Goals Not Resolutions

smileMy business card says that I am the CEO, Chief Eternal Optimist, of my company. As an eternal optimist, it grieves me to learn that people have given up on resolutions. I believe there is always hope, always room to improve and that taking action, no matter how insignificant is better than doing nothing, helplessly accepting our fate.

I agree that there are many good reasons to not make New Years resolutions including:

  1. They don’t stick. In theory they sound good, but they often fizzle before the first month of the year is over. Set goals, not resolutions. Goals are supported with action plans. Resolutions are just wishes.
  1. Resolutions are often unrealistic or worse, unspecific. “Lose weight” or “be nicer to people” are simply too vague to have teeth and any hope of success. Creating an action plan will expose unrealistic goals. Losing 100 pounds in three months is a sure failure. Do the math: 33 pounds a month, over a pound a day. You’re likely to quit. Realistically, you can achieve a goal of losing two pounds a week and lose your weight in a year.
  1. It’s the wrong time of year. Why is it that changes have to be reserved for the New Year? Why don’t we change when we realize that change is desirable, that it might make things better? What’s wrong with quitting smoking in March when the stress of the holidays is a distant memory? I add ideas to my self-improvement list all the time. I don’t wait for January, although the New Year is always a good time to take stock.
  1. Failure to plan. Blurting out a resolution without any thought of implementation is a common mistake. If it bothers you enough to change, it’s probably significant and therefore not necessarily easy. Just saying you’ll do something is far different from writing a step-by-step plan. Baby steps contribute to the success of the plan. That’s why you want goals, not resolutions.
  1. Expectations of perfection. Unrealistic expectations of how the changes will happen cause people to give up when they inevitably fail at the new habit they’re trying to forge. Instead of staying the course, they throw up their hands in despair and declare that making resolutions is doomed to fail. You aren’t perfect. You might have to work at saying no to the doughnuts in the coffee room at the office. You might fail. You’re human. Get over it and move forward.

In addition to the above remedies to the reasons not to resolve, here are a few more tips.

  1. Know your “why”. Why do you want to change that part of you? Why is it important to you? Is it important to you or somebody else? You might discover it doesn’t matter and you can scrap that resolution. Or you might understand how very important it is to you and thus give yourself incentive to persevere.
  2. Be kind but firm with yourself. I think people are mostly born lazy. We tend to choose the easy path so discipline is vital. The greatest rewards usually require some discomfort. So be firm. But if you fall, forgive yourself. Get up. Dust off. According to Confucius, Success is falling down seven times and getting up eight times.
  3. Reward yourself. The best rewards are small and frequent, helping you stick with it to achieve the big prize. Realizing your goal is like a marathon: one step at a time. Celebrate that you ran five km. Celebrate you cracked ten km. Eventually you’ll cross the finish line. You know what you like. Express some self-love and take that nap or two-hour walk, your reward for achieving your goal.

Don’t underestimate the power of personal change and growth. My life’s trajectory has been forever altered by my successfully kept resolutions.

In the past I’ve shed the habit of hitting the snooze button several times before actually getting out of bed. Another year I gave up alarm clocks entirely. I eliminated sugar from my diet and the benefits are legion. I gave up dairy, stopped snoring and have never gone back. Resolving to read more books (first one per week, then two and now three per week) has profoundly changed me. I recently achieved an education goal that began as a resolution a few years ago.

I wouldn’t be the person I am without having made resolutions, although, I think they were really goals.

Go ahead. Make some resolutions. You could accomplish great things. You might check something wonderful off your bucket list. Or you might become a better person just because you stretched and grew. I am optimistic about your future.



Divot the Dog Celebrates her 14th Birthday in a Big Way!

photo belongs to www.ShelleyGoldbeck.com

photo belongs to www.ShelleyGoldbeck.com

Health Lessons from an Old Dog

Last week our Golden Retriever, Divot, turned 14 and she had a wild and crazy birthday.

It began with a lunchtime party with the Grandtoys, who simply love to have dog parties. I barbecued chicken legs. The wind blew the aluminum foil cover off the pan and Divot gobbled down a chunk of the chicken-skin-flavoured foil before I could stop her.

Peanut butter on rice cakes is her usual birthday fare but this year it was leftover blueberry pancakes with peanut butter. And my Grandtoy had put so much peanut butter on the pancake it stuck to the roof of Divot’s mouth. So funny as she struggled to suck it off! See video of Divot’s party. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSPwqV3D8V8&feature=youtu.be

Finally, Divot and my husband went to see an old friend, Betty, who fed Divot most of a bag of popcorn. Later while hubby was sitting at the table with Betty he heard a slurping sound from the living room. There he found Divot’s nose in a box of chocolates. He dug some out of her mouth and deduced she may have swallowed one or two. Not the end of the world.

As you can see Divot still behaves like a puppy. She has slowed down in some ways: our walks are often strolls. She can no longer jump into the truck; in fact, she can’t even put her paws up to boost herself. She sleeps most of the day.

But the tiniest sign that we’re ready to walk: I brush my teeth, get my phone, ensure I have my Epi-Pen, put on my shoes, any one of those signs gets her excited about our walk. She bounds off the back porch like a puppy. Divot loves people and is happy to greet others as we walk around our neighbourhood, canines less enthusiastically than humans. Her pace going is faster than coming home, something she’s always done, anything to prolong the walk.

We are privileged to have Divot in our lives for 14 healthy years.  Divot is our living experiment. When she was ten weeks old we decided to feed her a diet that was more in keeping with her nature. As a descendent of wolves, we knew she would thrive on a wolf-like diet.

photo belongs to www.ShelleyGoldbeck.com

Divot’s Supper – photo belongs to

Since then she has eaten almost all raw food. Her typical meal consists of ½ cup raw meat, ½ cup cooked brown rice, ½ cup raw veggies like carrot or cucumber. She gets garlic and parsley; she gets fish, olive and coconut oils and some other supplements. An integral part of her diet is the raw beef soup bones she has two or three times each week. They keep her mouth healthy and her teeth cleaned. She has all her teeth and they’re not black, as is expected by this age.

Despite losing most of her hearing and some of her sight, Divot has had few health issues. Apart from some antibiotics for ear infections from swimming in the Bow River, she has taken no medications. At two years old we removed a large wart from her paw. No diabetes, epilepsy or other modern dog ailments. She is not obese and she has never stunk, like most dogs do.

Divot has lived two years longer, so far, than the long range for her breed. We think it’s her diet and lifestyle. If it works for a dog, it should work for humans.

So here is what I recommend based on Divot’s fine example. Eat whole, real food, suitable to your species as much as possible. Not too much. Drink plenty of water. Exercise everyday. Sleep lots. Play whenever you can. Surround yourself with people you love and choose to be happy.

If Divot were a human she’d be pushing 100. And I’ve just shared the secrets to her longevity!