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What's it going to take to keep your resolution this year?

New Year's Day is drawing near, and if you are like me, you're looking forward to heralding in 2008, but dread donning the heavy yoke of your resolutions.

Year after year, it seems my resolutions focus on the same issues: save more money, pay more attention to our investments, and always topping the list: lose weight. However good my intentions are on Jan. 1, my effort tends to peter out by Valentine's Day.

Experts say people fail to keep their resolutions because they are vague about the goal, make no serious commitment to it, procrastinate and fail to build in a support and/or accountability system.

I'll add one more factor to the list: We are, after all, only human.

So what's it going to take? As I see it, to make resolutions become habits, I/ we will need to:

Make a commitment to ourself. If I didn't meet deadlines at the newspaper, you wouldn't have this column to read. We count on people doing what they say they will, every day of our lives. Are we that dependable when it comes to commitments to ourselves? To succeed, we will have to make commitments to ourselves as important as those we make to others.

Set realistic goals. To lose 30 pounds by Jan. 31 is unrealistic. A realistic weight loss is two pounds a week, which equates to a loss of 14 pounds by Valentine's Day and a 26-pound loss by April Fool's Day. Very doable.

Deter-mine what action is necessary? What-ever we are doing now is giving us the results we currently have.

What has to change? Set an action plan and then, as Nike says, just do it.

Look for events that could derail your resolve and have a plan to combat them. A packed gym bag in the car would make a stop at home unnecessary. If you have obligations that will keep you from your regular workout, find time to fit it in during the day, rather than skip it.

Put exercise on the calendar. Just like any other appointment!

Focus on it daily. My health care provider commented that we wouldn't think about not brushing our teeth at least a couple times a day - ugh! Missing a daily workout or whatever new habit you wish to make needs to be as regular as brushing your teeth and feel that unsettling if missed.

Keep records of the progress. Write every detail down. There is no shortage of Web sites for keeping track of weight loss, training schedules, savings plans, etc., and certainly paper and pen work fine, too.

Enjoy small successes and the journey. Celebrating the progress made will take the focus off what can appear to be an insurmountable task. Every five pounds lost or $50 tucked se-curely away brings you closer to your goal.

Find a role model. Whether you want to lose weight, save money, learn a new language, be a better housekeeper or train for a marathon, someone somewhere is doing what you want to do. Learn by imitating them and don't be afraid to ask questions.

Retired elementary teacher Val Martin, a dear friend to students and parents alike, started each school year with a quote that I will use as my mantra during 2008. I can't recall if she attributed the quote to anyone in particular; I just preface it with 'Remember what Mrs. Martin says: 'Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you are right.'

Bon Appetit and Happy New Year!

The recipe shared today comes from Lake Oswego's Susan Marks, who owns My Sue Chef, A Personal Chef Service. I called Susan hoping she could offer tips on preparing foods beneficial to weight-loss programs. Susan had many - including the idea to clear out the pantry altogether! For more information on her services, contact her at 503-754-1574 or e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Tasty Turkey and Salsa Meat Loaf


2 pounds ground turkey breast

1 small onion finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup salsa (your favorite brand, heat level)

4 egg whites

1 Tbl. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup oatmeal


Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.

Mix all ingredients together by hand, put in loaf pan.

Bake for 1 hour.

Serves 8.

Calories per serving: 121

Carbs per serving: 8.2

Submitted by Susan Marks, My Sue Chef Personal Service, 2007.

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-635-8811 or by e-mail at [email protected] .

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