It's unavoidable. In spite of swearing off ever making another New Year's resolution (usually sometime in February), another December rolls around and we think. "This time wilt be different." We forget that our motivation this time last year felt as compelling and our determination as fervent. I've given great consideration to what has undermined my own resolutions throughout the years, and here's what I have decided: Resolutions are thinly disguised guilt-trips and shoulds-lists that are usually so goal-based we rail to consider the importance of the process. It's a set-up to fail from the start, and no wonder any well-seasoned adult (foolishly) declaims on an annual basis, "Never again!" Resolutions ironically and inevitably make us feel bad.
So my resolution this year is that whatever resolution I make, getting there must be fun. (Can you imagine meeting someone who has resolved to indulge in a decadent dessert every second Tuesday for a whole year?) Because many New Year's resolutions are about improving one's health, they are inherently food centered, and what is more fun than food? Whether it is weight loss you're after or simply cleaning up your diet and broadening your culinary palate, food is meant to be thoroughly enjoyed--from the purchasing to presentation.
Go abroad. For those of us who love to travel, culture and food are inseparable from a satisfying experience. Consider the cookbook section of your bookstorc as being for the off-season traveler, when actual travel to exotic places is elusive. If you ate adventurous by nature, choose something that is a true departure from your ethnic experience (a place you long to go?), and if you're a bit more apprehensive about change, perhaps choose something closer to home. In addition to connecting with other parts of the world through your taste buds, preparing a beautiful meal can be the ultimate treat for one or the motivation you needed to organize a dinner with friends.
Spice things up. Take a trip to the spice section of your grocery store (the bulk section at natural foods stores can be awe-inspiring). Choose five spices or herbs that you have never cooked with before--perhaps some of them taken from your new cookbook--and find a tasty use for each. If you lack culinary prowess, do a Google search that includes the word "recipe" along with the name of the spice. Often when food has become lackluster and our interest in preparing sumptuous meals has waned, we are simply bored and...