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I have been thinking a lot about resolutions over the past few weeks. We close every year, and subsequently start the new year questioning, “what can I change about myself this year?” We proceed in a frenzied manner, rushing around to fix the broken things, right the wrongs, and transform ourselves into newer, better people. The first week of the new year starts with people pledging to eat better, get healthy, workout more. And each year, people one-by-one fall off the resolution bandwagon. Some make it a week, others months and the few-and-far between make it the full year. The next new year happens upon us, bringing with it the same resolution filled chatter. And so the cycle continues.

We aren’t getting any younger and our bodies are not magically taking care of themselves. Pushing the “get healthy, eat better” mantra aside does nothing to make our daily lives better. It is like saying, the things I have filled my life with – work, hobbies, family, pets, volunteer work – they are all more pressing than taking care of myself; than living a healthy, fulfilling life. By no means am I downplaying those things, because there isn’t anything more important to me than my family and friends. But take a step back and think about it. You cannot be a good spouse, a loving parent or an engaging friend if you are not present- if you are too sick to be by a loved one’s side, too out of shape to play with your child, or too busy to feed yourself and your family a healthy meal. At some point, we need to take a step back and put healthy food and living at the forefront of our lives. Not just as a resolution, but as a way of life.

Let 2012 be the year of change for you and your family. Instead of trying to become healthier in one, all encompassing, resolution, take the Simple Food Healthy Life challenge for 2012. We have broken down the year into monthly themes, followed by weekly challenges. Instead of focusing on the big picture, look at the weekly one. Focus on changing small dietary and fitness goals each week., then incorporate those weekly changes into your daily life. The result should be a happier, healthier you by December 31, 2012.

Each week Simple Food Healthy Life will talk about the challenge, share recipes, and provide tips and advice from experts for successfully achieving the weekly challenge. Every Monday, we will post a roundup of links, recipes, and blog posts from those involved in the challenge. There will be also be giveaways for those involved.

So how does it work? Each week runs from Sunday to Sunday. Sign up to take the challenge by filling out the form in the Take the SFHL52 Challenge tab. If you stumble across us late in the game, don’t worry! You can join the challenge at any time.  Remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter (using #SFHL52) and Pinterest for the latest recipes, tips and inspiration.

Join the Simple Food Healthy Life 52 Challenge and make 2012 the YEAR for a healthier, happier you.

SFHL52 Challenge: Quarter 1 Breakdown

January: Get in the Zone with Food Network’s Healthy Eats, Healthy Every Week Challenge

Spend the month getting in the zone with these general weekly challenges

  • Week 1: Eat Breakfast
  • Week 2: Eat More Whole Grains
  • Week 3: Cook at Home
  • Week 4: Eat More Fruits & Vegetables

February: Heart Healthy Foods

Focus on incorporating the weekly heart healthy food into your diet

  • Week 1: Oatmeal
  • Week 2: Broccoli
  • Week 3: Blueberries
  • Week 4: Spinach

March: Soups Galore

Enjoy the last cool month by eating healthy soups once a week

  • Week 1: Use your crockpot
  • Week 2: Make a healthy, hearty chili
  • Week 3: No-cream only soup
  • Week 4: Vegetarian soup

April: Spring has Sprung and so have Salads

The first full month of spring has come and so will your focus on healthy, low-caloie and filling salads

  • Week 1: Homemade salad dressing only
  • Week 2: Pile on a new type of leafy green
  • Week 3: Get creative with salad for lunch
  • Week 4: No high-calorie “extras”