Stop Restricting. Resolve to Add Value to Your Life in 2013

Happy 2013! And to 2012, good riddance.


(Hello from New Year’s Eve in the Outer Banks.)

I never really got the whole New Year’s resolution thing.

To me, it seems as though we shouldn’t have to rely on just one day a year to re-evaluate what motivates us — to reset our intentions — in the first place. If we can be conscious of our own personal pitfalls — where we sometimes fall short in relation to where we could pick up the slack — then not only would we avoid this reliance on resolutions, but we could stop feeling as though we’re starting from zero at the start of every year.

With New Year’s resolutions, it seems as though we basically give ourselves the option to accept that we’ve been naughty — in the kitchen, in the gym, wherever — and then turn over a new leaf for the next 365 days and beyond. Yet not long after we sweep aside the confetti and toss the last of the champagne bottles, we realize that holy crap 365 days is a helluva long time. We slack. We quit. We concede and say, maybe next year.

It can become, in the words of Fat Bastard, a truly vicious cycle indeed.

That’s why I stopped setting such steadfast goals for the new year long ago. Instead, I aim to create resolutions that are rooted in things I don’t necessarily associate with happiness. Happiness shouldn’t reside in achievement alone.

Last year I resolved to accessorize more and mix patterns. A year later: mission accomplished. See? Flower shorts and plaid. Bam.

This year, I’ve resolved to stop dressing like I’m homeless (a habit from my days in a startup environment); take pride in my appearance and adopt a more professional day to day look.

In this vein, I also shy away from resolutions that place the spotlight on weight, body, skin, physical fitness levels, pant sizes and the likes. While, when reached, such lofty goals can be an incredible source of value and strength in our lives, when not reached, they can feel almost oppressive and cruel.

As a healthy living blogger who not all that long ago consumed meadows-worth of meat and mocked gym rats and yogis (the irony is surreal), I have set these kinds of goals in the past myself. “I will avoid burgers and french fries.” “I will eat less carbs.” “I will work out every-single-day-twelve-times-a-day.” I will, I will, I will. I get it; extreme feels good in theory. If it didn’t, why would we runners push ourselves to greater distances and speeds? Or wake up at 5am willingly?


Moderation, however, is what feels good — and more importantly, what works — in the long run.

This year, instead of eschewing burgers altogether, vow to incorporate a few new super-ingredients into your diet. Try kale. Try nutritional yeast. Try goji berries. Be creative, and have fun with it. You might even find yourself having so much fun playing chef that, like me, you’ll ultimately wind up forgetting about the burger; and when you do order the double whopper on occasion, it’s not the end of the world.

(From experience, I really can tell you that over time the healthy choices naturally overtake the non-healthy ones. It’s a very organic process, and one I can honestly say I am proud of. On that note, it’s also kind of fun to taste test cupcakes every now and then. Proof from Christmas break below.)


This year, instead of vowing to work your buns off everyday at the gym, try getting into a new form of exercise. Have you tried spinning? (I haven’t yet!) Does yoga pique your interest? How about running? Pilates? Zumba? The amazing part of the fitness world is its endless possibilities. Stop forcing yourself to simply “work out” and instead, experiment with different activities to find something you are truly passionate about. Last year, I got really in to running with friends. Noah included.


(Here we are in North Carolina over New Year’s.)

There are, of course, days when running feels like a chore rather than a passion. It happens; it always happens. We’re only human, and sometimes, our innate need for a lazy day on the couch overwhelms that inner drive that makes us tick and keeps us moving forward.

This year should be about you; after all, you deserve it. Make a list, check it twice, whatever. Just be sure that, when you do create your list of resolutions for 2013, that you think up ways to improve your life in the long run — not just through Valentine’s Day. And remember, it’s not about what you inhibit in your life; it’s about what you add.

  • How will you add value to your life in 2013? 
  • What are your New Year’s resolutions?

22 thoughts on “Stop Restricting. Resolve to Add Value to Your Life in 2013

  1. Such a great post! I completely agree with this philosophy and am actually writing a post on why I gave up counting calories and such this week.

