A new year, a new you

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- 2006 has faded into the past and 2007 has finally come. With the new year, people have dreams and visions of new careers, new places to visit or a new image. Millions of people across the world rang in the new year with New Year's resolutions. Undoubtedly, a great number of these people resolved to get into better shape and improve their health. How do you do this safely? What 's the best way to keep from becoming disinterested or discouraged?

Set it in stone. Brainstorm all your New Year's resolutions and write them down. Make a contract with yourself and put it on the fridge or anywhere else you will find it.

Set a date. If you just say you are going to meet a goal sometime this year, that's probably too broad a timeframe. Mark your calendar for a certain date for each goal that you want to meet. For example, you would like to be walking three miles a day by April. From now until April you need to take steps to be able to walk three miles a day. This would include taking time out of your day to walk a mile and once you can accomplish a mile, increase to a mile and a half. Once you hit your goal in April then you need to rethink your goal and maybe increase the mileage by another date.

Meet mini-goals. Make small changes every week and they will add up in time. It's easier to take "baby steps" then try to run a marathon the first time.

- Week One: Walk to work and do not use the taxi service

- Week Two. Start drinking diet sodas in place of regular soda

- Week Three. Go out to eat three times a week and not everyday.

- Week Four. Bring your own snacks to work and not rely on the "sunshine fund"

- Week Five. Decrease your alcohol consumption when going out.

Ask for support from your wingman. Don't think you have to do it alone. Tell your friend or wingman, what you want to accomplish, your goals and tell them how they can help. It is also good to let them know what doesn't help.

Chart your progress. There are many free and great tools on the internet such as: mypyramid.gov or fitday.com that can help track your progress, add up your exercise expenditure and how many calories you are consuming per day. Also, sign up for Portion off the Pounds, your base's five week weight loss program offered by the Health and Wellness Center.

Be realistic. Nothing sets you up for failure more than having unrealistic expectations. If you've set an unrealistic goal, say losing 30 pounds in one month, you will become very discouraged when that doesn't happen. The best weight loss is slow weight loss. Healthy weight loss per week is one to two pounds. You didn't put the weight on overnight and you will not get it off overnight.

Remember that your HAWC is here to help with diet and exercise counseling and follow ups. The HAWC is located behind the fitness center and is only a walk away. You can call and make an appointment at 784-HAWC (4292).