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6 Steps to Making Effective New Year Resolutions

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6 Steps to Making Effective New Year Resolutions

There’s just something about the short, cold days of winter, the long hours spent indoors and the overindulgence in rich foods over the holidays that inspires us to make changes at the beginning of the New Year. As the New Year brings the opportunity for change, it also brings the occasion for reflection of the personal, professional or physical circumstances in our life we’d like to change, and a reflection on how we created the circumstances we seek to improve in the first place. The areas that most people resolve to change as the New Year dawns include money, sleep, exercise, food, health, personal organization, and relationships.

Balance in all areas of our life is often a goal we aspire to, and since the holidays are often about imbalance—as we rush from one activity to another—the New Year seems like a natural time to reconnect with our mind and spirit to find the personal practices that will support our goal of renewal, rejuvenation and repair of the body, mind and spirit.

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The body, in its wisdom, provides an intuitive nudge as a reminder of the things we may need to hear, and although this method of communication is always present in the body, the New Year seems to be a time when this form of inner knowing can be the loudest. The messages might be about feeling better physically, looking better, feeling energized or well rested, having greater productivity, having a stronger body, feeling happier, or being in the flow and being peaceful in your life. At times circumstances prevent us from making these choices for ourselves and prioritizing our wellness. If it resonates with you, the New Year may be a good time to make a shift: love yourself more; feel better about yourself; heal your relationships with food, exercise, money, and/or work; and release the habits that have formed that are not serving your highest potential.

Here are six things you can get started doing right now to develop effective New Year resolutions:

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1. Reflect with Gratitude

Practice a daily, mindful exercise reflecting on the many ways your life is abundant right now and express your gratitude—what you focus on grows. Celebrate the things that are great in your life. They don’t have to be grand; the little things often mean the most. This can be a mental exercise or a written one, recorded in your journal.

2. Value Yourself

When you value yourself with a deep appreciation you will naturally show up for yourself in a much kinder way. Understand, acknowledge and celebrate all the things you do, the many roles you play: parent, spouse, employee, sibling, daughter, son, community volunteer and more. You offer so much to the world: start there with your gratitude and things will begin to shift for you.

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3. Start by Adding In

Think in terms of adding things, not taking things away. For example, add more greens to your diet, add more movement to your day, add more laughter and joy. When you add things in, the things that do not serve you seem to naturally fall by the wayside, especially when the feeling of deprivation is removed from the experience of change. No one wants to feel deprived of anything; life is all about abundance, joy and gratitude.

4. Self-speak with Care

Watch your words, be kind to yourself and avoid judging yourself for not achieving the things you want. Resolving to make changes is about finding ways to make choices that support getting control over the things that are important to you, not judging yourself harshly for not having arrived at those things yet or as quickly as you would have like.

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5. Assess Your Values

Think about the things you value. What do you want more of? Is it free time, health, adventure, friendship, community involvement, time alone? Consider how can you start to make changes to create these things in your life. Think about how your life will feel once you start making changes and how that will bring more of the feelings and experiences you want.

6. Consider Embodiment

What do you want to celebrate about yourself in 2013? Reflect upon one thing in 2013 that you embodied that you’re proud of. Are you better served by leaving certain things behind in 2013? And which qualities do you wish to embody in 2014? Reflect upon your circumstances and determine some daily practices that you can engage in with ease and grace that will allow you to begin embodying the physical and emotional qualities that you wish to welcome in your life in 2014.

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As you reflect on your past year and set out to make goals for the New Year, stay committed to creating opportunities for your personal and physical growth and allow yourself to be the filled with abundance and vibrancy in 2014.

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Last Updated on January 27, 2022

5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

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5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

Food plays an integral role in our lives and rightfully so: the food we eat is intricately intertwined with our culture. You can learn a lot about a particular culture by exploring their food. In fact, it may be difficult to fully define a culture without a nod to their cuisine.

“Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1825).

Don’t believe me? Here’s why food is the best way to understand a culture:

Food is a universal necessity.

It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re from – you have to eat. And your societal culture most likely evolved from that very need, the need to eat. Once they ventured beyond hunting and gathering, many early civilizations organized themselves in ways that facilitated food distribution and production. That also meant that the animals, land and resources you were near dictated not only what you’d consume, but how you’d prepare and cook it. The establishment of the spice trade and the merchant silk road are two example of the great lengths many took to obtain desirable ingredients.

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Food preservation techniques are unique to climates and lifestyle.

Ever wonder why the process to preserve meat is so different around the world? It has to do with local resources, needs, and climates. In Morocco, Khlea is a dish composed of dried beef preserved in spices and then packed in animal fat. When preserved correctly, it’s still good for two years when stored at room temperature. That makes a lot of sense in Morocco, where the country historically has had a strong nomadic population, desert landscape, and extremely warm, dry temperatures.

Staples of a local cuisines illustrate historical eating patterns.

Some societies have cuisines that are entirely based on meat, and others are almost entirely plant-based. Some have seasonal variety and their cuisines change accordingly during different parts of the year. India’s cuisine is extremely varied from region to region, with meat and wheat heavy dishes in the far north, to spectacular fish delicacies in the east, to rice-based vegetarian diets in the south, and many more variations in between.

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The western part of India is home to a group of strict vegetarians: they not only avoid flesh and eggs, but even certain strong aromatics like garlic, or root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Dishes like Papri Chat, featuring vegetable based chutneys mixed with yoghurt, herbs and spices are popular.

Components of popular dishes can reveal cultural secrets.

This is probably the most intriguing part of studying a specific cuisine. Certain regions of the world have certain ingredients easily available to them. Most people know that common foods such as corn, tomatoes, chili peppers, and chocolate are native to the Americas, or “New World”. Many of today’s chefs consider themselves to be extremely modern when fusing cuisines, but cultural lines blended long ago when it comes to purity of ingredients.

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Black pepper originated in Asia but became, and still remains, a critical part of European cuisine. The Belgians are some of the finest chocolatiers, despite it not being native to the old world. And perhaps one of the most interesting result from the blending of two cuisines is Chicken Tikka Masala; it resembles an Indian Mughali dish, but was actually invented by the British!

Food tourism – it’s a whole new way to travel.

Some people have taken the intergation of food and culture to a new level. No trip they take is complete with out a well-researched meal plan, that dictates not only the time of year for their visit, but also how they will experience a new culture.

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So, a food tourist won’t just focus on having a pint at Oktoberfest, but will be interested in learning the German beer making process, and possibly how they can make their own fresh brew. Food tourists visit many of the popular mainstays for traditional tourism, like New York City, San Francisco, London, or Paris, but many locations that they frequent, such as Armenia or Laos, may be off the beaten path for most travelers. And since their interest in food is more than meal deep, they have the chance to learn local preparation techniques that can shed insight into a whole other aspect of a particular region’s culture.

Featured photo credit: Young Shih via unsplash.com

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