Just do it, one step and one bite at a time | Opinion

Dollar bills in glass jar. Saving money, economy, finance concept.
Small changes can really add up.

Did you promise to start exercising, eating healthy, and saving money in 2018?

If so, you’re not alone, because nearly everyone makes those three a priority on their resolution lists.

So, how’s it going in week two of the resolution season? Have you managed to stay the course, or have you capsized and already abandoned  ship?

Either way, don’t trip — just get back up and try again.  Personally, after  more than a half-century of living, I have figuratively stumbled and fallen though the front door more times than I would like to admit. But with all of that stumbling and falling, along the way I have managed to learn a few things about life and best strategies for maintaining your resolutions.

To help stay on track, here are three strategies to try:

Know your limitations

“A man’s got to know his limitations.” If that line sounds familiar, you’re right, it’s from the film character Harry Callahan.  Yeah, I’m a huge film fan, and that is my favorite line in Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry sequel Magnum Force. Like Callahan, we all have to know our personal limitations, which means being honest about our strengths, and especially our weaknesses.

For example, I love a nice glass of wine with dinner. Who doesn’t, right?  The problem, however, is that wine is loaded with empty calories.  Sure, a serving size is supposed to be three ounces, at about 25 calories per ounce — but, honestly, who drinks only three ounces of wine?  I certainly don’t know anyone who does.  The truth is, most people drink a glass of wine. That means a real pour is about 225 calories.

Yikes! You can see how one can easily go over their caloric budget with just a glass or two of wine. So when I want to get serious about losing a few pounds, I ditch the wine entirely.  Yup, a woman’s got to know her limitations, too.

Integrate, integrate, integrate!

Integrate exercise into your life. Honestly, I love exercise and find it easy to integrate into my daily life, but I know for others it’s not that easy. But there are simple ways to slowly make exercise a daily habit.  For example, instead of taking the elevator or escalator, consider taking the steps.  No, I am not recommending you run up 12 flights of stairs, but how about taking one or two flights of stairs and then taking the elevator?  Slowly and over time you could challenge yourself to take on more stairs.   You will be surprised at how quickly your body adapts and you improve your cardiovascular fitness.

The same is true of strength exercises like push-ups.  You can start with modified push-ups on the wall or your knees, and gradually get to the standard military push-up.  If you can do a standard military push-up, you can challenge yourself in unlimited ways by changing the type of push-up and also by increasing the time, intensity, or both.  Committing to doing just push-ups alone will transform your physique and fitness level.  For real, this works.

Mo money

When it comes to money, it’s usually the nickel-and-dime stuff that gets me into trouble. So, after yet another price increase, I’ve decided to give up my daily Dunkin’ Donuts coffee habit. At $2.49 a day, that’s a whopping $908.85 a year, for a single cup of daily coffee.

Instead, I dusted off the old coffeemaker and started making my coffee at home again. Also, to dramatize my savings, I’ve been putting that $2.49 into a mason jar each day.  So far, I have saved almost $20, and it’s not even the middle of the month!  Not to mention the time I have saved not waiting in lines, and, even more important, the saving in gas.  Estimating the seven to 10 minutes I might spend in a drive-though line adds up, too.  At current fuel prices, that adds up to another saving of between $60 and $80 a year.  Who couldn’t use an extra grand a year?

So, when it comes to realizing your resolutions, take small steps to Big Success!  Bite that elephant, one bite at a time, baby!