Looking Back to Look Forward

1/2/2019 - 12:21:09 PM

Photo Jeff Pauls

It’s that time of year where we remember all that happened during the last year and almost at the same time think about what next year will bring. In the spirit of that transition, I looked for inspiration from our previous posts. Not surprisingly, there were a couple about New Year’s Resolutions. Offering strategies to see them through was the common theme. Here’s a 2016 model reworked for 2019...

3 Strategies for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolution (and a little reward at the end…)

It’s never too late to to improve. The year 2018 is gone and we’ll be halfway through January before you know it. But has anyone ever said resolutions made after January 1 are invalid? Taking that first step toward a goal can be done now just as well as any other day. With just a few choices you can begin making a difference. If you want to set new patterns for your life, it's not a matter of setting lofty goals, but making small decisions that will start you on that road. With that in mind, here are 3 strategies to keep you on track to learning and growing in 2019.

ONE: Don’t Set Yourself up For Failure

Setting yourself up for failure is really easy. Assuming you’re nearer to your goal than you really are is common. In just 2 seconds our brains can make pretty big leaps. Our imaginations can accomplish a goal with ease. In reality, most goals take at least 4 months of little steps to accomplish. For example, if you set a goal of reading five more books than last year and optimistically start with Proust or Vonnegut when you’ve never read anything like it before, it’s going to be really hard to reach your goal. Instead, start with something a little lighter in tone and then move to the harder things. It’s ok to start small.

TWO: Do Identify the Potential Obstacles

A proven way to fail is to make no plan, assuming everything will be easy peasy, especially when setting up-among-the-stars goals. The first hurdle comes and you give up. You’re not sure how to carry on past the  hindering obstacle. Here’s a popular example, hundreds of thousands of people resolve to exercise more in the New Year and decide that they will get up every morning to work out. Around January 1st they get all excited about dusting off their gym membership or home gear and get up at 6 a.m a few mornings a week to work out and get whipped into shape. All goes well until about two weeks later when a particularly busy week hits post-holiday and they are exhausted from busy days, discouraged by the freezing weather, and would rather stay under the covers. Out go all the good intentions and they decide to go tomorrow, only to repeat the cycle when tomorrow arrives. Around February they realize that they only worked out about 5 times and give up defeated and frustrated.

Do not despair, there is a solution. Identify the obstacles you might run into or that have caused you to fail previously. Next, figure out what might help you get around them to keep going. Maybe carving out a different time of day works for you, getting a night-time routine going that will help you get to bed earlier or sleep better, or simply laying out exercise clothes the night before and putting them on before doing anything else. With a plan of action it will be easier to get over the hurdle and to the goal you set. And remember, those five times you did work out count!

THREE: Do Refresh Your Goals

Take time once a month or quarterly to adjust what is working for you. There are times when one way is the best way, but most of life doesn’t fall into cut and dried, cookie-cutter categories. Begin with walking instead of running if that works best for you. Eat a dessert per week if going cold turkey is too much for you. The trick is not to do what everyone else is doing. Find what works for you and benefits you. Teach yourself to enjoy whatever process it takes to reach your goal so that you will want to continue it. The things our bodies and minds perceive as punishment are going to be things we won’t want to continue, so it’s worth the time it takes to learn a new habit. New habits become new mindsets and suddenly we enjoy things we never thought we would. With this approach, while still a challenge, accomplishing our goals becomes a renewed way of life.

And now for the “reward”...because fun food isn't just for the holidays!

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

COFFEE CAKE (Serves 16)


2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup cold butter, cubed

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sour cream

1 egg

1 teaspoon almond extract


1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup Kauffman's Seedless Raspberry Jam


1/2 cup sliced almonds


1. Combine flour and sugar and cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; reserve 1 cup crumb mixture.

To remaining crumb mixture add baking powder, soda, salt, sour cream, egg, and almond extract and blend well. Spread the batter over the bottom and up 2" the sides of a greased and floured 9" springform pan (batter should be 1/4" thick on sides).

2. In small bowl beat the cream cheese, 1/4 cup of sugar, and an egg until smooth. Pour over batter in pan and carefully spoon jam evenly over cheese filling.

3. In another small bowl combine reserved crumb mixture and almonds, sprinkle over top. Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes or until cream cheese filling is set and crust is deep golden brown. Cool 15 minutes and removed sides of pan. Serve warm or cool, and do cover and refrigerate leftovers.

Serve and enjoy!

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