A brand new year, possibly a new hangover and WTF, here’s a list of things you wrote down last night as resolutions. Now that the pounding in your head is beginning to subside it may be time to reexamine that list. If there’s anything of value you’re going to need a few things.

First you need motivation. Perhaps the top resolution of all time is to lose weight. It’s fairly standard and quite popular. Let’s use that as our prime example.

But wait a minute… You have to change your eating habits and exercise routine to lose weight. Unless you have a tapeworm and trust me, that’s not a good option. So if you’re not properly motivated to lose weight you might have blown a bundle on a gym membership or pills/powders/magic potions, etc. Poof. Your wallet is lighter.

At my age (I tell people I’m twenty-five so yes, I lie. It’s okay, no-one believes me.) I can’t afford to keep extra weight on my body. I had hip surgery as a toddler and I want to be able to walk for my entire life, not just now. If I ever get married I want to be able to do lots of things with my husband, who I expect to be at least equally active. I’ve always wanted to be athletic so there’s my motivation and an example for everyone reading this.

Should you see a doctor first? Probably. Don’t sue me if you don’t. He or she can investigate and see if you have a thyroid condition (or some other medical malady) that’s preventing your body from natural weight regulation. This is only a blog. I can’t do that for you. But if your physician offers you help you should probably take it.

Here are a few free weight loss tips: ditch the sugary drinks, get rid of ‘fat free,’ and ‘diet’ foods because they usually replace ingredients with things you may not expect, and chew your fruits and veggies. Replace manufactured snacks like chips and candy bars with nuts and fruit. Learn to ask your stomach, not your thoughts, if you really want that next bit of food. Beware of ‘diets’ because they start with the word ‘die.’

One cookie or slice of pie once in a while won’t make much of a difference so don’t sweat it if you indulge on occasion. Just don’t make it a daily thing. You might crave certain foods for a while but once you start eating food that’s closer to its natural state your tastes should start to change. Give it a chance.

As someone with food allergies I do feel compelled to alert you to the possibility. If any food causes your mouth to tingle or your tongue to start swelling spit it out immediately and get medical help. Anything carbonated works to quell my allergies (I don’t carry an Epi-pen) but you might be different. Please don’t take chances.

Determine whether it’s better to step on the scales daily or weekly. Almost anything measurable can be tracked over time and seeing progress will be a boost to your self-confidence. Seeing weight gain can alert you to the need for fewer calories or more exercise.

Another reason to check with a doctor is the exercise component. You don’t want to get injured from workouts. Your doctor might even be able to recommend how intensely you should workout. You don’t want to aggravate any old injuries. The goal is to improve, not make things worse.

And that’s it for my tips on weight loss. Except for this. I’ve lost nearly twenty pounds in the last year. No ‘diet,’ just eating better, no workout ‘plan’ except for more stairs and learning how to dance (something new for me and I’m terrible at it.) Yes, I could have lost weight faster if I’d neglected the effort to put on muscle; but muscles burn more calories. There’s no deadline for creating a better lifestyle, just a lifeline to better health.

The next thing you’ll need is a commitment. Generally that requires some reason. People who commit crimes need motives–and so do you. Look at the reasons why you want to fulfill a resolution. Unless you’re doing it for yourself it’ll likely fail.

It might be a secondary resolution, like losing weight so your wife will quit nagging, but take another look. Find the selfish part of that. If you become more physically attractive your wife will (probably) want to be more intimate with you. (If she doesn’t, send her to me and we’ll have a little ‘chat.’ Just kidding.)

Maybe you’re less selfish than most and want to help others. You’ll be in a much better position to do that if you’re not the one in need. If you want a definition of commitment it might be this–the determination to not quit in spite of setbacks and discouragement.

It puzzles me when people question my resolve to be fitter and healthier. “You look fine,” they say. Really? Thanks. But ‘fine’ isn’t good enough. I’ve seen my body naked and there’s room for improvement. You haven’t unless you’re some kind of Peeping Tom. (And if you are, shame on you. Besides, you’ll recover. Eventually. Serves you right, when you think about it.)

The last thing you’ll need is time. It takes longer to pick out tasty, healthy food than to grab snacks diabolically located near the check-out. It takes time to walk, take the stairs, lift weights, dance, etc. But if you live longer in a fitter body and can still do things you enjoy in your golden years, it’ll have been worth it.

So there you have it. Motivation, commitment and time. The ‘formula’ should work for other resolutions as well. So it’s up to you. What do you really want?

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About Scifialiens

Author of the Martian Symbiont series: three titles, so far; Been Blued, Martian Blues, Martian Divides. Currently writing screenplays. 'Mating With Humans' can be found on her Stage32.com account. Enjoyed writing from the start. Also a Star Trek and Doctor Who fan. Canadian so far. Paternal grandparents were American. Feels more at home in the States. Loves dogs and most other animals. Loves cats from afar--allergies. Plays flute and saxophone; 'messes with' keyboard and electric guitar. Single so far. Not really looking at the moment. Age: irrelevant. Not to be confused with the fictional comic book character, Phyllis Twombly, who lived for 600 years in the American Midwest.

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