by Allison Schurman
It started out as a joke. It was 6:00 a.m. on New Years Day and I was sitting at my kitchen table staring at a 2 pound box of chocolates leftover from the holidays.
'What am I going to do with all of this chocolate? I can't eat it all. Well, maybe 'can't' is not the right word.'
My husband walks into the room and interrupts this conversation in my head. 'What's your resolution this year?' My mind clicks through its resolution roll-a-dex. Diet? Exercise? Give up caffeine? Give up sugar? I stop. 'Give up sugar? But, I have all of this ''
Then it hits me. 'I'm going to eat a piece
of chocolate every day.'
He rolls his eyes. 'That's not a resolution,' he says, 'you have to pick something that is painful.'
'That's Lent, honey,' I explain, 'pain is
not a requirement for resolutions.' I get a head shake
with a second eye roll as he leaves the room. I start to
think I'm on to something.
That night I create the ritual that I will practice every day during 2006. I opened the box of chocolates at bed time and carefully selected my piece. I carried it with me to the bottom of the stairs leading to the bedroom. I sat down, closed my eyes and waited for a quiet moment. Then I took a small bite. I savored the bite as long as I could, trying not to chew and end the moment too quickly, then took another. The chocolate lasted for three bites. I sat for a moment longer then crumpled its little brown paper and went to brush my teeth.
The experience lasted about one minute but
I realized as I was getting into bed that what I'd given
myself was better than chocolate. It was one minute of
pure joy every night. This was the best idea I have ever
The next day at work, the inevitable resolution conversation comes up again and again. 'You're going to eat chocolate?' followed by laughter, eye rolling, and sometimes both. Based on my husband's reaction the day before, I was fully armed with a defense.
Obviously improving your diet or increasing exercise is a positive change but doesn't my resolution achieve the same goal? That piece of chocolate made me feel wonderful and at peace with my world. Feeling wonderful, even for one minute, is without at doubt resolution worthy.
In other words, eating chocolate is my way
of adding happiness to my life.
It's not an unhealthy habit. I didn't say 'box of chocolate everyday' I said 'one piece.' Recent studies have shown that chocolate is rich in antioxidants and good for you in moderation.
Chocolate is not only good for the soul
anymore, it's also officially good for the body.
It's a resolution that has potential for success. The time commitment is minimal and no effort is required in making this a habit. It takes one minute per day to eat the chocolate and maybe 30 minutes per month to visit the chocolate shop to buy the new box, which is a joyful exercise unto itself. That is about one hour per month to find time for something I love. No problem!
Have I stayed true to my resolution? I'm sure it's no surprise that the answer is yes. I'm eight months in and still going strong. Am I happier as a result? You bet! My busy days end every night with a minute of bliss. And, while it only takes one minute of my time, I feel the results all through the day. I know that I'm going to get my daily dose of joy and look forward to it with a smile.
On bad days my ritual brings me relief
from stress and on good days I have a little extra spice
in my life'I am engaging in taboo behavior after all.
And, for all my dieting friends, there has been an
unexpected side effect. I no longer raid the candy bowl
at work. Those mini Snicker's' bars are not satisfying
any more. They don't taste as good as my ritual
chocolates'buying the good stuff is one of my rules'and
they do not deliver the same feeling of well being.
I have no doubt that I will stay on track for the rest of the year. What happens then? Do I keep eating chocolate? Do I have to choose another resolution? I do not know the answers and I may be the only person to ever have to ask the questions. I do know that whatever I choose will keep me on the path to happiness.
Want to revolutionize your resolution for next year? It's simple. Just make a list of the things you love and think of a way to enjoy them more frequently throughout the year. Your resolution, whatever it is, will bring happiness into your life and help you enjoy a delightful new year.
Need some inspiration? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Do you love '
' Take a cooking class and learn a new cuisine
' Try a new recipe every month
' Grow an herb garden
' Join a produce delivery service
' Take that dream trip
' Explore your local world
' Plan a girls trip
' Learn a new language
' Start a bubble bath ritual
' Get a regular massage
' Join a yoga class
' Take a spa retreat
Spending time with family?
' Celebrate 'nothing' once per month
' Plan regular date nights with your spouse
' Read books with your child
' Make Friday into movie night
' Go out to the theater each month
Hanging out with the girls?
' Schedule a regular time to get together with friends, be it a brunch date, cocktails or coffee.
' Budget some 'mad money' and treat yourself to a guilt free pair (or more)
' Add a cup of specialty coffee each month
' Learn how to roast your own coffee beans
Once you find your perfect resolution, stick to it but only if it is bringing you the joy you expected. If it is a burden, let it go and try again next year. Remember, the revolution motto is 'no pain, happy gain.'
About the Author:
Allison Schurman is a freelance writer based in the San Francisco, California. When she is not eating chocolate or fulfilling her roles as wife, dog-mom, and trademark paralegal, Allison writes, runs, bakes, travels, and never forgets to celebrate the little things in life.