    With that said, I’m going to be trying to add value to my life by disconnecting more and cooking more 🙂

    • Ugh, I totally agree. Counting calories is something I could never ever do. It’s not that I don’t have the discipline; I just think it’s such a slippery slope, and when you’re filling your body with healthful ingredients, there should be no limit. Cooking more and disconnecting more are GREAT resolutions; you’ll be adding delicious food and, wait for it, FREE TIME (does this even exist?) to your life. Godspeed 🙂

  2. Such a beautiful and refreshing post – this is so much more healthy, logical, fun, etc. than a post detailing 13 things you won’t be eating/doing in 2013. I know I am not happy when I’m constantly restricting myself!
    Here’s to a happy and healthy new year! x

    • Quite the contrary, like most girls, I spent a sad part of my life restricting and, in the end, it certainly only made me sadder. It’s the worst! After a week of shenanigans for New Years and Christmas, I’ve decided to add lots of fresh veggies to my plate, that way there will be less room for other ingredients. Not restricting; just choosing wisely!

      A happy and healthy 2013 to you too.

  3. Love it. 🙂 I just wrote my resolution post on living in the PRESENT rather than the past or the future. I love what you said about a long-term resolution that’s not just for the first few weeks of the year. So true! A resolution should be something that you bring with you FOREVER and not a chore you forget about after a finite period of time. Happy new year!

    • I like this concept — about forgetting the past and not necessarily looking toward the future. Happy New Year, and great post on your end! The Alchemist is one of my all-time favorite reads. Beautiful reference.

  4. Love this post! Such a positive and realistic approach to the new year. When thinking about my goals for 2013, I didn’t quantify as much as I’ve done in the past, and tried to think of things that will make this year richer. Maybe that’s not too different than typical NY resolutions, but my intentions felt different.

    • I really like that idea of “making this year richer.” Wonder if we can think of simple ways to enrich every day … even the bad ones.

  5. I like to set a mix of measurable goals (like races, or # of books read) and resolutions (such as eat more whole foods). I completely agree, though, that people use New Year’s as a way to “start at zero”. I like to think of myself as evaluating where I am now, and where I’d like to be.

    • That’s exactly what I mean, and I love it. Rather than “run to lose weight,” choosing awesome races. Rather than “exercise my mind,” picking out great books. And of course, choosing more whole foods will always add value to your life. Which are on your list this year? I need some new ones after last year’s adventure with nutritional yeast.

      • I want to experiment with squash a little more. I also have yet to become a kale eater, even though it’s all-the-rage on healthy-eating blogs. But, mostly, I want to concentrate on choosing whole foods over packaged and processed foods–especially for snacking, which is my downfall!

  6. Fantastic post! I’ve most definitely fallen into that “vicious cycle” and it’s been far from a blast pulling myself out of it. I plan on finding that balance, which is a MUST as the adventures of back-to-school on top of day job/relationship/blog/podcast responsibilities. Thanks again 🙂

    • Thank you so much! I think everyone has fallen into that vicious cycle, and I can’t even say I won’t ever again. It’s sometimes nice to put it on paper though — the fact that we DON’T HAVE TO. We can find ways to inspire instead of degrade. Happy New Year!

  7. I agree with the resolutions, they simply don’t work. Live the life you want daily. You have a great perspective on the year to come. I have a vision of what I would like, some of these are achievements and others are of how I would like my relationships to look like; as with any relationship, change comes from within, so I will, look within myself to grow and learn. Happy New Year!

    • That was really beautifully put. It’s amazing what a difference your personal relationships can make on everything else in your life. It’s a lifelong learning process, I suppose.

  8. I completely agree. I think it’s not so much keeping resolutions as it is refreshing your mindset and attitudes. Also, your attire at the office was definitely homeless chic (coming from a former coworker!)

  9. Pingback: 5 Mile Monday: 7am Heartache in Central Park « Will Run For Glitter

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