Thursday, January 12, 2012

Happy New Year!

Thank you Mom & Dad for the best Christmas gift ever: a new Laptop and thank you Gordon for setting it up for me =) I can get back to blogging =)

So here we are, the first month of a brand new year. Yes, it’s January…the infamous month of new beginnings, resolutions, self reflection and setting goals. While I’m a huge advocate for self reflection and setting personal goals, I’m not a huge fan of how New Year’s resolutions are approached, and here’s why. First off, there shouldn’t be only one time during the year when we set goals for ourselves, because the truth is, things happen everyday that cause us to re-evaluate our thoughts/opinions, think about our actions and, in some cases, even set new goals. Self reflection is a critical part of growing and moving on to each new phase our life leads us to. In fact, we sometimes need to self reflect just to move on to tomorrow. It seems that some of us tend to wait until New Years rolls around to decide to commit to a new regimen, or decide to break our 'bad' habits. The problem then becomes that we don't follow through (some of us don't even start down the path to implement positive changes) because these new commitments are so overwhelmingly big and involve such a huge change in one’s lifestyle that unfortunately they’re often unrealistic. I'm not saying that all resolutions are not accomplished...but rather I am implying that we are part of a culture where this idea of making "the big New Years Resolution" is one which tends to get blown out of proportion.

What if we re-frame ‘the New Year’s Resolution’ concept by approaching it from a different angle without losing sight of the bottom line; that is, better setting our priorities so that we reach the goals we internally set for ourselves all year round. Here's a different angle: Instead of setting big goals, let’s focus on the little things. For example:
-Big Goal: I’m going to lose 10 pounds VS. Little Thing: Today, I’m going for a walk
-Big Goal: I’m going to stop smoking VS. Little Thing: Today, I’m going to have one less cigarette than I had yesterday
-Big Goal: I’m going to get all A’s this semester VS. Little Thing: Tonight, I’m going to the library (and am NOT bringing my computer to avoid the temptation of spending my entire time at the library on facebook)
-Big Goal:I’m going to be a nicer person VS. Little Thing: compliment someone before you go to bed
-Big Goal: I’m not going to hold grudges this year VS. Little Thing: Forgive that one person who you still give dirty looks to

The point is that we live in a world full of temptations...don't allow New Years to make you lose sight of the fact that you're only human. Our 'bad' habits became habits because on some level they are things we enjoy. So, don't deny yourself pleasure just because it's "resolution time." After all, human nature teaches us that when we're told we can't have something or we can't do something is exactly when we want it more.
Signing up for a workout class, buying more fruits & veggies, holding the door open for the person behind you whose hands are full, texting a friend to let them know you’re thinking about them, going for a walk, saying thank you, trying something new, simply smiling…all of these are little things that make a big difference. Starting small is encouraging, because when you set baby goals you’ll definitely reach them, and then you’ll feel proud of yourself for accomplishing that which you sought out to achieve. If we spend our energy focusing on the little things in life, the bigger things will surely fall into place =)

Here’s a deliciously healthy recipe to help you kick off the new year. If you’re a person who orders in every night because of this excuse: “I can’t cook,” try homemade coconut shrimp over arugula salad for dinner tonight! You’ll impress yourself:

Baked Coconut Shrimp over Arugula Salad:

Baked Coconut Shrimp
Ingredients: uncooked peeled and deveined shrimp, 3 egg whites, whole wheat flour, 1 -2 bags of coconut flakes which can be found in the baking section (1 pound of shrimp typically takes 1 ½ bags of coconut flakes.)
1) Preheat oven to 350
2) Place coconut flakes on an ungreased cooking tray & bake in the oven for about 10 – 15 minutes. Be sure to stir coconut flakes regularly so that they all toast evenly.
3) While coconut is toasting peel shrimp (if needed)
4) Beat egg whites in small bowl & set aside
5) Fill another small bowl with flour. Season flour with salt & pepper & set aside.
6) Coat each shrimp in flour, then dunk each shrimp in egg whites, and finally coat with toasted coconut.
7) Spray a clean baking sheet with cooking spray, place shrimp on top & bake for about 15 minutes.
*Make extra, refrigerate it, and have leftovers for lunch tomorrow…yum! This is also a great appetizer recipe if you’re looking for something new to tailgate with or a healthy option to bring to your super bowl party*

Arugula Salad
Ingredients: 1 package of arugula, drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, 2 wedges of fresh lime, salt & pepper to season. If you want, you can add any other of your favorite veggies. I like to add some shredded carrots, beets & slices of avocado...The avocado compliments the coconut shrimp very nicely & the beats & carrots make it colorful =)
Directions: Toss ingredients together in large bowl. Unlike other salad, this one tastes best when you let it sit for a bit…let the arugula soak in the olive oil & lime for however long you want…it won’t go bad, I promise...isn’t that convenient! Even overnight won’t cause it to get wilted or soggy…this salad is one that will still taste great tomorrow.

Here's to a Happy 2012...filled with endless goal setting, health, happiness & new beginnings =)

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