New Week, New Year, New Goals.

So, here’s the deal. Everyone knocks New Year’s Resolutions because the majority of people start off strong and then revert back to their old habits by about March. While that may definitely be true, all of us who embark on new goals in the new year are fully capable of sticking with those goals if we decide to do so. The “sticking with it” part hinges on two factors:

1) picking practical goals

2) mentally committing to following through with those goals

Picking a goal that is too far out of your reach is setting yourself up for failure. An example of a bad goal is someone who didn’t make it to the gym once in 2011 setting a goal of going to the gym 7 days a week in 2012. It makes so much more sense for someone to ease into their final goal. So if you want to be a regular gym-goer, why not set a goal of making it one day a week in January, two days a week in February, three days a week in March, etc… When you successfully reach each month’s milestone, you’re more likely to stick with it.

With that said, I have a couple of changes I’d like to make in 2012. The first one is to get my sugar binge of the holiday season under control. Seriously, I had cake for breakfast during my last week in Florida! Yuck! In my opinion, sugar is the gateway to bad eating habits because of the dependency that it creates in your system. The more sugar you eat, the more you crave it and need to get your fix. (Actually, all junk food and fast food creates this cycle of dependency in your system). Don’t believe me? Watch someone with a sweet tooth after dinner one day. I guarantee you they’ll be scouring the cabinets and freezer for dessert. That’s partly out of habit and partly out of their body’s signals telling them that their sugar levels are low. I remember listening to a story on NPR that was discussing a scientific study testing the addictive properties of sugar. When lab rats were given the choice between COCAINE and sugar, they chose sugar. That is flat out scary to me. I don’t want to be dependent on any foods, especially ones that are so bad for you.

With that said, goal #1 for 2012 is to cut out most refined sugars. By refined sugars, I mean the white (or brown) stuff. There are plenty of natural sugars that I’m okay with using (honey, fruit juice) and while I’m eventually okay with consuming refined sugars in moderation, such as the occasional dessert, I first have to reprogram my system so that my need for sugar is gone.

My goal #2 for 2012 is related to one of my Christmas presents – a Breville Ikon Juicer! I cannot tell you how excited I am about having received this as a present from my in-laws since it’s about the only “thing” that I asked for. I’ve been reading a lot about the health benefits of juicing and I really wanted to make it a large part of my diet for 2012. In fact, opening and cleaning the juicer was one of the first things I did when we got back into town yesterday (after sending the Irishman to the grocery store and starting a load of laundry). Here is my new bad boy fresh out of the box.

While the Irishman initially scoffed at exactly how much produce I had included on the grocery list (I usually do the shopping for produce), I wanted him to become knowledgeable about what to buy organically and what to pass on. I also wanted to get both he and Parker involved with the juicing process since I’m planning on it being a household resolution. So, once my husband got back from the store, I selected an assortment of produce and washed it really well.

My first juicing experience included kale, romaine, a carrot, celery, oranges and an apple. Then, I read the owner’s manual cover to cover, selected the appropriate speeds for the different types of produce and less than 30 seconds later, I had a tall glass of juice!

Pardon the beer glass. I was too excited to put it in a pretty glass for the picture. Plus, I figured if it was in a pint glass, there was a higher likelihood that the Irishman would drink it. Parker tasted it and said it was okay, the Irishman tasted it and said that it wasn’t horrible (even though he thought it smelled like grass clippings, ha!) and naturally, I kind of liked it.

I ended up drinking almost all of it myself and here’s the crazy part – less than 2 minutes after I downed the entire class, I had a crazy rush of energy. Almost like I had just drank 5 shots of espresso. I’m not sure if it was psychosomatic or if it really gave me so much energy instantaneously, but I’ll keep you posted on that front after a couple more juicing days.

Finally, my goal #3 of 2012 has to do with exercise. I would like to run 2 or 3 half marathons this year. The half marathon is my favorite running distance. It is long enough to require a big training effort, but not so long that it causing injury or burnout. The good news is that once you successfully train for one half marathon, it isn’t difficult to maintain the conditioning to do several more in the following months.

Between those three goals, I should end 2012 in better heath and fitness than I started it and if that isn’t a worthwhile venture, I don’t know what is.

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