Please forgive me in this post, because I am going to be the next Hitler. Hitler, reincarnated, maybe? I’ll respond to Stalin as well.
Why such the stone cold face and lifeless heart?
BECAUSE YOU CAN KEEP YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS. You CAN keep ALL your New Year’s resolutions! Granted you are sane and made semi-plausible resolutions…
Why do I have such faith in all of you? The main reason is that I kept my resolution from January 2011 all the way to 2012. No slip ups, no issues, and only a few tears shed. Well, that is a lie because I don’t cry. I’m Hitler, for goodness sake.
Pffft. Yeah, but you must have given up something that you don’t like or resolved to do something you practically do all the time anyway. WRONG. I gave up sweets: brownies, icecream, truffles, jelly, Reese’s Pieces and Puffs, anything and everything with caramel, cheesecake, Kettle Corn, etc. And I have the sweet tooth the size of an elephant’s tusk, if I am being conservative.
How did I do it? Well, my good friends, that is what I am going to tell you, and you should listen this time. Most of what we want to give up is a learned behaviour. Smoking, eating chips while watching a movie, dessert after a meal, what have you. All habitual. What you need to do is define strict guidelines on how you want to change these behaviours. Here is what worked for me.
1. I love love to bake. Unfortunately, everything I love love to bake contains excessive amounts of sugar, more than likely chocolate, and pounds upon pounds of butter. So, the first week of the year, I went through and found probably hundreds of recipes I would like to try that I could actually eat. I packed away my favorite cook book, “The Chocolate Cook Book”, and any other one that I knew would tempt me. Not going to lie, it took me until October before I could bake sweets and not be tempted to lick the spoon or inhale all the finished products in one bite.
2. Define your resolution. For me, sweets excluded gum, breath mints only when gum was not available, coffee (including lattes but not mochas), and fake sweetened energy drinks only when I am in dire need. That is it. No ifs, ands, or buts.
3. I know it is impossible to get through Valentine’s Day without getting chocolate from someone, and Valentine’s Day just happens to lie in that 5-6th week when cravings are at their worst. Also, I know that I can’t get past Christmas without eating some of my grandmother’s lefse and my aunt’s famous cookies. So, I allowed myself all sweets, as much as I could eat, on holidays. This is where things get sketchy. Define “holiday.” For me, I included Valentine’s Day, my birthday (mainly because it is a holiday, duh), Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas day, and New Year’s Eve until I fell asleep on New Year’s Day.
The best/worst part of allowing sweets is overdoing it. I would definitely set limits on this. I generally ate so many sweets (Icecream for breakfast, anyone? …and for lunch? Okay. Why not.) that I got nauseated ill, every time. Totally worth it.
4. Tell EVERYONE about it in the first week or two. This creates some sort of
guilt factor responsibility that seems to keep me going, even when I didn’t want to. There were so many times when I was alone in a room with a dish full of candy just staring at me, yet I didn’t eat any. Why? Most of the time it was just because I wanted to prove so many people wrong who told me, “You? You couldn’t go without sweets for two hours.” Hah. Showed them.
5. Indulge in other things. Quitting smoking? Treat yourself to something: take the money you were otherwise spending on cigs and treat yourself to something that you previously told yourself you would. Not instant enough? Buy things in advance, wrap it up, and treat yourself when you are craving. My vice was chips and dip, french fries, and sweet potato fries. Heckuva trade, I would say.
6. Avoid situations where you know you will have control issues. For me, this meant avoiding my Grandma’s kitchen. I purposely walked further away to a different door just to avoid the kitchen. Okay, you can’t avoid all situations. Be polite about your resolution, don’t snap at people for not knowing, and don’t be filled with anger that they are a trigger for the bad habit you are trying to break. Around Christmas time, people just seem to hand out extra bake goods to make everyone else fat, making themselves feel better. By this time, most people you know are close enough to you that they just pass the food on by. Which usually directly prompts people that don’t know you to offer you some. This is when you can politely say that you have a New Year’s resolution against it, and watch people’s amazement. That alone is powerful stuff, and makes you want to keep doing it.
The main points from all that jazz is this: you are a lot stronger than you think you could ever be. Breaking things down into manageable steps is the key, right after defining every single little thing that you may possibly find a loophole to later when you are really not wanting to keep your resolution.
But Hitler wouldn’t say that. He would just tell you to do it, and you better darn well do it.