It will take focus. I have a lot of bad habits to undo.

That brings me here, to this blog. I aim for Eat Just One to serve as a way to keep myself accountable. I hope to find support in the vast healthy lifestyle blogosphere. And I hope to—once and for all—write down the words that will serve as proof for Future Alex that she did do something absolutely amazing by turning her health around.

And since I’m naturally curious, let me know: Why did you start your blog? If you don’t have one, have you considered it? Weight in by commenting!

[Photo Credit: Jennifer, Flickr SweetOnVeg]