Kick new year's stress

New Year’s is a time known for resolutions; we start new regimes and make new goals.

  • Gym memberships go up
  • Diet plans are popular
  • Planners are filled with steps needed to change our lives for the better.

It’s always a stressful time, but when the new year is also the start of a new decade, it turns up the pressure. People feel like they have to perform.

I like the idea of taking stock of one’s life when the calendar starts afresh, but I also think setting oneself up for success is important.

Many gym memberships are hardly ever used, becoming a wasted expense and no improvement in one’s fitness level. The same is true when lofty goals are set that involve so many steps as to seem overwhelming.

I am not a life coach and my focus here is generally food and drink, so I don’t want to pretend to have a grand solution.

I do know what’s worked for me, though, so I am going to share it in hopes it might help ease the stress you might be feeling with that new calendar glaring at you.

Without further adieu, here are my top five tips for retaining one’s sanity at the start of the year, while still feeling like progress is being made in becoming a better version of oneself.

Give yourself a break.

In the same way that we can’t eat all the time (although we try our best during the holiday season), we need to make sure every moment isn’t occupied with “to-dos.”

If you like the SMART goal acronym — remember the A stands for attainable and R is for realistic —Include a goal that reminds you to have fun in life so you can enjoy the process.

Integrate your efforts.

Keeping with my theme of eating and food, I can remind you that eating well is about balancing the nutrients and portions.

Living well is about being active and thinking positive, and making a plan that allows you to eat your meals at proper times and include activities to balance your schedule.

Think of goals that fit, like getting a 10-visit pass to a gym if your schedule doesn’t make a full membership financially smart.

Do something with others to help get you over any humps.

This one does not mean get a friend to join you in eating a tub of Haagen-Dazs if you have a rough week. Rather it’s about having someone to help you be accountable at the gym, or who can offer you more healthy recipes or financial tips.

Asking for help from friends is part of setting ourselves up for success.

Include rewards in your plan.

Yup, this means you get an occasional cookie, or a caramel latte or whatever makes you smile.

Using the SMART acronym again, keep the rewards specific so you don’t get off track. And keep the rewards coming.

They shouldn’t just be at the finish line; you deserve to enjoy the accomplishment of completing steps and stages of a grand plan. (This is akin to dipping your finger in the cookie dough — no guilt is necessary here.)

Review your progress and adjust your goals if necessary.

We get to use the last of the SMART letters here: M is for measurable and T is for time-bound, which means you can track exactly how well you’re doing (then you know when you deserve that reward).

It also means you give yourself a chance to adjust your plan if the rest of your world changes.

Don’t beat yourself up if your goal is no longer attainable at that point in your life – just choose a new goal to keep moving forward. It’s like when you try a new recipe and it flops.

You review your work and decide – can you do better the next time you make it, or is it a bad example for you? Maybe it required more skill than you had just then or equipment you didn’t own.

You might notice I didn’t focus much on the added pressure of a new decade. I don’t think you should bother with this either. Just because the year is a nice round number doesn’t make it any more important than any other year.

This applies for your age too.

My hubby likes to say that we deserve to celebrate every year with great enthusiasm, as each new year we get to celebrate is a lot better than the alternative – not being here at all.

Here’s to a New Year full of all the things you want. At the top of my list is good health, happiness, and quality time with friends and loved ones.

Those goals make the other achievements easier to reach.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories