Resolutions, Goals, Conviction or Promises

Why does new year’s inflict such a bevvy of resolutions? My guess is that most new year’s resolution only last until about the 15th of January or the 1st week of February at most.

Why is this? Is it because there is no accountability? Or because the year is new, do we expect ourselves to be new too? More focused, more responsible, more reliable.

Personally, I have always been one to shy away from New Year’s Resolutions. Why? Because I figure if I can’t do it every day since I thought of the decision, then what makes a change in date so special? Cynical? Maybe. I like to call it realistic.

There has been one new year’s resolution that I kept. About 4-5 years ago now, I decided to purge my house of all high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). We already didn’t buy anything with any sort of other artificial sweeteners in it. On January 1, 2008, (I think) I made the resolution to take that year and make sure that nothing I bought from then on would have HFCS in it.

I did it and am still doing it to this day. I went on to add soybean oil, dyes, preservatives, etc to the list. Why did this work and others not?

Here’s my theory. It was a goal or maybe even something as strong as a conviction. And it was something that I KNEW I could do without having to depend on anyone else for the results. If my hubby or kids brought home something that had the HFCS in it. I didn’t sweat it. I was committed to not buying it. It became the norm for us to not eat HFCS instead of the opposite. That was my ultimate goal.

At that time, there weren’t many options for alternatives. It completely changed the way that I cooked. No more ketchup or pickles or salad dressings, no more canned soups, no more boxed Mac & cheese, no more store-bought bread. No soft drinks of any kind. Now, companies have started catching on and have even started advertising that they there is no HFCS in their product.

By then, I had gotten so used to “cooking long hand” that I no longer depended on ingredients that I could make myself. Need italian dressing? Just had equal parts of vinegar and olive oil, then whatever seasonings strike your fancy. Voila. You’re done. Cooking completely from scratch became the norm.

Does this mean that I make EVERYTHING from scratch? If only I was that pure. No way.

So this year as I contemplated resolutions, I realized that they only work if you realize that you are not going to be perfect. You have to work some forgiveness into your plan. If your resolution is to cut out all sweets until you lose a certain amount of weight – build forgiveness into that. When you fail, pick up the next day and move on. Don’t beat yourself up for it. You will never win.

Also, if you’re like me, you will have the tendency to give up when you first “fail”. Don’t. Pick yourself up by the bootstraps and press on. This is the difference between success and failure. Not everyone who was successful, succeeded the first time. They succeeded because they kept on. They continually pressed toward their goal, picking themselves up off the ground after every failure.

None of us is perfect, we all fail. Can you be determined? Can you make a mistake and move on?

I’m going to leave you with a quote from my father-in-law, I know that I’ve written here before, but it seems very appropriate for this post.

Anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly, at first.

Give yourself the grace and patience to fall flat on your face first. Because only then will you truly learn to fly!

Your Turn: What goal or resolution have you made this year? What are you putting in place to better reach it?

Also, I have a question for you all…Would you like to continue the chapter by chapter discussion of Folks, This Ain’t Normal or should we move on. I’m happy to continue it, but I don’t want anyone to be bored. šŸ™‚ Please leave your reply, I would highly value your opinion and vote!

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About Sheri Salatin

Sheri is married to Daniel Salatin. She is the marketing director at Polyface Farm and stay-at-home mom of three children. Sheri is passionate about clean food and is enjoying working the land along side her husband. When not farming, Sheri can be found reading, writing, sewing, baking and serving in her church family.

17 Responses to Resolutions, Goals, Conviction or Promises

  1. Sarah Van Leeuwen says:

    I’ve cut out HFCS as well, and use Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions for recipes for ketchup, pickles & salad dressings. The ketchup tastes pretty right on to me, and is actually good for you! Have you already tried this?

  2. Mellisa says:

    My ‘resolution’ for this year, if you will, is chickens. I am putting together a several year plan to have 50-75% of the food my children and I eat be things made from sustainable, non-industrial food. Lets face it, am I ever giving up dried pasta? No. Or Oreos? Probably not. My children would mutiny! But if I can lessen our dependence on industrialized food and artificial sweeteners then we will be all the healthier.

  3. It’s not exactly a resolution since I was working on this before but I am continuing my journey on cooking from scratch and eliminating as much processed food as possible. (Like Mellisa I doubt I’m giving up dried pasta but I have changed to whole wheat.) My husband got me the Nourishing Traditions cookbook for Christmas and I will be learning from it. I also want to give up store bought canned tomatoes this year. I plan to home can my own sauce, paste, diced etc. tomatoes. As far as the book discussion… I’m all for it. Not boring at all! I read through the book myself and am now reading it aloud to the family around the breakfast table.

  4. Mary Hemme says:

    Sheri, this is all so true for me. I receive weekly veggie and fruit shares from Grant Farms CSA in Wellington, Colorado. They have helped me to remember that ya gotta prepare and consume these goodies in a timely fashion because they are so pure and good, they’ll go bad quickly. In this process, I have learned how much better it tastes when it doesn’t come from a can or box. Also, i envy that you are so close to such an amazIng human, Joel Salatin. I listened to him speak at Grant Farms a couple of years ago and I couldn’t walk away…he talks a lot… and I love to hear what he has to say. He’s truly a Revolutionary Farmer. God bless Polyface Farms!

  5. Thanks! My new year resolution is ASAP to make a volunteer manual at least half as good as the one Darren Dougherty shared with me as .jpg a few months ago! -Cause after hosting 2000+ volunteers or so on our 17 hectares, I still believe it’s worth doing it, however I’m sick of falling on my face as often as I do!
    I sat down and trimmed the black edges on the poor photos of your manual, planning to print them, scan them in an editable version and then modify them….all to save me from retypiong the whole thing in a suitable modified version to our project (Hey; we have only 5 chicks, of the feathered kind, that is!)
    …It was at this stage that I thought you might simply want to bless us with a .doc or similar version of the manual????????
    We’re not really able to pay much, but I’m almost certain it’ll guarantee you a free passage through the pearly gates some day….!? In other words; We’d really appreciate it, and so would the future generations of surviving volunteers/interns…

  6. I have many New Year resolutions… it is really more like a “to do” list for the year! One of the main ones (without getting into too many specifics) is to be preparing our property and my knowledge base to go a full year without buying ANY food (other than coffee and flour) from a grocery store or convienance store… which will be the goal for next year. This is by far the most difficult “to do” item… but I am also the most excited about it.
    I have really enjoyed your posts/the descussions about the book! Not boreing at all. =)

  7. Stephanie says:

    This has been one of the rules of our house for several years now–no HFCS, no, trans fats, no MSG. We also don’t usually buy things with colors or preservatives added, but once in awhile we all enjoy a package of Haribo gummies.
    But my big hypocritical thing was although the kids couldn’t have HFCS, I drank soda like it was going out of style. So in March of 2007 I gave it up for good and have never looked back. It is one of my proudest accomplishments because I was REALLY hooked. Now I enjoy my fizzy water and my kids can drink it with me!
    I just discovered your book club–please dont quit Folks, This Just Ain’t Normal! I’m reading it, as well as You Can Farm.

  8. Shrader Thomas says:

    You are so right about resolutions. Every year at this time, my local gym always fills up with people I don’t recognize. I’m sure they mean well, but in a few weeks, most of them will be gone again. I guess the new year can be a time to reflect over what you did during the past 12 months and to try to map out some kind of plan for the next 12 (of course, we all know what happens to the best paid plans). You’d like to make major changes, but then it’s so easy to slip back into old patterns and habits.

    I loved FOLKS, THIS AIN’T NORMAL and I would absolutely give my vote to continuing the discussions here. Quotes like the one you listed again here, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly, at first,” are such an inspiration. I mean, that’s just so freeing, if you can really take it to heart. Keep trying, at anything! Regardless of the calendar date (January 1st or otherwise). Also, in an upcoming chapter, Joel gives a wonderful quote from Benjamin Franklin which, among many other things, definitively answers the question of the Founding Fathers’ faith with five simple words (when speaking of America): Atheism is not known there. I have to admit, I cheered out loud when I read that. There is definitely much more worth discussing from this great book.

    • Stephanie says:

      Shader–I just read that part yesterday and did a little jig myself! Straight from the mouth of someone who lived during the time and helped found the country.

  9. Shawna Barr says:

    Hi Sheri,

    I am new to this blog and delighted to find it. I have four young kids and a farm, and for the last several years, we have done away with HFCS and most other non-food food. Making things from scratch has just become the new normal. We moved to our little farm almost 4 years ago. Before moving, a friend of mine, who formerly ran an organic market garden with her husband, warned me not to get so busy with the farm work that I left no time to feed my family the food that we grew. I thought she was crazy, as she admitted to working all day in the gardens and farmers markets, only to grab take-n-bake pizza on the way home for her OWN family because she was too tired to cook.

    It was good advice, and I’ve tried to follow it….even making up lots of homemade “convenience” food ahead of time…like homemade frozen burritos and homecanned soups and chiles. It is doable, even during the busiest seasons on the farm.

    I read Folks, this Ain’t Normal during the Christmas Season. I’d love to join the conversation. Mr. Salatin’s writings have been the most influential source, other than the Bible, on our decision to choose the farming lifestyle. Family Friendly Farming made me wish…just a little…that I could be adopted by the Salatins!
    Happy New Year!

    • Sheri Salatin says:

      Welcome to the Hen House, Shawna. I’m glad that you are joining us. šŸ™‚

      That is very good advice from your friend and so very true.

  10. Heather Vennekotter says:

    I just found this website. My friend recommended it to me. As I am reading these post I’m crying because this is exactly my heart. I am trying to figure out how to get my family off of all these toxicating foods. We have been gardening for 5 years now and love it! I can some and am still learning. I really would like to know what you did to transition your family off of these foods. Right now I’m cutting out MSG but its in everything! The boys think I’m the worst Mom ever right now, which really I don’t care because I know its for their own good. Where did you purchase the book Nourishing traditions cookbook? So excited to find this site!

    • Sheri Salatin says:

      Heather, just start a little at a time. Don’t try to weed out everything at once. Pick ONE thing that is your biggest concern and start there. I started with high fructose corn syrup and worked it from there. You could start with the MSG or something else. It takes time, but try to find substitutes if you can. Try new foods to keep the kids happy.

      I found a “coke” substitute (Switch Beverage) so that we could still drink soda when I make homemade pizzas. Things like that. It will make the household a lot happier. And don’t stress it. Just do the best you can. If you’re stressing over what they’re eating, they will be stressing over it too. Keep it easy and realistic. šŸ™‚

      Nourishing Traditions cookbook can be found on Amazon and many bookstores. It’s a good cookbook, but I will warn you, if your kids don’t like “different” things. They will not like it. My kids are not crazy about the recipes in that book.

      It’s quite a few steps ahead in the food world. šŸ™‚ If you are starting slowly, any “good” cookbooks that feature non-processed ingredients are great! One of my personal favorites if the Pioneer Woman Cookbook. She also has a website that is a wealth of information and recipes. You can find it here:

      Hope this helps!

  11. Sean Elliott says:

    For me I have always thought resolutions weren’t for me. Early last year when I saw Food INC. that turned my life upside down. I have a 7 and 5 year old. Realizing what I was allowing my kids to eat was killing them I vowed to drop HFCS as well. My kids (other than a few sniffles here and there) did not get sick once last year! Coincidence??? This year, like Shari did years back, I also extended the food items I wont have in my kitchen to include more than just HFCS. I love to cook so the need to be more creative was a welcome challenge. Especially when it concerns the health and safety of my wife and kids. For many years of my life I have had a dream to farm and live 100% off the land with my family. Now that my vision is clear today I put in my 1 month notice to quit my job to move to Idaho and start farming!!! A wise man once said that we are to be Caretakers of Creation. That is my resolution for 2012 and beyond!