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March is a great time to check in on your New Year’s resolutions

Publisher, editor-in-chief and author at Chicken Soup for the Soul.

By now, we've accepted that whatever grandiose plans we made on January first are not working out. Personally, I'm sure that my inability to shed those five pounds is due to my increased time in the gym. Every woman knows that muscle weighs more than fat.

Actually, I wonder if women are just cursed in the weight loss department. It seems like men skip a snack or two and they're down five pounds. Years ago when my husband and I went on one of those no-carb diets, he lost 12 pounds in one month, despite eating a bagel every morning. I rigorously stuck to the no-carb diet and lost all of one pound.

I think those disaster movies have it all wrong. They always show an even distribution of men and women after whatever apocalypse has occurred, with the starving masses living in the shells of urban skyscrapers, the men wearing grimy pants and shirts, and the women, for some reason, clad in dirty but form-fitting miniskirts and high-heeled boots. I guess that's why my husband watches those movies and I don't.

In fact, since women go into survival mode when we are starving, if we really do have one of those apocalypses, we'll probably have a surviving population heavily skewed towards female. So a more apt disaster movie would be along the lines of "Real Housewives of Shantytown" or "Mean Girls of Terra Nova."

But I digress. The matter at hand is how to turn those January resolutions into March reality, and the way to do that is by rethinking our goals. The famous American preacher Peter Marshall, who served as Chaplain of the United States Senate and therefore knew a thing or two about failure, said, "Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned."

We had a story about just that by Kimberly M. Hutmacher in our book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Shaping the New You. After many unsuccessful attempts to lose weight, Kimberly said, "I realized my goals were always too demanding and I was inadvertently setting myself up to fail." She decided to set "a small, manageable goal" instead, resolving "to walk on the treadmill for 15 minutes at least five days a week." The next year, Kimberly again made one small resolution, to drink less soda and more water. And the year after that, Kimberly merely decided to eat fast food only once a week instead of two or three times.

These small changes were eminently do-able, and Kimberly lost 20 pounds over a couple of years. According to her, "By keeping my goals small, I was able to follow through and sustain each one for the long haul." No wonder her story was titled "Resolution Not Revolution."

While Kimberly made small changes, Tina encouraged her family to join her on her healthy resolution. Read her story, "Eating Healthy if it Kills Us" from Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Resolution.

Image: Tetra Images/Getty Images
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