I spent 1999 with some pretty serious millenium fever. I had the countdown clock, a ton of new millenium merchandise, and I read all kinds of crazy post-millennial apocalyptic books (note that I never actually thought the world was going to end, I just found it fascinating). Needless to say, when the clock turned to midnight and absolutely nothing changed, I was seriously disappointed. There wasn’t even a computer glitch.
I think that’s when New Year’s lost its sheen for me. It’s not that I hate New Year’s, I just don’t see what the big deal is. I much prefer to use my birthday to mark the passage of time (I love that there is a
month week day all about me). Also, I loathe the 800 million extra people at the gym and I can’t take most resolutions seriously because we all know they mostly fail. I can’t remember the last time I had a New Year’s resolution. I had goals last year, but they had nothing to do with January 1.
My goals in 2011 were pretty simple: run a half marathon, get pregnant, finish PhD. I started all of these long before 1/1/11 and I think that’s why I was mostly successful (I won’t finish the PhD until 2012, but that is a long sad story of divorcing my original advisor, so I’m at peace with the extra 6 months). Also, besides getting pregnant, these goals are all very specific and I knew/know exactly what I have/had to accomplish to finish them, which makes all the difference. Oh, and I did set a goal to lose weight this summer, which I stuck to until I got pregnant. I can’t imagine how heavy and miserable I would be right now if I hadn’t started losing weight for a few months before pregnancy, so I’m glad I didn’t wait for New Year’s.
I guess my point is, if you must make New Year’s resolutions, make them small, concrete goals. Instead of resolving to “get fit”, try resolving to “run a 5K/10K/half/full/ultra” or “swim x yards without stopping”. Instead of “lose weight”, maybe try “lose 5 pounds a month”. Realistic goal setting means you will be less frustrated and feel more accomplished. And less frustration means you might stick with it. But honestly, if you need to set a goal in February or November or whenever, don’t wait for some arbitrary day, just do it!
Oh, and for the love of all that is good and holy, fad diets as New Year’s resolutions (or any kind of goal) need to go. I shudder when I read about some of the crazy diets out there (HCG diet anyone?) and the important thing to remember is you need to make a lifestyle change to have lasting weight loss (look, just cause I’m still fat doesn’t mean I don’t understand the physiology. It just means I’m too stupid to not follow my own advice). The cookie diet might be problematic once you hit maintenance (and don’t get all excited by the word cookie, Kara, I hear they taste like butt). Any diet that involves excluding a whole food group (unless doctor prescribed or food allergies) or limiting calories under 1200/day is probably a fad diet. Believe it or not, your body needs carbs, protein, and fat and you’ll feel like crap if you don’t get all 3 (and yes, I could tell you many roles for each in the body, but I assume you have other blogs to read today, just remember, even cholesterol does important stuff on a cellular level). Oh, and drink some water. You can thank me later.
Ok, enough with the soapboxing. My goals for next year are TBD since it all depends on when I have this baby and how the delivery/c-section goes. In a perfect world, I’ll be back up to a 5K or 10K by the end of the year and be under 200 pounds, but we’ll see what happens. I will have my PhD (in biomedical science for those who asked) in June (no really, either I graduate or I quit with an MS because I don’t have childcare). We are putting an offer on a conventional house sale today that looks promising, so we should be homeowners in February (the short sale got too expensive). Even if this house falls through, we should be homeowners by March because we need to move out of our apartment. Most importantly, we’ll be parents in April or May (better not be March, kid. Keep your tiny butt in there). Of course, none of this gets set in to motion tomorrow, I’ve been working on all of this stuff for a long time.
2012 will be a good year, resolutions or not. Now if you’ll excuse me, my daily goal is to finish my graphs for this last paper. We have tickets tonight to see the Blue Jackets lose to the Capital tonight (sigh, try to score a few times guys), which is to be followed by a fireworks show in the arena (husband is peeing himself in excitement, meanwhile I’ll just be peeing myself cause she’ll kick every time there is a loud noise). Then we’ll come home and ring 2o12 with the puggles. Yes, I am unhealthily obsessed with my mutts.
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? What are your plans tonight? Any big exciting changes coming next year? For my readers with PhDs, did you feel utter panic in the last 4-5 months of your PhD because it feels like it just won’t all come together fast enough?