Even though it's an open secret that New Year's resolutions are made to be broken, we still make them year after year. The turnover of the calendar proves too tempting; and besides, the start of a fresh new year is a good time to take stock and think about your goals.
Instead of making grand proclamations of what you'll do differently this year and then feeling like a failure when you don't quite achieve your lofty goals, consider taking a more achievable approach. Start small. In Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything, author BJ Fogg, PhD explains how small shifts in behavior can lead to achieving big goals. Instead of overloading yourself with a target that feels out-of-reach, form little habits that lead you in the right direction.
Common new year's resolutions include losing weight, eating healthier, saving money, and spending more time with loved ones. The following eating, drinking, and cooking-related goals are frequently on people's to-do lists, and we're here to help with tips for making small changes that lead to real results.
Cook at Home More
Whether it's learning more basic recipes, making a certain number of homemade meals a week, or taking on new cooking and baking projects, home cooking is a popular topic for new year promises. If you find yourself ordering take-out more often than you'd like, then think about spending more time in the kitchen.
If you rarely cook and want to pump up your skills, take it a step at a time. Start with some easy recipes that focus on different techniques and make a goal to try at least one new recipe a week. If a dish doesn't turn out quite how you'd hoped, evaluate what might have gone wrong and learn from your mistakes. Then shrug it off and move on. As you practice, you'll notice that your skills will improve and so will your cooking.
Learning the Basics:
- Best Online Cooking Classes
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- Turn Your Fridge Into a DIY Salad Bar
- How to Read a Baking Recipe
Easy Recipes for Getting Started:
Be More Sustainable
The concept of sustainability can feel overwhelming, especially when you hear staggering statistics about how much food is wasted every year. But there are plenty of small things you can do to make your kitchen and eating more eco-friendly, and they all add up to something noticeably more sustainable.
Start by making a grocery list, shopping smart, and only buying what you'll need. Consider eating less meat—begin by reducing your meat intake by one meal a week and go from there. Store your fresh produce properly so they don't spoil before you use them, and start composting any scraps. Freeze excess for later, and keep track of what's in your fridge and freezer so nothing's forgotten.
- How to Store Vegetables
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- Meatless Money Recipes the Family Will Love
- Best Compost Bins
- How to Conserve Water in the Kitchen
- Smart Ways to Use Food Scraps
Everyone likes to start the year with a clean slate and, if possible, a clean kitchen. While it feels great to have a sparkling clean oven, a tidy pantry, and crumb-free drawers, it's also a lot of work. Tackle your cleaning projects one at a time and reward yourself with each completed project.
Try making a list of all of the special cleaning projects you'd like to complete. Each week, add one to your to-do list that feels doable for that particular week. Before you know it, you'll have the kitchen cleaned from top to bottom.
- Small Steps to a Perpetually Clean Kitchen
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If your kitchen feels chaotic, it can be hard to complete tasks and feel productive. But taming chaos can feel like an impossible task. Choose to focus on one specific area that you can organize, then do it. For example, choose to wrangle the door of your fridge by organizing your condiments, putting things in containers, and making sure items are easy to find and access. The sense of accomplishment will power you through to project after project until the entire kitchen is an organized cook's dream.
- How to Organize Your Kitchen
- Smart Ways to Organize the Fridge
- How to Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets
- How to Organize the Freezer
Saving money is, year after year, a top New Year's resolution. Building a nest egg can be a struggle, but one area where many people successfully carve out savings is in their food budget. Start by tracking your spending for a month, noticing what food and drink you spend the most money on. Do you eat out a lot? Do you buy coffee every day? Do you make a lot of impulse buys at the supermarket? Your credit card bill will help build a complete picture of your spending habits.
If building your own budget feels overwhelming, try using a budgeting app. And try starting with little habits, like buying your most-used pantry items in bulk and storing them properly to make sure nothing goes to waste.
- Create a Grocery Budget That Works For You
- Tips for Grilling on a Budget
- Ways to Save Money on Meat
- How to Save Money on a Plant-Based Diet
Drink Less Alcohol
After the indulgence of the holidays, many people aim to drink less in the new year. Some even participate in Dry January, going alcohol-free for the entire month. If you'd like to cut down on your drinking, one tactic is to replace your usual cocktail, beer, or wine with an equally delicious drink, like a homemade soda, mocktail, or juice.
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Eating better means different things to different people. There's nothing like endless cookies and eggnog to make you rethink or eating habits. There's no need to plunge head-first into a rigid diet. Small changes are more likely to stick, and they can add up to lasting results.
Eat More Plants
Along with Dry January, a new trend has arrived for the start of the new year: Veganuary. If you're already thinking of going vegan, then go for it. Excluding eggs, dairy, and meat from the diet is good for the environment and many people find veganism to be a no-brainer. If this sounds too extreme for you, take small steps towards a plant-based diet.
Try swapping one of your meats a week with a vegetarian alternative, or try eating one completely vegan meal a day. Mark Bittman endorses eating vegan for breakfast and lunch and focusing on fruits and vegetables, then eating whatever you like (within reason) for dinner. Or grab a good vegetarian cookbook and test out a new recipe every week. Whatever works for your schedule and eating habits is more likely to stick.
- Best Vegan Meal Delivery Services
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- Best Meat Substitutes and Plant-Based Alternatives
The Whole 30 diet is popular in the new year when everyone is looking to get their eating habits under control. The month-long eating plan excludes alcohol, sugar, dairy, grains, legumes, and packaged foods. Vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, fruits, and nuts are all allowed. The goal is to exclude common irritants and "reset your body."
Another popular new year trend is the keto diet, which excludes carbs and swaps them for high-fat foods to encourage your body to go into ketosis, burning stored fat. Note that it's a good idea to talk to your doctor before making drastic changes like this to your diet.
While some fasting is an ordinary part of many cultures, intermittent fasting has also become a mainstream diet trend. The practice involves eating normally for periods of time followed by fasting for shorter periods of time. It's important to make sure you are getting all of the necessary nutrients and calories, so talk to a doctor or certified nutritionist before fasting.