I know that at this time of year especially, there is no shortage of motivational quotes, inspirational advice, and “fitspo” photos flooding all media outlets. Conservative estimates say that at least 40% of people start their new year off by making some resolutions and goals. And although developing a new good habit or dropping an old bad one is something which can be done and beneficial at nearly anytime, there is something quite psychologically powerful about the start of a new year. I wrote previously about Katherine Milkman’s fascinating work related to fresh starts and how her research shows whenever we go through a change of season, literally or metaphorically (like a new job, relationship status, move, etc.) we experience a psychological clean slate from which we can start anew. Therefore, although January 1 may seem like an arbitrary date to make a change, a new year actually can help to fuel our enthusiasm for our resolutions and goals and empower us to adopt new habits.
And as we embark on our 2018 journey, potentially with a few New Year’s resolutions in hand, I find it important to consider the difference between resolutions and goals. Although the two are quite often used interchangeably, there is an important distinction which should be made. Throughout my professional and academic careers, I have been afforded many excellent opportunities for leadership development courses and trainings. A frequently covered topic is goal setting and generally all courses I have been a part of use at least some adaptation of S.M.A.R.T. goals – meaning that goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, results oriented, and time bound. Goals should be concrete and outcome focused so that we know if and when we have accomplished what was originally intended. Examples might include running a marathon this year, losing 5 pounds, paying off XYZ loan, etc.
Resolutions, on the other hand, have no finish line. They are focused on continuous progress and the process of building habits and an actual lifestyle. When kept, resolutions should include doing the things that the person you would like to be would do, by consistently taking actions which support your values and aims. There is not necessarily an end in sight when it comes to flossing your teeth daily, exercising consistently, or eating more vegetables. These types of things are ongoing and intended to continue everyday, potentially forever. Resolutions are something which you keep, goals are things that you achieve.
There is value in both resolutions and goals, depending on the nature of your aim and specific context, but I find it instructive to consider what my ultimate objective is in order to determine how best to frame it. Goals can be helpful especially to get you motivated and started, but sometimes it can be harder to keep going once you have hit a particular milestone. Resolutions can be harder to keep because they mean continued commitment and effort in a particular area, but if they are kept, then you will have successfully built a habit. If you set out to lose 10 pounds (as a significant proportion of the population does at this time of year), you may want to consider what will happen once you accomplish your goal. Due to the arrival fallacy, you probably won’t be any happier when you get there and the statistics related to rebounding are disappointing at best. However, if you resolve to eat more healthfully and stick to it, you will over time become someone who actually eats more healthfully, which may result in losing those 10 pounds and incurring many additional benefits.
Since I love both working towards an accomplishment and forming enduring habits, my 2018 objectives include a mix of both resolutions and goals. However, when it comes to my health, I have preferred to build a foundation and lifestyle which helps me to look and feel my best as much as possible as opposed to crash dieting for important events. It means that I am relatively consistent in what I eat, how I exercise, and my sleep schedule. And although this may at the onset seem boring or monotonous, I can assure you it is not. By finding ways to make satisfying, delicious and flavorful foods, I never feel like I am missing out or tempted to eat something which I know I’d later regret or which makes me feel less than my best. Cleaning up some of my favorite meals and treats is often a fun experiment and thankfully, usually a tasty one! Like this revised version of Tilapia Nocciola – a Hazelnut Crusted Fish with Lemon Butter Sauce which includes none of the heavy cream, butter, or breadcrumbs, without sacrificing flavor. It’s 100% Whole30, Paleo, and delicious – meaning when it comes to healthy eating it hits the mark for both resolutions and goals.
- Tilapia/Basa/White Fish of Choice 4 Filets
- Hazelnuts, Roughly Chopped 1 cup (150 g)
- Almond Flour .25 cup (24 g)
- Eggs 2 each
- Avocado Oil 2 TBSP
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper to Taste
- Grape Tomatoes, Halved 1 cup (150 g)
- Garlic Cloves, Minced 3 each
- Ghee .25 cup (55 g)
- Bone Broth 1 TBSP
- Coconut Cream (the solid part at top of can/tin) .5 cup (120 ml)
- Zest and Juice of one Lemon
- Fresh Basil, Loosely Packed, Chopped.25 cup (7 g)
- Begin by roughly chopping the hazelnuts - if you don't have a fancy tool, you can place them in a small plastic bag and pound them to break them apart as necessary.
- Add the crushed hazelnuts, the almond flour, salt and pepper to a small bowl and sift to combine.
- Add the eggs to another small bowl and whisk.
- Place a frying pan over medium high heat and add the avocado oil to heat.
- Dip the fish one filet at a time into the eggs and then into the hazelnut mixture to coat. Shaking off any excess and pressing into the mix to coat fully and evenly.
- Place the fish into the frying pan, being sure not to overcrowd (break into two batches if necessary), cooking about 3 - 5 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the filet. Once one side is done, flip and cook until finished.
- Set fish aside, keeping covered and warm.
- In another saucepan, melt the ghee and add the garlic, cooking about 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Then add the lemon juice and bone broth and allow to reduce slightly, about 3 minutes
- Then mix in the coconut cream and lemon zest and allow to thicken, about 3 minutes
- Finally turn off the heat and stir in the basil.
- Spoon the "lemon butter sauce" over the fish and top with halved grape tomatoes and enjoy!