As I watched the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, feeling blessed to ring in another year with my loved ones, I was holding onto something else that was bright, shiny and twinkling: my New Year’s Resolution.
In 2019, I was going to get sugar out of my diet once and for all. If my use of the past tense didn’t already give it away, my resolve has been broken… and, in case you haven’t checked the calendar in a while, it’s only February.
On December 31st, however, I was very committed to saying adieu to my sweetest pleasure. Mind you, I was in the midst of indulging in all of the sugary trappings of a well-desserted New Year’s Eve celebration. I should have known right then and there that I was doomed.
The thoughts ringing in my head sounded like the party horns I had heard my kids blasting one-too-many times. I was telling myself, “Tomorrow, all of the sweets go away. And good riddance! I’ve had enough of their saccharine guiles and serotonin-releasing goodness and I am ready to say farewell for…well, forever!”
Like many of you, my resolutions are almost always focused on diet and exercise. I approach them all with good intentions and high expectations and the turn of the new year always feels like the right time to take action. It feels fresh, clean and promising.
For me, January 1st was sugar-free. That much I handled like a pro. January 2nd. Still ok! I was on a roll. It was somewhere between mid-January and the first PMS cycle of 2019 that I lost my way.
Those resolutions are slippery, aren’t they? I thought I had a tight grip on mine because I was so ready to give up sugar by the end of the holiday season. I was yearning to feel clear-headed and unburdened by my cravings. But, just like the slime I made for my daughter’s science project, before long, my resolution was sliding down my arm and is now stuck in my carpet.
And then the guilt set in. And the negative self-talk. Those two are apparently best friends. They like to gang up on me and remind me that I am a promise-breaker. Ouch.
Why do I do this to myself? What is it about the change from December to January that tempts me to make a sweeping life change without a solid plan and measurable goals to back it up? Year in and year out, I ultimately set myself up for failure.
I won’t do it again. You are my witness and I am saying this with peace and love. I will learn to coexist with the fact that making big, hard-to-keep resolutions and then inevitably breaking them makes me feel badly about myself.
I’m not implying that change isn’t possible. I am saying that if I arbitrarily decide that, with the passing of one minute to the next, some major transformation will happen and take hold, I’m already behind the eight ball. How can I expect success without offering myself any real support?
Lifestyle changes happen over time, with a plan and effort and with set backs and small bits of progress. Little, tiny changes that we can make and maintain in our everyday habits will produce minuscule albeit positive impacts. Those beneficial tidbits build up over time to create the big, sweeping changes that we are after. Downing a cupcake at 11:55 and then dumping the rest of them in the trash 5 minutes later does not, even if you swipe them into the garbage bin in a very dramatic, I’m-done-with-all-of-this kind of way (yes, I did that).
Change doesn’t scare me. I embrace it. But there’s a way to coexist with it that includes a thought-out plan that can be executed in stages. Said plan should make time to celebrate small victories, to relish in what you’ve maintained from one day to the next and a caveat that says, “Hey, that set back is ok. Next time you’re faced with a similar choice, you’ll make a better decision. I have faith in you!”
Coexisting with New Year’s Resolutions is easy if you make the same one every year: I resolve to maintain the perfection that I’ve achieved this past year.
Maintaining is not going backwards and not going backwards means that you are ready to progress. Of course, the affirmation that reminds you that ‘where you are is already pretty perfect’ is great to tell yourself on January 1st and the rest of the year, too.
As for my love/hate with sugar, in case you were wondering, I started reading about what may be missing from my diet that would trigger the cravings and how to break the cycle in small increments - sounds like a plan, to me! If you’re interested in what I’ve learned, message me right here on Mama-Wins or on Instagram.
Leslie Lynn Nifoussi is a mom of two who thoroughly enjoys her assortment of jobs as a blogger, model, media host, commercial actor and beauty and fashion contributor for HSN. She’s a former small business owner and professional dancer and is eager to share her life’s experiences with you.
Read Leslie Lynn Nifoussi's 'How To Coexist' With Series