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On New Year’s Resolutions. Or not.

Sunnier skies in #Gascony today!

Driving through the Gascon countryside (probably en route to look at furniture or bathroom fixtures!), December 2014

One of the reasons why I don’t make actual New Year’s resolutions is because I know full well that my expectations tend to be way too high.

Thank goodness I didn’t plan to “workout every day” this year since I have been basically sick since we returned from France and working out after a full day at school is the last thing I feel like doing.

On the other hand, I *could* have planned to a “dry January” since I have had the total of ONE glass of wine since we returned from France. Not planned, though. I just haven’t felt like it.

This year, I’ve felt like taking better care of myself. Like taking a nap after school. Like reading a book for an afternoon instead of cooking/ photographing/ writing/ working. Like watching a whole television series in a week, just because I wanted to (even though I had many other things to do).

Yes, 2015 is going to be the year of slowing down. And being kind to myself.

I’m also seeking a little clarity. Last year just seemed to zip by (I know, the older I get the faster time will go!) and much of our time  was taken up with Buying A House In France”. That gets All Capitalised because it’s, like, a “thing”. An entity all on its own.  If you’ve ever spent any time looking for a house, you’ll know that it can turn into a full time job. Well try looking for a house from a different country. I’m not complaining, we totally knew what we were getting into, but it was certainly a lot of work. And as we sit down this weekend and finish writing up a series of documents with scintillating information in them like what type of taps we’d like in the bathroom (!), the work continues. Once the physical work is completed, then there’s the whole Running A Vacation Rental Business to contemplate. Another “thing”. But one I am seriously excited about.  But yes, another thing on my plate, so to speak. And with a few new writing gigs on the horizon (hopefully) and my continued work as a Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassador, it’s still going to be a busy year (hopefully doing less, and being able to focus my attention on fewer projects a little better).

What this means, of course, is that slowing down a little and taking good care of myself (and Neil) is even more important. So you’d think I would be out there loudly proclaiming that I’m only going to EAT HEALTHY etc… Nope. Even though I am a determined Taurus, I know myself well enough that I cope better with setting small challenges for myself – ok, maybe a lot of them but still, small – do-able, attainable. Because otherwise what’s the point? Absolutes and extremes don’t work for me.

Just as I believe that food education is a slow process that’s more about the journey than the actual destination, I also believe in the power of small changes, often, in our everyday lives.

Which is why I was very excited to see that one of this month’s Food Revolution Ambassador Monthly Challenges was to Download the YOU-app. Jamie Oliver has been working on this cool new app which focuses on four areas – food, mind, move, love – and is all about completing one micro action each day to help you live a happier, healthier life. For me, it’s kind of like Instagram, with intent. I find the daily reminders are a great way to be more mindful in all areas of my life, not just food, and each “action” is so do-able and achieve-able, that it doesn’t feel overwhelming. I’m really enjoying it and seeing how others interpret the daily prompt is really interesting (and gives you loads of ideas!).

So head on over and download the app today (Android version coming soon). I’m @eatlivtravwrite over there too!

Ok, so about that eating healthy. It doesn’t have to mean boring. Since we’ve been back, I’ve been trying to incorporate a lot of whole grains, vegetables and fruits into our meals. Sure, it takes a little bit of forward planning (just like packing a healthier lunch) but once you do a little bit of planning, you’ll realise how  how very valuable that can be. Thanks to my planning this weekend, I have both veggie and beef chili in the fridge, roasted pork tenderloin, grilled fish (for Neil) and a whole bunch of greens, veggies and grains ready to bring to work so I can build a healthier salad at lunch. Knowing that we have lunches and dinners covered makes for a less stressful week, for sure!

Need some inspiration? Check out Jamie Oliver’s Healthy Meals inspiration. A lot of great meals there, like this sweet potato chili,which is a staple in our house…

sweet potato chilli on eatlivetravelwrite.com(this version via my Cooking Basics boys!)

How about you – what are your intentions for 2015?

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8 Responses to On New Year’s Resolutions. Or not.

  1. Monica January 18, 2015 at 14:58 #

    Interesting. “Clarity” is amongst my list of words for 2015. Also, confidence, commitment and strength. I don’t really make resolutions but I, like you, also like embracing small changes, things that help me “spiral up”, like making the bed every morning and keeping the bird feeders full and wearing an apron when I cook so I don’t ruin my favorite hoodie. More important than resolutions, I think, is to focus on successes and achievements, and think about how those achievements will benefit us in future life situations. In that respect, I don’t really see how “dry January” does anyone any good. 😉

    • Mardi Michels January 18, 2015 at 17:00 #

      I totally agree Monica, too many of us are caught up in wanting more/ wanting to do more/ fear of missing out etc… and we don’t stop to look around at what we have and what successes we have already achieved. I find that teaching kids to cook is incredibly rewarding yet often I focus on the fact that my classes “don’t matter” or “aren’t enough” when, in fact, they are probably having much more impact than I realise. Small changes, often….

  2. Geoff January 18, 2015 at 17:44 #

    As you point out implicitly, Mardi…. Eistein’s theory of relativity is correct.
    The faster you move (children) the slower time (seems to) travels; the slower you move (as you get older), the faster time (seems to) travels.

  3. mehrunnisa January 19, 2015 at 06:54 #

    last year, i spent the first day of the new year doing a yoga workshop that helped to set the intention for the year. the most beautiful outcome of it was something called a ‘to be’ list. essentially it asked for the qualities i would like to be and to practice them regularly. i have not made resolutions since my teens for i feel they set me up for failure. but what i do like is to have tag lines. for this year it is to do more of less, to be more mindful and to be kinder to myself. as part of that there are things i want to achieve, like cultivating a daily ten minute meditation practice. your writing really resonated with me for that reason! as did monica’s term of ‘spiralling up’ by embracing small changes!

    enjoy the journey of slowing down and doing a little something of what you like as frequently as possible.

    • Mardi Michels January 19, 2015 at 18:16 #

      Thanks for stopping by! Sounds like we have similar intentions this year (more of less, be kind to ourselves!). The “spiralling up” is a great concept as it’s easy to visualise too!

  4. Paula January 20, 2015 at 11:24 #

    With your goals/objectives for this year I think you will have a wonderful one. Congratulations on the house purchase in France…how exciting for you both.

    • Mardi Michels January 21, 2015 at 06:20 #

      Thanks Paula, it’s been a long road and we’re not there yet but we’re excited!

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