We’re a week and a half into the New Year.

How are those resolutions going?

A resolution is essentially a goal, and good goals are:

S:pecific

M:easurable

A:ction-oriented

R:ealistic

T:imely

S:elf-determined

Specific is just that—not vague, not fuzzy, not underdeveloped. “Lose 20 pounds” “Do a half-marathon” “Eat 6 servings of fruits/veggies a day” “Exercise 5 days a week”

Measurable means that there is a way to track your progress. When your goals are specific, it is easier to measure them. Weight loss is decently easy enough to track (especially when you track fat percentage as well, to give you a better picture of your fat-to-muscle ratio). Keeping a workout journal or a notepad of when you eat produce is also ‘measured.’

Action-oriented. This is important. Your goal has to imply that you are moving in a new direction. Yes, it’s something that you need to be proactive about. It means you need to think ahead and shop for extra produce, since you can’t eat what’s not in your fridge. It means you need to take the time out of your day to workout. It means you need to take the time to sit and plan out your routes so you can run your needed distances each day. Even goals that involve quitting—-smoking, drinking diet sodas/sodas, eating sugar—mean that you need to set into place an action to counter the cravings, temptations and opportunities.

Realistic. 20 pounds in a month is not so reasonable for non-TBL contestants. 20 pounds in 10 weeks is a bit more ideal, and aiming for 1-2 pounds a week with an combined total of 20 pounds lost is even better. Running a marathon takes time to train for, and if you’re not a solid runner now, doing one next month is probably going to land you in the emergency room. Think about where you are right now, and be honest with yourself about what you can achieve. Push yourself, but don’t break.

Timely means don’t plan for those 20 pounds to take all year. If you need to lose the weight, do it. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t try to eat all 7 servings of produce at breakfast. In fact, going from 1 serving a day to 7 can cause GI problems (gas, bloating, constipation). Small steps to begin with, for all goals. Small steps forward, at a decent pace, but not overwhelming.

Self-determined is the biggest one of all. Who said you need to lose weight? Was it a critical sister, or  a husband (who replied “Yes” when asked if those jeans made you look fat)? Was it your doctor, who hinted that your infertility might be due to being overweight? Do you want to complete a marathon to compete with a friend? Why are you wanting to eat more produce?

First off, do not do anything out of guilt. Own who you are, where you are, and your past actions. Do let let others’ words make you feel any certain way—-guilty, ashamed. Do not give others that power!  No matter what your goal is, you will not work at it if you truly do not want it. There may be truth in what others have said. Acknowledge that truth. Thank them for being honest (literally, or just in mind), especially if they were kind about it or had good intentions. But ask yourself what you truly want. Your goal does not have to be weight loss. There are many more facets of health besides weight. Focus on what you feel you need to focus on. Make your goal your own. You set it. You determine what is challenging but doable. And surround yourself with supporters, not naysayers.

2011 is your year.

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