“Surveys suggest that the typical resolution is repeated 10 years in a row, with one-quarter of these being abandoned within the first fifteen weeks and dusted off again the following year.”

The Kaizen Way, One Small Step Can Change Your Life

By Robert Maurer, PhD

When I read this book, the simple philosophy that great change is made through small steps, I felt instinctively that this is true in my life and the lives of my clients. Since I teach time management, I was interested to learn how in The Kaizen Way, our brains neurologically rebel against major change. Pretty interesting.

Maurer explains in his book how there is an irrefutable science that takes place in our brain’s proving how taking small steps toward anything we want to achieve, circumvents the brain’s built-in resistance to a new behavior. The reader learns that by breaking goals down into baby steps, one can change her/his life without fear and without failure.

resolutionsThe hardest part of New Year’s Resolutions is people make TOO BIG of a promise to themselves. Just start really small and take tiny strides toward your goals. Let’s say you’d like to eat healthier, eat-in more often to save money, and plan better so you are not spending so much time in the kitchen or at the grocery store. Sounds like a pretty lofty goal for the year.

“What’s Your First Little Bite?”

So using the above goal as an example, let’s consider our first step. How about you only plan one meal with one leftover meal that can be made from that same dinner? You might make a roast chicken with boiled potatoes, steamed broccoli and a salad. Then two or three nights later you revamp those leftovers (actually you are now planning this on purpose) as chicken quesadillas.

By doing this you’ve actually strategized two healthier meals out of one dinner, saved on food cost since you are utilizing your leftovers, saved kitchen prep time because hopefully you’ve picked the chicken clean after roasting it and saved on decision making by planning in advance.

Do this once a week for two months or so until it turns into a habit. Then plan two mail meals a week with leftover meals in mind realistically giving you four organized dinners for a whole week. So now maybe you add something like a pork loin with quinoa and applesauce as the main meal and the leftover meal becomes shredded BBQ pork sandwiches and the quinoa can be added to a soup or salad.

family_mealNow you have 4 out of 7 nights of cooking organized. You’re eating healthier most of the week because you can adjust the fat and salt intake yourself. You’re saving money by not going out to restaurants and you’re planning….!

Again, do this for several weeks until it is automatic being proactive with all your menu planning, grocery shopping and food preparation. Then, you guessed it, add another meal with leftovers in mind so that six days of the week no one in your house is asking, “What’s for dinner?” Your third planned meal might be turkey meatloaf, rice, spinach and tomato & mozzarella salad with your leftover meal consisting of chopping up the leftover meatloaf for a spaghetti sauce or Shepard’s Pie.

Now you have 6 out of 7 nights of prearranged cooking saving your health, budget, time and stress not thinking about what you are going to put on the table each night. There is one night left in the week so POSSE says to treat yourself to a night out! Of course, you can always do what JM calls, “Clean out your refrigerator” which is a nice way of saying “Leftover Buffet”. The rest of the foods that are not specifically put into another planned meal can be made into soups, salads and such.

Please see the Sample Menu below based on my suggestions above:

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri Sat
Roast Chicken with Boiled Potatoes, Steamed
Broccoli & Salad
Pork Loin
with Quinoa, Applesauce
and Steamed Carrots
Turkey Meatloaf,
Rice &
Tomato Mozzarella Salad
Chicken Quesadillas with Refried Beans & Vegetable Shredded
BBQ Pork
with Sweet
Potato Fries
& Salad
Whole Wheat Pasta with Meat Sauce & Broccoli Carrot Medley Dinner Out! OR Leftover Buffet

P.S This is truly a menu designed for my family and not by a nutritionist…

Two More Bites…

  • Schedule a certain time a week to decide on your menu, grocery list and food shopping. Base your purchases first on what’s in your frig, freezer and pantry using FIFO, First In First Out, rotating all your old food first.
  • Plan your menu around healthy foods you like to eat and get creative. Write a list of your favorite nutritious foods and then do a recipe search using those items.