Everybody has good intentions at the beginning of a new year. We promise to be good, to eat right and to exercise regularly; even when those were the old, un-met goals for the year that just ended. I know, because I do it every year too.

Here I am again, thinking up goals to accomplish for the new year. My list this year is long and diverse: I want to learn how to play baseball and dance flamenco. I am going to exercise in the morning at least 2 days per week and I am going to resume pilates and yoga, but this time I am not going to find excuses as regularly as I did during the old 2009. We are going to have “ board game night” with the kids on Friday night and I am going to take the dogs for a walk twice a day.

By having all of those projects I can be sure to accomplish at least one of them, you see.

I’m not the only one making a wish list at this time of the year. I can see television commercials advertising exercise plans, gym memberships and diet plans every time I tune in. We are all ready to go. We feel energized. We need to start over.

It gives us a good feeling to talk to people and find out their special projects and wishes for the new year.  I can sense the energy flowing from person to person and the positive thinking that makes anything possible running through the days during this very first part of the year. I love it.

I know I’m not going to meet all my goals but, you know what? I’m sure going to try.

Last week I was trying to explain to one of my adolescent patients how easy it is to lose 10 lbs in one year without a lot of pain and sacrifice. Imagine you have the habit of coming home in the evening and drinking a can of soda before dinner. Every can/bottle of soda has about 140 calories, but we are going to imagine it contains just 100 calories, to make the numbers easier to calculate.

By giving up that evening soda alone you are going to miss 36,500 calories by the end of the year.  Since every 3,500 calories translates into 1 lb, by December 2010 you can be 10.4 lb lighter, without even trying hard; just by giving up a small part of your day. Can you imagine how much weight loss you can add to the equation by going for a walk around the block instead of sitting down to drink the soda? How about running around the block instead of walking? It would take just a couple of minutes! You get the picture.

Yes, it is not that difficult. But, like everything in life, you must be consistent and keep going. Don’t give up. Stick to your plan even when you don’t see immediate results.

We live in a society that claims instant gratification and we seldom recognize the value of persistence and stamina when it comes to accomplishing a goal.

Remember, the journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step.

About the Author

Dr. Katalenas

Dr. Katalenas is a pediatrician and owner of The Pediatric Center of Round Rock and the author of the book "The Step Up Diet: From Scratch… The Quality, Quantity, and Timing Solution to Childhood Obesity", a guide to healthy cooking and eating for busy families.