I love New Years. I’m almost certain it is my favorite holiday. I don’t like to stay up late, I don’t love fireworks, and I’m not a drinker, but still – I love celebrating the new year. It all began six years ago when I made a resolution and stuck with it. I designed the resolution to be something where I would learn something new – about myself, about the world, about a specific topic. Then, I told everyone about my resolution and got all my friends and family in on enjoying my journey second hand.
That year, my resolution was simple –
“I will eat nothing but raw foods for 100 days.”
Raw foods are unprocessed, unpasteurized, uncooked food – basically anything you find in the produce section and only about 3 or 4 other ingredients. No bread, no meat, no boxed or canned food, no dining out because even salads at a restaurant usually have non-raw ingredients.
The next year I chose:
“I will not purchase anything in single use plastics for one month”
Then, I completely failed. Wow, this is a hard resolution! So much good stuff – like organic broccoli – is wrapped in plastic. But even though I failed, I still learned a few things. I learned that you can write to companies and some of them will refill your shampoo bottles or send you unwrapped granola bars in bulk. I also know that I’ll never forget a reusable shopping bag if I always put them back in the car or on the doorknob after I unload the groceries. Most importantly, I know that, with planning, this is a resolution I can stick with.
The next year I decided my resolution would be:
“I will not purchase any drinks in plastic containers for one year.”
Total success! It was easy too! The only beverages I purchased were fizzy water, Kombucha, and wine because they all come in glass bottles. I didn’t buy soda, milk, juice, or those fancy drinks like Odwalla and Bolthouse Farms. I saved money and drank healthier. The biggest challenge was finding a drink at a gas station. Nearly everything (except beer) is in a plastic bottle. So, I got into the habit of carrying my Klean Kanteen everywhere. It was such a success that I’ve been doing this for two years now, with only 2 mistakes. Not bad. And just by sharing my story with others, I know of at least 6 other people now who have made the same resolution and stuck with it.
Like every great resolution, whether I’m successful or not, I learned something. I’ve also formed a few new habits that are no longer challenging. They are just a way of life, and they make my life better. Now I eat raw foods 2 meals/day (when I’m not with other people), never buy drinks in plastic containers, and others.
The most popular resolution is to lose weight. People make it year after year vowing that this year will be different. This year I’m going to lose weight.
I’m going to tell you why this is the worst resolution ever.
First of all, don’t make the same resolution again if you keep failing at it. Failing doesn’t feel great, so instead make a realistic goal at which you can succeed. If it wasn’t working for you last year, why would it work this year? You had a whole year to give it your best already. So, make a new plan because your first plan didn’t work.
Second, “losing weight” isn’t something you do. It is something that happens, or doesn’t happen, as a result of how you change your habits. Instead, resolve to do something you have total control over like, “I will drink a full 8oz of water before ever meal.” or “I will do P90X every Wednesday and Sunday.” Those resolutions might help you lose weight, but even if you don’t you will still gain something valuable.
Great resolutions change the way you look at the world. They are eye opening. They are fun to talk about and others learn from your resolution too. (I’m sorry, but “losing weight” is not fun to talk about. I don’t want to hear about it). They are good for something like your health or the environment. They make you laugh at silly moments like when I was carrying arm loads of groceries out to the car after I forgot a shopping bag – chasing tomatoes rolling across the parking lot. They make you feel restricted at times like when I really really wanted a Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai but had to drink tap water instead. And you’ll always learn something like:
- Canned tomatoes are really really toxic. Never buy them.
- Even BPA free plastic leeches toxic chemicals into your beverage.
- When raw foodists say it makes them feel energized and euphoric, they mean it.
- There is more usable protein in a serving of certain dark green veggies than in a serving of meat.
- Shopping organic can be cheaper if you shop well and are a vegetarian.
- Juice fasting doesn’t feel like fasting. Its energizing. You can get all the calories, vitamins, and good stuff you need in a juice.
- If you are eating food at least every few days, but your tummy growls and you feel light headed, it isn’t “hunger” you feel. It is a food addiction. That goes away when you stop eating processed foods, sugar, and junk. Detoxing is amazing.
- Die hard meat-n-potato eaters love raw vegan foods. Just don’t tell them the ingredients until after they’ve enjoyed the meal!
- Some companies will package your order in newspaper instead of bubble wrap, if you ask them. Amazon will not.
- Bolthouse Farms will not bottle their drinks in glass. I’ve asked them twice already.
With practice, you can make a raw, sugar-free chai drink that is just as good as a Bolthouse Farms.
- Bolthouse who?
I made a list of my favorite resolutions and you’re welcome to borrow one for 2016. I want to do them all, but to be successful you have to chose only one or two. So this year I chose #6 and #9.
1) Write 100 words of journal writing or free-writing every day.
2) Drink 8oz of water before taking your first bite at every meal.
3) Walk around the block every morning.
4) Eat nothing but raw foods for 100 days (or 30 days, or 7 days)
5) Purchase no drinks in plastic containers.
6) Purchase no snacks in plastic container or wrappings.
7) 10-day juice fast.
8) 30 days trash-free. That means everything you purchase must be recycled or composted.
9) 1 handstand every day for the entire year.
10) 1 backbend every day for the entire year.
11) Write one hand-written letter every week.
12) Bring reusable shopping bags to the store. If you forget one, stick to it and carry your groceries home in your jacket or pockets.
13) Raw until dinner: fruit for breakfast, salad for lunch. Every day.
14) Be vegetarian (or at least have meat -free Fridays).
What is your resolution for 2016? Write it in the comments below so we can all be inspired!
And in case you’ve missed the news:
- We will be at the Chicago Boat Show and have a full line-up of seminars. Don’t miss them!Ben and Teresa’s seminars at Strictly Sail Chicago Boat Show:
January 14 3:30pm Techniques of Traditional Navigation
January 14 4:45pm One Simple Question and Q&A with filmmakers.
January 15 11:45am Rules of the Road (COLREGS)
January 15 3:30pm Ocean Conservation and Science Opportunities for Sailors
January 16 1:00pm Cruising Couples: An Egalitarian Approach to Cruising
January 16 3:30pm Docking Single or Double Handed
January 17 10:30am Techniques of Traditional NavigationTo see the full lineup of seminars from all the presenters, visit the Strictly Sail Website.
- Our 2016 sail-training expedition schedule is now posted. Sign up early to get the early bird discount – and because we were 90% booked by March last year. So hurry! 😉
- We are now accepting volunteers for Hello Ocean. Find out how you can get involved.
- If you want to receive the Hello Ocean monthly email – sign up now and get a free gift in our February newsletter.