Monday, January 20, 2014

New Year Microresolutions

One of the things I love most about my jobs at Crazy Wisdom is getting first crack at so many new books hitting the market. Opening a box of books sent to us directly from the distributor or publisher is kind of like uncovering buried treasure every day I work. It's an adventure. What new wonders await me? What secret knowledge has been uncovered? Which tales are waiting to be told? Sometimes, I find that the new releases are not for me, or that they're a little hokey. Most often, though, I want to devour every single tome then and there. I'm a professional, so I refrain. Usually. 

One book that I recently categorized under self-help (I get to pick the categories for the new books I check in - isn't that neat?) is called Small Move, Big Change by Caroline L. Arnold and I, at first, thought it was one of the hokey ones. I am very, very skeptical of all self-help books. All too often the authors are bright, shiny people with toothy grins that promise to change your life TODAY, as if all you had to do was read their books and a magical switch would be turned on in your brain changing you into a whole new person - poof! Even when the back covers admit that you have to want it and work hard, they make it sound so easy. Too easy. 

So I thumbed through Small Move to see if this was another terrible, unlikely promise. What I discovered surprised me. It had some good ideas. The book rightly points out that at New Year's time, people make all kinds of big, pretty difficult to achieve resolutions to change their lives from quitting an unhealthy habit, losing ridiculous amounts of weight, getting into amazing shape, etc. These are completely achievable goals, but generally only when tackled one by one and taking small steps, not giant leaps that can easily discourage. Most people fail in their resolution endeavors.

But why bank everything on New Year's? You can resolve to make changes in your life any day of the year. Do you want to lost weight? Get in shape? Okay, so make that decision today. But don't say something like, "I'm going to lose 40 pounds by Halloween!" Try "I am going to begin every day by jogging in place for 4 minutes." Do it as soon as you get out of bed. Tell yourself you can't have breakfast until you jog your 4 minutes. 

This is a microresolution I found on page 95 of Small Moves that I have decided to adopt for myself. I started on Friday, and so far I feel pretty good! I did wake up sore the second morning, and I had to rise extra early for work, but really, 4 minutes is not a lot of time. I felt considerably more invigorated afterward, too, which is definitely something I needed after only 6 hours of sleep. 

Another great microresolution that I've taken on is eating breakfast every morning. The book points out that if you wake up in the morning and aren't hungry, it's probably because you ate too late the previous night, which is true for me. Because I often work late, I might not eat dinner until after 10 or 11 pm. As a result, I'm now trying to eat less for dinner, having only half a chicken breast on Thursday instead of a whole one, for example.

On Friday, since I had time before I had to work that night, I made an English muffins and four slices of bacon, a breakfast I repeated on Sunday before heading into work at 1:30. Saturday, the stupidly early day with little sleep, I ate oatmeal with raisins and had a glass of orange juice. This kept me quite full for many hours, and I was very pleased. It also gave me two servings of fruit for the day. Today I had a bowl of Weetabix to which I added raisins, which I'd never tried before. It turned out to be very tasty. I also made tea, because tea is awesome. Tea also happens to be packed with antioxidants, but that isn't why I drink it.


Another reason I love working for a bookstore is the free advanced reader copies we receive from the publishers and reps. After deciding not to borrow Small Move (borrowing books is another perk), I discovered an advance paperback edition in the basement and took that home with me instead. Score! Now I can read the whole thing at my leisure. I only glanced through fitness, diet, and nutrition at the store. Other chapters include sleep, clutter, relationships, spending, punctuality, and "organization - one-off project," whatever that means. 

Coming in under 250 pages, this book isn't a long read. Just glancing through it has already given me some good ideas that I've managed to stick with, and feel fully confidant that I can continue. I'm not saying everyone should read it, or that it is going to change your life forever, but it doesn't seem completely hokey, and just the tips I mentioned above I think most people would find useful. 

So here, then, are my microresolutions: jog in place for 4 minutes every morning before breakfast, which Iwill eat. The lady in the book had her 4 minutes in place turn into a jog down the block and back, then around the block, and so on and so forth until she was a regular jogger and lost a total of 40 lbs. I won't say that's my ultimate goal (for one, I hate running), but losing 40 lbs certainly isn't a bad side effect. 

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