Happy New Year! And here are some things NOT to do this year…

By Carrie Pokrefke

Today is the first day of a new year and is one of my favorite days.  I love the newness of a new year! It’s a good day to reflect on past goals and to come up with new goals. The past week, I’ve been thinking of what I want to accomplish in 2014. My big goal for 2013 was to quit eating meat and switch to a whole-foods, plant based diet. I am pleased to say that I’ve gone an entire year without eating meat!

A few times on Facebook, I’ve seen my friends share “posts” about things people should give up or to let go in their lives. While thinking of my plans for the new year, I came up with my own list of things to stop doing:

1) No more dieting!

I ran into Barnes and Noble today to grab a gift certificate. Christmas is on sale and they’ve already rolled out Valentine’s Day. And what is covering the first display, right past the Nook display? Diet books. Loads of them. There is a diet out there for everyone.

Diet books at Barnes & Noble

Diet books at Barnes & Noble

If you have ever dieted before, you know they don’t work. If it worked for you, you wouldn’t be considering another one. People lose weight and then when they go off the diet, they gain the weight back. What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and expecting a different result. If you try another “diet,” what do you think the result will be?

Let me offer a different idea for 2014 – eat healthy. Exercise. And commit to these new habits for the rest of your life. That’s the only way a “diet” will last. Dump the processed foods. Drink water. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. And don’t focus on losing weight. Focus on eating right and being healthy.

2) Stop thinking that you can’t do something!

“I could never live in a big city!”

“I could never not eat meat!”

“I can’t quit smoking (or anything else…).”

“I could never speak in front of a crowd. It’s too scary”

“I would never try out for that play.”

When Steve and I were standing in the quarry on Rapa Nui with Ata, our guide, looking around at all the Moai, I got an overwhelming sense of how incredibly hard working and determined the Rapa Nui people were. First they carved the Moai and then they moved the Moai to the alter and then they stood the Moai up. I felt incredibly lazy. The larger Moai weighed up to 80 tons. These people didn’t have cranes and bulldozers to move the Moai or electrical tools to drill them. The Moai are amazing on their own. But they are more amazing because the Rapa Nui didn’t think, “I can’t build that.”

They believed in themselves and they wanted to create the Moai. So they did.

Moai on Rapa Nui

Moai on Rapa Nui

Don’t use, “I can’t” as an excuse. Believe in yourself and tell yourself, “I can!”

3) Quit thinking that if you try something new, you might somehow morph into the Incredible Hulk or worse

This is something that I have been guilty of – a lot. This kind of ties into #2 and is at least the mental exercise “pre-cursor” for actually doing something that you may have previously thought you couldn’t. Before I had decided to stop eating meat, I couldn’t imagine NOT eating meat. For whatever reason, my brain wouldn’t even go there. I think subconsciously I imagined my skin turning green and my body shriveling up. Which, come on, that’s just nonsense!

Once I quit eating meat, I realized that so much of my resistance was thinking that just by trying something new or different, I might somehow get hurt. I now have more confidence with trying new and out-of-the-ordinary things. And I actually seek out new things to try. When I consider whatever it is and whether or not I am going to try it, I just tell myself, “This isn’t going to kill me.  I’ll live to tell the tale.”

So, when you are thinking of what you want to accomplish this year, believe in yourself. Think positive thoughts. Try new things. Eat healthy foods!

What do you want to do in 2014?