My grandfather, Pop Ray, always said, “If you don’t have family, you don’t have anything” and I agree with him 100% — as did most people who knew him. I cherish my family. I love spending time with them. And, 2019 was quite a year for us. “The Big 8” (as we call ourselves) created many amazing memories – Rachel’s bat mitzvah, Abby’s high school graduation, college decision and subsequent move-in, milestone birthdays, a family trip to San Francisco, and so much more. It was a whirlwind year and as a result I subconsciously shifted from weight loss mode to maintenance mode – for an entire year! So, now that a new year is upon me, what am I going to do about it? How can I put my need to focus on my weight loss at the top of my to do list?

First, I’m going to be honest. I’ve gained weight in the last year. Not enough where people will notice, but I know the truth. I won’t make excuses. I lived an amazing year doing things I couldn’t have done if I hadn’t lost the weight in the first place – like walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, touring 4 college campuses in less than a month, wearing a dress to Rachel’s bat mitzvah and liking the way I looked in it. And, I ate — and loved it!

Second, I’m re-focusing on myself in 2020. No, I’m not going to be selfish and my family still comes first. But, I’ve learned a lot about self-care, treating myself kindly and the importance of speaking up for myself (even if it’s in my own head). It’s all part of the ongoing mindset challenge that goes with weight loss. Sure, it’s easy to say, “I walked 15,000 steps today, I earned this ice cream cone!” But, it’s also OK for me to listen to the quieter voice in my head asking if this is the decision I really want to make. I could choose to eat LESS ice cream (think dish vs. waffle cone). Another part of self-care is planning meals, including dinner! Dinner seems like it should be the easiest thing to plan, but with varying schedules and food preferences, it’s often easier to wing it. One day could be omelettes and the next could be lasagna and garlic bread – which is fine, if I track it accurately, but there needs to be a plan. And, I need to stick to the plan, despite how I feel when the time comes to make dinner.

Third, I need to figure out a way to increase my daily step count and move more. Right now, my daily goal is a measly 5,000 steps and lots of days I don’t get there. I thought about going for a walk outside last week when it was 55 degrees here in the Midwest in December, but I didn’t. I can’t even remember what I did instead, but I’m sure it involved sitting on the couch. But this needs to change. I need to move more.

Fourth, I need to stop waiting until after the “next” celebration, holiday, etc., to re-energize my focus on my weight loss journey. Postponing it doesn’t help me in the long run. It just lengthens the amount of time it takes to reach my goal – and no, when I reach my goal, I’m not done. I’ve been listening to a new (for me) podcast called We Only LOOK Thin. A recent episode addressed the truth that there’s no finish line with weight loss. This really resonated with me. I will NEVER be done with this journey. The focus will shift, but it won’t go away. I will have to work just as hard to keep the weight off!

At the end of the day, it is still family first, but it’s MY family and I want to actively participate – not watch from the sidelines – and enjoy each adventure. I know there are many more to come. I don’t make new year’s resolutions – but I do believe in setting goals.

I will focus on habits I need to ensure continued success on my weight loss journey. It’s back to the basics. Track my food. Plan my meals. Think before eating. And, I’ll put these goals ahead of everything else — or at least in the top 3!

What are your goals for 2020?