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Resolve to Change One Step at a Time

Bundle your goals into one multipurpose resolution for greater success in 2013.

By Colleen Walsh Fong

Are you setting New Years’ resolutions this year? 

Last year Franklin Covey time management experts surveyed 15,000 people about their New Years resolutions and found that only 23% of resolutions were kept. Moreover, many were broken before the first month of the new year ended. That translates into roughly only 1 in 4 resolutions succeeding. Any regular user of athletic facilities knows that January’s crowded machines and weight rooms will look like ghost towns by February 1. 

40% of those who responded to the Franklin Covey survey chalked their unfulfilled resolutions up to having made too many to keep. One might reasonably surmise that resolution makers who over do their make-over goals feel so overwhelmed they drop them all.

A good solution to this problem may be to make just one or two resolutions, or to “bundle” the achievement of several objectives into one activity. 

For example, people often receive the gift of an athletic club membership for Christmas, because one of several resolutions is to become more physically fit. Then, when their post-holiday real-world life becomes hectic, they start tossing resolutions off, like a pilot dumping the fuel of a downward spiraling plane. Suppose instead a person sets just a few related resolutions, like: 

1.     Improve physical health;

2.     Become more physically fit;

3.     Improve mental clarity; and 

4.     Lose weight in order to look and feel more attractive.

That person could “bundle” all four of those resolutions into one and achieve those results by keeping that one resolution: work out at a fitness facility for 45 minutes per day on the same 3 days each week.  Keeping just that one resolution would actually help achieve all of the 4 listed above. 

Not so many years ago I had a few problems. I had a time problem, I had a budget problem, and I had a minor weight problem. I didn’t solve my problems by setting New Year's resolutions, but I could have done so by setting just one. I did solve the problems without realizing at the time that one action I was taking had the residual effect of solving multiple problems.

My time problem revolved around the need to shuttle my kids to very time consuming recreational activities, and helping to oversee the rigorous tasks and assignments that came with their accelerated academic programs. I worked and had the responsibility of feeding them, too.

In the budget area more money seemed to be flowing out than was coming in. 

In the weight area I was eating lots of “comfort” foods, all high in saturated fats and low in nutrition in order to salve my stress and fit our hectic lives. I needed fast food to keep to our schedule, but the foods I was eating and feeding to my family were bad for our health.

Because time and money were tight I sat down and developed the menu plans and recipes that ultimately evolved into the Easy Weekly Meals eCookbook Series. Of course, this didn’t happen over night! I spent years developing quick and easy recipes that tasted good to my family and also delivered the nutrients we needed to build good health. Not all of the recipes were hits, and those that couldn’t be fixed by the third tweaking were discarded. By following the menu plans, and by recording them for future use, I saved time, money, and lost weight. 

I saved time because I made the recipes quick and easy.  Dishes that are simple to make can have complex and really tasty flavors when interesting ingredients and spices are used. Another time-saving trick was using all of my leftovers in subsequent meals. Since the meat was already cooked, the prep time was short. And pairing it with different ingredients, side dishes, and spices from another cuisine turned it into a totally different meal.

I cut my food expenditures significantly by avoiding expensive carry out/drive thru or restaurant food, and cooking at home. By planning my weekly meals in advance, I only bought the food I needed at the grocery store, and then used all of that food throughout the week.

My weight came off because our meals were balanced and healthy. And another side benefit came in the form of the time my family spent together eating and preparing our quick meals. Over the years my collection of easy meal plans grew. As I researched and learned more about healthy diet, I amended recipes to contain less fat, less gluten, and fewer additives. And for even healthier meals, I compiled a list of healthy substitutions to our easy recipes. That list now appears on the Easy Weekly Meals Healthy Substitutions Page.

Over the last two years as coauthor, Nanette Littlestone and I assembled Easy Weekly Meals for College Students, tested the book on real college students and others, and then began to do cooking demos on college campuses and to sell the book, we found that we were able to help college kids achieve multiple objectives just by using our book! They reported having more time on their hands and more money in their wallets by using our meal plans. In essence, the books have helped users to simultaneously accomplish several goals, such as eating healthier food, losing weight, and reducing food expenses—just as they had done for me when my children were younger. And the inexpensive books often pay for themselves in the first week of use.

Did you resolve to lose weight in the new year? To eat a healthier diet? Do you want to focus on finances? Get more organized with your saving and spending? Or spend more quality time with your kids?

Set just one resolution this New Years Day. Resolve to use Easy Weekly Meals for College Students or Easy Weekly Meals for Moms on the Go this year and watch your other goals fall in line. 

Have a happy and healthy New Year the Easy way.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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