2012 — Not Resolutions but Lifestyle Changes that I Can Maintain

As we begin a new year, I, like many others, have made a list of New Year’s resolutions. In the past, I would give up very easily as I tried new things. I do not like quick changes, so I would go right back to my old habits. However, as I get older and face potential health hazards, I know need to keep trying. This time, though, I do not see these changes as resolutions; I see them more as lifestyle changes.

Stay active and in better shape

I have already begun this change. In 2011, I got tired of wearing down easily. I looked for ways to stay active over 40. I had tried “losing weight” before, and I have succeeded in the past. However, since that was my only goal, when I reached it, I started overeating again. This time, instead of “losing weight,” I set the goal of staying active and in better shape.

To accomplish this, I walk as much as possible. I do not necessarily look for the closest parking spaces. At school, I walk around the campus when I stay late. Occasionally, I will purposely make multiple trips to the lounge or office to pick up materials even if I could get everything at once. I also continue to help coach my son’s Little League team. I do not just coach from the dugout; I get out there and play with the kids. During summer vacations, I ride the stationary bike and play Wii Fit almost every day.

This simple lifestyle change keeps me active, and in the process, I keep my weight under control. If I stay under 220, then I stay happy, and so does my doctor.

Eat healthier

As I get older, I have to watch my calorie and fat intake. In the past, I used to think about how I might look to others. Fortunately, my wife loves me anyway. I like to think that I can still impress her, but at least I do not have to. Now, I worry much more about my health instead. I started eating far more salads and vegetables – even broccoli and spinach. As a kid and younger adult, I never ate those. I also began making my own fruit smoothies. I use any fruits that we find at the grocery store and blend them with various juices and ice for a delicious healthy treat. I love beef, but I have learned to cut down and eat more poultry instead. I have also added lean tuna to my diet for extra protein.

I realize also that I have an example to set for my wife and son. Seeing them as an example gives me motivation to eat healthier. I can improve on these eating habits even more, but at least I have begun the trek.

More family time

In tough economic times, it seems funny to say that I am happy to have lost my source of extra income in mid 2011. However, that is exactly the case. The college for which I taught online as an adjunct cut my class, so I lost the extra income. I did not complain one bit. I relish the extra free time that I now have with my wife and son. I feel far less stress, I get more rest, and I get to play games with my family. When we travel, I do not have to sit in the room and grade essays while they wait for me so we can go out and see the attractions. I plan to spend even more time with them from here on. I know the pain of losing a brother and both parents, and I do not want my son growing up without spending as much time as possible with his mom and dad.

Strengthen my faith and Spiritual growth

I saved the most important for last. In late 2011, I became complacent in my Spiritual growth. I followed the routines of church life, but I did not really even try to grow. A series of events over Christmas vacation changed that. My wife had two surgeries during those two weeks. Our family, our Sunday school class members, my school’s administration, and our church pastors aided us with prayers, flowers, and meals. They showed us a little of God’s grace. We later found out that a senior in my school passed away. The outpouring of tears at chapel when we returned to school again showed me God’s love. I have renewed my Spiritual faith and now pray diligently once again.

In the past, I made resolutions nearly every year, yet they seemed more like a list of chores. Now, since I consider them lifestyle changes, and I have realized the benefits, I know that with attentiveness, I can and will keep these resolutions throughout the year and beyond.

Remembering New Year’s Eve Celebrations
Teaching Our Son to Eat Healthy
Learning from Parenting Mistakes

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