How to avoid giving in to sweet temptation

I resolve to find more positive and practical ways to overcome my fruitless struggles with new year’s resolutions

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Louise McEwanI hadn’t made new year’s resolutions for a number of years and, a few weeks into 2017, I’m reminded of why. This year’s resolutions have already fallen by the wayside.

My first resolution was to avoid the chocolates and cookies left over from the holiday.

But the chocolates presented a problem. They were artisan truffles with a best-before date. There were two options: I could eat them or put them in the trash. Since I really dislike wasting food, the best tactic was to finish them as quickly as possible. Get it over with, so to speak, which I did with great satisfaction on Jan. 3, when I restricted myself to eating one at a time until the box was empty.

The cookies, conveniently frozen in neat layers, pose a continual challenge to my willpower. The freezer is a short distance from the TV viewing area in our basement. As any teen will tell you, there’s something irresistible about frozen cookies. And it’s indisputable that commercial breaks trigger a trip to the pantry or, in this case, the freezer. If I continue to watch even one hour of television a night, I’ll have decimated the cookie supply in a few more days. I resolve to bake less next year.

Fortunately, I exercise faithfully so there was no need for me to resolve to get fit, which is one of the most common new year’s resolutions. Still, those sweets are definitely not good for my waistline and I might have to kick the workouts up a notch this month.

I could rationalize my chocolate and cookie consumption. Dark chocolate is good for my memory, and the pistachios in the shortbread add a little protein, energy and anti-oxidants to my diet. Overall, though, I have to admit that my nutritional resolutions are a bust.

I’m not doing so well on my other resolutions, either.

One of those caused my daughter to roll her eyes. On New Year’s Day when she asked if I’d made any resolutions, I responded, “Yes. I’m going to do more edifying reading.” I should have known from her reaction that I was being way too ambitious and ambiguous (not to mention pompous).

Like most people, I struggle to keep my resolutions. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. We set ourselves up to fail with resolutions that are too broad, too sweeping, too vague. If we’re serious about achieving our goals, we need a better strategy than just making a pronouncement about our resolutions.

So I’ve decided to start over. With the chocolates out of the way, I’ll deal with the cookies in a sensible manner. First, I will not watch television downstairs, thus removing the temptation to snatch frozen cookies during commercial breaks. Second, I’ll treat the cookies as a dessert and not as a snack. (It really is quite obscene to treat cookies like potato chips. Cookies deserve more respect.) Third, I’ll enlist the help of my husband and encourage him to eat frozen cookies.

As to my grandiose goal to read more edifying material, I’ll make a modest list, set aside a specific time and place to read, and go at it, slowly.

Goodness, I’ve just made a bunch more resolutions. I hope my strategy works.

If not, next year I’ll take a cue from my son-in-law. He readily admits he doesn’t believe in making new year’s resolutions. He tries to live well, always, every day. Now there’s a resolution worth struggling to achieve.

Louise McEwan has degrees in English and Theology. She has a background in education and faith formation. 

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Louise McEwan

Louise McEwan has degrees in English and Theology. She has a background in education and faith formation.

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