Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011: A New Year - New Resolutions

January 1, 2011.  I awoke to thick fog this morning, and very mild temperatures.  It is going to be a glorious Saturday!  It is the dawn of a new year, with all the promise ahead of us, to make this year what we want it to be. 

It is also time for our annual resolutions.

Resolutions are important, but only if we don't turn them into empty promises to ourselves.  Like any goal, there are certain steps I take to ensure I maximize my chances of achieving them.  The most important?

A lot of people will automatically say that resolutions must be realistic, and that is certainly very important and an essential basic requirement too, but the most important is actually to be sure the resolution is something I truly desire. 

I think a lot of  people toss out resolutions that "sound good," but there is really no internal motivation to succeed at them.  Resolutions aren't just a "wish list" of our perfect vision for ourselves, or something we do because others expect it of us. 

For me to make progress and actually succeed at my goals, I give them some serious thought beforehand.  Do I really WANT this?  Why?  How important is this to me?  Is there something more important I want to be focusing on?

Ah, yes ... prioritization.  That is also important to ensuring I maximize my chances of achieving my goals. 

I prioritize my resolutions, when I make more than one, as I often do.  I want to keep my focus on those most important goals, so I limit how many I set, working on the most important ones.  Note, when I ask myself these questions, I don't think "is there something more important I should be focusing on" - resolutions have to be something I actually desire, not "should" desire.

And lastly, I try to make my resolutions about the process, not the final product.  Making them about a process is what actually leads to sustainable changes, which allows me to reach my ultimate goals.  So, instead of saying, "I want to improve my health in 2011" or "I want to reach goal weight"- which are goals, certainly, a few of my resolutions will be all about the processes that can make this happen. 

My 2011 Resolutions:

1. Establish a weekly exercise habit

2. Routinely monitor daily caloric intake

3. Call my brother every month

Establishing a routine exercise habit is not an easy thing for me.  Actually, that is a gross understatement.  And it is my first, and most important, goal for this year.  It is a process that will lead to improved fitness and general health and well-being.  And it will help me improve my measurements too.  Sitting on the couch, wishing I could be more active, doesn't actually get me anywhere.  I have to make it a priority, and do something about it, so 2011 is the year I am going to do that.   

Monitoring caloric intake, I've learned, actually DOES make a difference.  And I need to do this routinely, to keep moving in the direction I want to be heading in my weight loss efforts.  Ultimately, I can achieve my goal weight (145 lbs) by doing this.  Before Allan's challenge series, I didn't give it much thought.  Actually, I thought it sounded like a big pain in the neck.  And, at first, it was - though not nearly as daunting as I anticipated.  Now?  I need to make this part of my routine, not just something I do for a challenge.  Challenges come to an end, eventually (I think) hehehe  ... and this is a behavior I've learned is actually vital to my own success.  So, this learned behavior needs to be moved to the routine habit category, and stay there, always.

Calling my brother every month is just good for my overall health!  Talking to him is so much fun, and we enjoy each other's company a great deal.  Our routines (and being located in different parts of the country) don't always allow us to connect as often as we'd like.  Four times a year, to recharge with those we love, is not often enough.  So, in 2011, I'm calling him every month.  It is good to hear his voice, and we laugh a great deal, and you can't put a price on that.  Life is just too short.

Note, my resolutions each have a time component to them.  Weekly, daily, monthly - these clearly define timeframes, which help me move forward in progress.  They are attainable, maintainable, and realistic.  And not one of them expects results instantly.  Change of behaviors and habits is a gradual process.  Creating an improved person takes time.  But, I should be able to measure progress as I go, and continually show movement toward my resolution goals.  Being realistic and understanding the gradual nature of establishing new habits, in particular, prevents me from feeling discouraged.  Just like weight loss, it will have its ups and downs, but staying focused and committed will - ultimately - help me achieve my resolutions in 2011, and all the fringe benefits that come with that. 

My resolutions are also not too vague.  Saying "I want to make better choices" is already built into these more specific resolutions.  It I make them too vague, it is a set up for failure.  Resolutions need to be targeted with measureable and attainable results.

I will continue to set other goals throughout the year, but the resolutions reign supreme. 

But, Ann, don't you want to reach goal weight in 2011?!

YES, of course I do (and I expect to), but that isn't a long-term goal by itself.  Maintaining it, now there's a goal!  And what helps me do that?  See resolutions 1 & 2. 

I use resolutions to establish long-term forever type of improvements, that benefit me as a person in some manner.  I'll use interim goals (not resolutions) to reach other targets - like my goal weight.  My goal weight, by the way, is 100 lbs away.  Setting a resolution for so seemingly big a task is to set myself up to be discouraged.  It is one of the reasons I keep the big picture in mind, but I only (ever) focus on my mini-goals.

Being successful takes a little thought and planning, not super-human efforts and unpleasant sacrifices.  Setting goals and resolutions that are too big, or too vague, will only lead me to lackluster results.

How does a person keep up motivation?  Simple.  I have to want what I am aiming for, and be realistic in my approach, plan well, prioritize, and make it about the process - not the ultimate destination. 

The ultimate destination, as it turns out, takes care of itself, if I take care of the rest.

 Happy New Year, Everyone!   


  1. You are a wise woman, Miss Ann!!!


  2. Stay realistic and you will no doubt keep on getting it done in 2011... Happy New Year!

  3. Happy New Year, Ann. You're proving you can do anything that you put your mind and heart toward. Looking forward to watching your progress in 2011.

  4. I LOVE the resolutions! Exercise and I have a love/hate relationship most of the time. I love it while I'm doing it, but I have to force myself to start most of the time. I keep hoping that will change, but if not, oh well! I have no doubt you can meet and maintain all your new goals in the coming year!

  5. You are so insightful! I agree with Baby Stepping Mary up there. I like the way you came up with your resolutions. I am making mine right now.

    Happy New Year!


  6. I guess we will be exercising and counting calories together. Happy New Year!

  7. Yeah, we really have to want it, to make it "stick" when the times get rough!

  8. Happy new year, Ann ! Good luck with your resolutions.

  9. my goal is always to loose one pound, sometimes two. If I had set out to loose 100 lbs I never would have been able to get my head around it. Anyone can loose one pound. And for people who are dissatisfied or unhappy with a one pound loss for a week... I lost 50.6 lbs last year. That is less than a pound a week and I'm super happy with what I accomplished last year. Happy New Year!!

  10. I'm with you on the exercise! I've got the eating thing down but the exercise is going to be a struggle! I do a lot of sitting on the couch WANTING to exercise but doing nothing about it.

    I don't typically make resolutions but if I did, exercise would be a priority.

    I live with my brother so I SO don't need to call him once a month. :-)

  11. Happy New Year Ann. Wonderful post and definitely gave me some things to think about.

  12. Happy New Year!
    I can see you put a great deal of thought into your resolutions for the new year. I like your process oriented resolutions with a time frame. Excellent start to the new year! Michele

  13. Happy New Year!!

    Love the time frame for your goals. You will accomplish a lot more doing it that way.

    Keep focused!!

  14. Happy new year! New follower :) Good luck with your goals in 2011!!!

  15. I love that you don't have a goal weight as your resolution! I know that is a common practice. BUT, we can only control our actions, not the darn scale.