I’m not really into resolutions – I’m into goals. Resolutions are typically made around this time of year and are often long forgotten by Valentine’s Day. Goals (when set correctly) are measurable, require particular actions and have milestones for checking your progress. So that’s why I’ve set a big goal for this coming year to improve something that will positively affect the other areas in my life: my health.

Over the last five years, I’ve developed some very bad eating habits and stopped exercising regularly. Clothing does a wonderful job hiding our flaws (especially in men), so most people had no idea how badly out of shape I was. I didn’t realize it myself until I noticed how sluggish I was — I lacked the energy and enthusiasm I normally had. Then people started commenting. First, my family and close friends started dropping subtle hints that I could benefit from a little exercise. Then as I started looking through my more recent photos, I started realizing that it wasn’t just the camera that put ten pounds on me. When I looked at the belt I wore most of the time, I noticed that it was size 38 (for a 38 inch waist) and that I was closing in on the last hole — not a good sign. The last straw was when I ran into three people I hadn’t seen in a while. Each of them blurted out something like “wow, looks like you’ve gained some weight.”

So when the New Year (2009) rolled around, I decided it was time for a change. I looked at some of my bad health-related habits and began making changes. The first thing I tackled was soda — which was by far the worst of my habits. I don’t drink coffee or anything alcoholic, so soda was where I got my kicks – I would joke that I loved Dr. Pepper so much I wish I could hook it up via IV. I remember one morning I was barely able to stay awake during a training session so I grabbed a 40 oz. cup of Pepsi during a break. That was over 500 calories and it was only 10:30 in the morning.

The other big thing I needed to do was start exercising again. I had exercised every single day from January 14th, 2000 until December 10th, 2004. I was so determined to get my daily routines in that I would often find myself cranking out a few sets of push-ups and sit-ups in the oddest places such as airports and hotel parking lots. It took a tragic event to end that streak.

I quit drinking soda back in January and lost 10 pounds within the first two months. My stomach felt better and I started fitting back into my old clothes. Then in May, I started exercising regularly again which proved to be a big help.

In 2010, I plan to return to the shape I was in back in 2002/2003. My weight is fine, it’s the distribution just needs to change so I’ll be setting my goals to gain muscle in certain areas where it’s lacking (arms, calves) and reduce fat where needed (mid-section). I’ll put up a special page on this blog where I’ll post before and after photos as well as progress. I’ll use the regular blog feed to post any lessons learned as well as update notices when I’ve posted something on this topic.

While I know that this deviates a bit from the usual topics I post about, I think there are some very important lessons to be learned here. While public speaking and communication skills are important topics and can save your career, good health can save your life.

Making 2010 a Fantastic Year
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