Resolutions vs. Goals

It’s that time of year. It’s time for Americans to RESOLVE to change all of our bad habits beginning January 1. We’re going to lose weight, stop smoking, exercise more, learn a new language, stop swearing…the list goes on an on.

I used to be one who made resolutions. It was as if simply “resolving” to change a bad habit would bring me success. It never worked.

Now I set goals. The goal of getting into the best shape of my life by the time I turn 50 was set on September 16, 2009, not on January 1. Unlike resolutions, I believe goals require a plan for success.  After “playing with the same four pounds” for the past six weeks,  I now need to set mini-goals that support my overall goal. Here are a few I’ve set:

1. I will begin making careful notes about my exercise. How far did I run? What was the temperature outside? How many calories did I burn? Am I improving my pace time? I’ll know the answers because of my careful note taking.

2. I’m ready to remove diet sodas from my life. They are full of chemicals and nothing positive comes from drinking them.

3. I want to stop eating beef and pork. Lean chicken and fish provide the high quality protein I need.

4. I will stretch every day. I’m currently dealing with a nagging over-use injury in my hip. Nine times out of ten, nagging pains are caused by my neglecting my stretching routine. A few minutes of stretching is an investment in exercising without injuries. I once read in a yoga book, “you are as young as your spine is flexible.” I believe this.

I’ll revisit the above-listed goals at the end of March. I am scheduled for an appointment with an exercise kinesiologist who will measure my body fat composition, resting metabolism and VO2 max. This will be my second visit (the first was in September as I began this two-year journey). I will be tested every six months so that I can measure my progress. What I learn will help me readjust my mini-goals as needed.

5. Regarding athletic events, I want to participate in three half-marathons and two sprint triathlons in 2010. That’s actually a desire, not a goal. I’ll not beat myself up if something unforeseen happens and I am unable to realize this desire.

Above all, I’ll work at my goals one day at a time.

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