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Last Blog of the year Musings

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

“Small changes lead to big changes and big changes lead to results.”
“Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle

The first is a quote from one of today's SparkPeople emails. The two together struck me as good thoughts to start my review of goals for the new year.
This past year I've fallen off adhering to consistent sound dietary and exercise habits. As a result, I've had a net weight gain for the past year and additional health issues that could possible have been avoided if I'd taken better care of myself.
So I've spent a good part of today and yesterday reviewing some of the Spark solutions and success stories to glean new ideas, motivation and relearn how to set smart goals to strive toward.
What I gleaned is that
1) Don't go on a diet but strive to make better food choices to meet my health goals. With that in mind I have set a measurable goal to every day have a healthy breakfast within my caloric range. Recently I've tended not to consume enough protein at breakfast so I have set a goal of having 25% of my daily recommended protein at this morning meal. Portion control is essential for my success.
2) For me, I prefer 3 meals a day with 2 snacks. This might help boost my metabolism. I will use the Spark nutrition tracker to help me track and be aware of if I'm meeting my nutritional needs as well as staying within my caloric range.
3) I also need to make sure I get between 5-9 servings of vegetables and fruit. I will concentrate on vegetables more than fruit as a Type II diabetic, I want to monitor closely the sugar in the various fruits. I mainly prefer berries along with my morning meal or as part of my snacks.
4) I will build momentum by starting a few streaks.
1. One streak is to make at least 10,000 steps per day. I'll use the SparkPeople Fitness tracker for this. The steps count includes both general moving about and exercise related movement.
2. For my second streak I am establishing a short term activity goal minimum of 20 minutes per day. This weekly activity will include 3 days of aerobic and 2 days of strength training. The intermediate goal for physical activity begins at the six week point, and ramps up minimum activity to 30 minutes per day. At the 3 months in point, my daily minimum level will become 45 minutes.
3. Another streak is to drink at least 64 ounces of water a day.
5) Improve my culinary skills by reviewing recipes from cookbooks, online and other sources and preparing at least one new one every week.
6) Improve my sleep habit by setting and adhering to a time to go to bed; improving my sleep environment by not watching TV in the bedroom, soften the lighting in the room and by playing soft relaxing music. I may need to drink chamomile tea prior to bed to help relax me as well as limit food intake to include stop eating or drinking anything at least 3 hours before my established bedtime. Also limit my afternoon nap to no more than 20 minutes.

7) Set some non-health related goals:
1. Make daily entries into my journal
2. Connect online with at least one distant friend once a week
3. Read (for pleasure) at least one hour per week
4. Start and complete at least one painting per week
5. Play instrumental music (piano or one of my other instruments) one hour per week
6. Ride my bicycle for at least 10 minutes three times per week.
7. Ride my motorcycle once per week for at least 20 minutes

8) Practice yoga for 20 minutes at least 3 times per week
9) Define rewards – i.e. buy a new magazine; purchase a new DVD; buy a new article of workout clothing; go see a movie or concert; take a mini-vacation

In one SparkPeople blog I read today (Onekidsmom), she mentioned Gratitude and “recognizing the good that is LIFE, the seed of grace in the challenges … have I truly lived today?”
I think this is a terrific concept to keep in mind and don't forget to acknowledge at least some of the things for which you're grateful.

One thing for sure, every day I'm grateful for the SparkPeople community and all that it entails. Hope everyone has a blessed and happy New Year.
Here is a painting I did of my dog Zoey painting in 'her' studio.
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