Another year, another New Year’s resolution soon to be forgotten? Resolutions often come with pressure and guilt to succeed on lofty and seemingly impossible goals. That may be why people lose faith in setting New Year’s resolutions and give up altogether. When I was a pediatric nurse, kids quickly taught me the power of small, enjoyable and more easily achievable goals.

Here’s an idea to consider: A “New Monday” resolution. Since Monday comes around every seven days, there are weekly opportunities to experience success, and failures seem less disappointing because there’s not an entire year lost before trying again. Additionally, data show that web searches for diet-related topics are highest on Mondays. So why not go with what’s natural? Embrace the motivation that comes with a fresh start at the beginning of each week.

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New Year, New Monday

An increasingly popular Monday resolution is Meatless Monday when we take a day off from meat. From pop culture icons like J-Lo, Jay Z and Beyoncé, to political figures like New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, California Rep. Tony Cárdenas, and Florida Rep. Ted Deutch, people all over are decreasing their meat consumption and touting their plant-based diets.

The American Heart Association supports diets that emphasize plant-based foods and suggests using “Meatless Mondays as another opportunity to eat a well-balanced diet.” A diet more focused on fruits, vegetables, beans and grains help reduce the risk for and prevalence of cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and more.

Participating in Meatless Monday can improve our health, yet the benefits extend beyond that.

Far Reaching Benefits

The Humane Society of the United States supports Meatless Monday to help institutional food purchasers reduce the number of animals suffering on factory farms. Unfortunately, most farm animals have become reduced to mere cogs in an industrial machine. That’s why The HSUS advocates compassionate eating – or the Three Rs: “reducing” or “replacing” consumption of animal products, and “refining” our diets.  We can also reduce our carbon footprint and environmental impact given that the meat, dairy and egg industries are some of the world’s largest contributors of greenhouse gasses.

Meatless Monday isn’t a one-size-fits-all initiative. We can enjoy familiar comfort foods with an interesting twist such as a white zucchini pizza and try fun foods we may not frequently eat, like a special international meal out.

Instead of trying for a New Year’s resolution, why not set an easy “New Monday” resolution? Try it for multiple weeks and reap the positive feelings of multiple, more frequent successes. In this age of overstimulation with countless competing attention grabs, success requires focus. Another year gone by doesn’t mean we have to overwhelm ourselves with daunting resolutions. We can make 2015 a big impact year by making a small, fun change one Monday at a time.

Image source: Stuffed Sage Carnival Squash

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