Why bother with New Year’s resolutions?

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I have a wee obsession with the New Year. Not 2019 specifically, you understand, but New Years in general.

The idea of having a new start, jarring with the realisation of how often I fail in life, is a constant theme on this blog. Three years ago, I wrote When the New Year fails before it’s even begun as an attempt to get my head round the suffocating culture of continual self-improvement laid before us at the start of a fresh year.

This time last year I warned us (read: myself) not to rely too heavily on New Year’s resolutions as a source of control over our lives, or a means by which we could berate ourselves when we messed up.

(Quite amazingly, I appear to have written a New Year blog post Every.Single.Year since this blog began – a full list can be found at the start of this blog post.)

I’m not sure if I’m a perfectionist, exactly, but I certainly can’t seem to kick the habit of setting myself impossibly high standards for what I’ll be able to achieve in my day, my week, my family life, my career, my whatever. So, the reminder of grace and forgiveness at this time of the year is pertinent for me.

Having said all that, I do enjoy making New Year’s resolutions! For me, they’re not so much about ‘bettering’ myself, but a recognition that I’m changing and maturing each year, and want (or need) to develop new habits to support this.

For example, in 2013, I decided we would make a concerted effort to host Sunday lunches as much as possible. This habit served us well when, in 2014, my husband started working for a new church: our routine of inviting people for Sunday lunch meant that we could gradually invite the whole congregation. It took around a year to do – but sharing lunch together with two or three others was a fantastic way of getting to know our new church family in a more relaxed way than the quick chat-over-a-cuppa after services.

Even today, although the habit has waned a little, we still try and host Sunday lunch as much as possible – in fact, our kids are disappointed when we don’t!

Two years ago, I set myself a ‘resolution’ to get into a better daily habit of Bible reading. I used Tim Keller’s My Rock, My Refuge, which took me through the Psalms in a year – and through 2018 I’ve enjoyed The Way of Wisdom, which is his reflections on the Proverbs. Daily Bible reading was a good resolution, and one which has actually stuck!

As long as they come with the proviso that I don’t base my value around their success – New Year’s resolutions can be really helpful ways of acknowledging the changes that are occurring in my life, and making an intentional commitment to make it better in some aspect.

One of the many reasons I’m excited about my latest writing project is because I know it’s going to help so many people with so many of their resolutions for 2019!

I’ve contributed both recipes and a 4-week meal plan to a HUGE digital collection of recipes, meal plans, healthy eating resources and printables called the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle. I’ve had the privilege of early access, and it covers SO many bases:

  • If your 2019 resolution is to do with health and fitness, this bundle will help, with over 1000 healthy recipes for ‘clean eating’.
  • If you’re aiming to budget better this year, then the bundle will guide you through the idea of meal planning each week, and give you a stack of brilliant ideas for shaving the pounds off your weekly grocery shop.
  • If you have a dream to follow outside the kitchen, and need to use your time better in order to free up some hours, then this recipe collection is perfect. It contains a huge number of ideas for meals which can be prepared in less than 30 minutes, or put in the slow cooker, or made in bulk and frozen.
  • If this is the year you want to learn to cook, or teach your kids to cook, then the bundle can help there too, with loads of quick and easy recipes which don’t take an experienced cook to prepare – as well as a fantastic ‘Knife Skills for Kids’ course which I’m reading at the moment, with a view to using with my kids this year.
  • If you want to improve your cooking skill, or widen your repertoire (this is me: I’ve totally got into a recipe rut recently!), then you’ll find hundreds of recipes with quite different flavour combinations or cooking methods to what you’re used to, as the vast majority of them come from the US and Canada, where cooking styles are refreshingly different! There’s also a ‘Flavour Crash Course’ (usually $200 on its own) which is a great way to step your cooking up a level by understanding how flavours work together to create your own recipes.
  • If you’ll be following a new diet in 2019 – whether by choice or not – then this is the bundle for you, with over 700 dairy-free recipes, over 700 nut-free, over 400 vegetarian, over 800 gluten-free, plus hundreds of sugar-free, egg-free, soy-free, paleo and keto recipes too.

One of my own resolutions this year is to make more interesting, healthier breakfasts – I’m doing the Breakfast Bootcamp along with some of you, and finding that a helpful start, but the Breakfasts cook book within the Healthy Meal Planning bundle has such an extensive range of ideas that I can’t wait to get started this week! Many of them are make-ahead, so I can prepare a batch of something which will then feed me all week.

Over to you – do you make resolutions? Do any of the above resolutions resonate with you, either for this year or a previous year?

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