Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

Yesterday while I was out running on the last day of 2007, I got many encouraging looks and even a few thumbs up from people driving by or out walking. At first, I thought they were just being friendly and encouraging, but then, as I always do, my mind began to wander, investigate, and over-analyze their motives.

What I surmised is that those people must have thought that I was getting a jump start on my New Year's resolution, and they felt compelled to boost my motivation. So in either case, I say "thank you" to those people whose bright smile put an extra spring in my step.

Last week, the local newspaper published the top 5 New Year's resolutions from a reader poll, and the list contained the usual suspects. The number one goal was to lose weight. Others were exercise more and consume less alcohol. These are very admirable goals for any person, but because they're all related and each is very difficult to do, many people with the best of intentions to fulfill these goals don't stick to the exacting, demanding rigor of making them last. I know this personally, as I have been doing it now for 1.5 years, and although I have lost about 40 pounds and feel better than ever, it still must force myself to run daily and conscientiously think carefully about what I'm consuming.

At the beginning of each year, I always see an increase in the number of people out jogging, but after a week or two, I don't see them any more. What does this mean? Does it mean they lost the weight they desired in a mere week and quit? Does it mean that they bought a membership to a gym and are now training indoors on a treadmill? Most likely, it means that the anticipation of losing weight, the energy of a new year and new hope was swallowed up by the reality that running is hard work and takes daily discipline. It also means adjusting one's daily schedule to make time to do it. In a world with super-sized combo meals and daily planners filled to capacity, it all too easy to let oneself off the hook when it comes to diet and exercise.

The mindset of "going on a diet" has made many savvy individuals very wealthy by offering unique ways to temporarily change eating habits to results. But most people will tell you that once they go "off" the diet, they typically gain all, if not more weight back. Some people are unsuccessful on their diet: "I ate Brussels sprouts and raw bacon for fourteen days, and all I lost were two weeks!" For a diet or an exercise program to work, they cannot be something that one goes on and off of, they must be a way of life. A diet is WHAT you eat. Exercise is WHAT you do.

So whatever your resolutions are this year, may they be more than vacuous words and hollow goals. May you be empowered to change your mindset and your habits to effectively change your health, wardrobe, and lifestyle.

If I see you out running, I'll be sure to give you a big smile and and a reassuring "thumbs up!"

Have a great 2008!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i will do my best to keep the few i have chosen for 08.