Don't throw the baby out with the bath water...

I know. I know. Resolutions are cliché and so overdone. But even if your cliché turkey on Thanksgiving is overdone, you wouldn’t just stop cooking turkeys on turkey day, would you? So why would you avoid a New Year’s Resolution when the New Year comes? What can it hurt? Worse comes to worse you’ll be in the same boat as those non-resolvers.

I’ve been on this resolution kick a few years myself. One year I gave up chocolate. (No joke. I really did. I was in college and I would visit my housemate just to sniff her jar of candy. She was Japanese and I’m sure she thought I was a very weird American.)

Another year I resolved to run 1,500 miles that year. Not only did I meet my resolution, I hit about 1,800 for good measure! Last year I hit a bump and couldn’t think of anything good, so I just resolved to ‘Be healthy.” And that’s where my trouble began.

I’ve learned that in order to have a successful goal, you’ve got to make it tangible. Saying you want to “be healthy” or “lose weight” in 2010 is way too vague (which is probably why my meaning of “be healthy” became “eat-what-you-want-when-you-want-and-wash-it-down-with-some-wine!”

When I wanted to lose weight, I focused on what would get me there. Running burns calories, so I resolved to run more. But I didn’t just say I’d run more. I set a goal. I had a number. I knew I had to run roughly 30 miles a week to reach my year-end goal. So I got a datebook and recorded all my runs. At the end of every month, I tallied my runs and wrote that number next to the month. Seeing that number motivated me to keep going.

Once you write your resolution down, post it in a high-traffic area. If you’re goal is to lose weight, having that resolution slap you in the face every time you look at your fridge, you might be less likely down that tub of Rocky Road.

Set yourself up for success.
If your resolution is to floss your teeth more often, it might help to get some floss. Just a thought. Go out and buy a butt-load of it. Then sprinkle them along your daily path – in the bathroom, in your purse, in your car, at your desk. If it’s within reach, you’ll be much more likely to stick to your resolution.

Within reach
I know. Your mother always told you to shoot for the stars. But you’ll never get there if you don’t like flying. Don’t go crazy making your resolution. That’s why so many people have given up on resolutions. If you’re a bona-fide couch potato, don’t make it your goal to run 10 miles a day. Instead, find a 10K race you’d like to enter in the fall and train for it.

Be more active is a good goal, but how do you measure it? Instead, say you want to work out 5 days a week for at least 20 minutes a day. Set up a chart, or make a note in your planner every day you meet your goal. At the end of every month, go back and take a peak at your progress. Seeing all the days you met your goals (even if you missed a few days) will motivate you to keep it up.

Here are my resolutions:

Floss 3 times a week
I know dentists say you should floss every day, but that’s not a realistic goal for me. Three times a week is much more doable, and it’s better than the rate I’m at now.

Take a daily multivitamin … daily
I tend to use vitamin pills like tic-tacs, popping one only when I’m not feeling so fresh. I’m going to bring my multivitamins to work and stick them next to my computer. If I’m staring at them all day, I’ll be much more likely to take one.

Get back into yoga
I’m eyeing a new gym that has more convenient yoga classes.

Run a marathon
I’ve got the half-marathon down pat, but that 26.2 mile race just sounds so far! There’s a race in July I’d like to give a go.

Be on time
I like to call myself a Time Optimist. I always think I’ll have plenty of time to get places and I always end up rushed and late. Maybe I’ll set all my clocks ahead.

What are your goals for 2010? Share them in the comments section, and I’ll post an update next month!

Labels: , ,

“Don't throw the baby out with the bath water...”