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By Carole Carson

January 1, 2009 (San Diego) — Who hasn't sat down on New Year's Day and come
up with changes--such as losing weight and exercising more--they'd like to make?

Our good intentions, though, can pass as quickly as the weeks on the calendar.
Before we know it, we're facing yet another New Year with the same old list.
As Oscar Wilde cynically points out, "Good resolutions are simply checks
that men draw on a bank where they have no account."

If you don't want your past to control your future, you'll need to make different
choices today. In her book, This Year I Will . . ., M. J. Ryan asserts
that most of us operate in one of three zones: comfortable, stretched or stressed.
When we unconsciously act and rely on existing habits (even bad ones), we are
operating in the comfort zone. The stressed zone isn't a helpful option for
changing habits either.

To overcome the obstacles to making healthy changes, you must move out of
the comfort zone and begin to stretch yourself. By stretching yourself, you'll
become more playful and creative.

Once you've decided to adopt a healthier lifestyle, consider these three FIT

FFind a way to make achieving your
fitness goals fun. Find food you love to eat that won't pack on pounds and
ways to exercise that make you feel young and playful. If you create and impersonate
a positive image of your new self today, you'll shift your attitude from "I
have to" to "I want to." Flipping this switch will make you
more willing to adopt and maintain your new habits.

I: Invent the future you want. Implement
the changes you want to make today. Don't wait for the perfect time because
there isn't one. Your dream today can be reality tomorrow--your imagination
is your only limit. And consider making all your changes at once. Recent research
confirms that people who tackle all their changes together fare better than
those who take a piecemeal approach.

T: Tell everyone you can about the changes
you are making. Be specific about your actions and about how you will measure
your progress. As social creatures, we are profoundly influenced by the behavior
of everyone around us. Use this insight to create a support team and to be
a positive role model for others.

It's your life. Have it your way. Design a future that enhances your health
and well-being and contributes to the vitality of those around you. Grab the
opportunity of this unique moment.

This way, a year from now, instead of having regrets, you can reflect on your
accomplishments and experience the joy and satisfaction of knowing that you
have new habits you can bank on.

Because you made good decisions in the past, you can count on yourself to
make good decisions going forward. And you will know that the future belongs
to you because you dared to dream and act.

Dubbed "An Apostle for Fitness" by the Wall Street Journal,
Carole Carson is the author of From Fat to Fit: Turn Yourself into
a Weapon of Mass Reduction,
which chronicles her own 62-pound
weight loss and the inspirational Nevada County Meltdown. Visit
for more information.

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