Friday, January 02, 2009

A Bright, Shiny New Year

By Jennie Lucas

The calendar has at last turned on a challenging year. It’s the chance for a fresh start. What is the secret dream of your heart? What would you change? Who do you want to be?

It’s never too late to be what you might have been.—George Eliot

2009 can be your year. Whatever you dream of, it’s time to start working towards it. Whether you long to change careers, meet new people, learn new skills--to finish your book or keep on a budget or wear a bikini without fear--don’t put it off for another day!

Take ten minutes before you go to bed tonight and do one small thing towards your dream. Interview someone who has the career you want. Write for ten timed minutes. Jog around the block or join a class at the local community college. Don’t be scared. Do it! What you think is hard might be easy. You’ll wonder what held you back so long!

Tomorrow—work towards your dream for eleven minutes. The next day, twelve. If you work at it each day a bit more than the previous day—no matter what the goal is—you will inexorably move towards your dream. You are an unstoppable force.

Where you end up isn't the most important thing. It's the road you take to get there. The road you take is what you'll look back on and call your life.—Tim Wiley

The end result might not be exactly how you envisioned. But working towards your vision can create new success in your life in a way you never imagined. The universe might have something even better in mind for you than you have for yourself.

Be open to the possibilites. Be grateful for your talents and opportunities and strengths.

Optimistic thoughts create optimistic actions. The reverse is also true, as any dieter can attest. Thinking “I’m so fat, I’ll never lose this weight, why bother?” can drive a dieter straight to cake. Thinking, “I’m doing great, I’m powerful and strong, I can do this!” can drive her straight to the treadmill. Thoughts are powerful. Let them help you.

Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute; What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it; Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.—Goethe

2009 can be your year.

Believe in yourself. Think positive. Be hopeful. Be grateful. Most of all: get to work!

I know you can do it. And I hope I can, too.

With all the warmest hopes and wishes for a happy year.



Gina said...

I actually have 20 pounds to lose, hopefully l will stick with my exercising plan. Happy new year

Anne McAllister said...

Great post, Jennie. Very encouraging! Hope you have a great year.

Maureen said...

Happy New Year! I liked your post because I feel that today is the beginning of a great year.

Raven99 said...

What a great post to motivate people, Jennie! You offer some really good advice about making dreams come true. I really want to learn to paint, and plan to take some art classes this year. It is a skill I have always wanted to learn.

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Wow, you go girl! Wonderful post Jennie......Happy New've left me inspired!


Jennie Lucas said...

Gina, good luck with your plan! I'm trying to lose a few pounds myself. I know we can do it!

Happy New Year to you, too! And let me know how the weight loss goes!

Jennie Lucas said...

Hi Anne! Great to see you here! Thanks for your nice words. I hope you have a great year, too, and that we can catch up in Washington DC in July! *hugs*

Jennie Lucas said...

Maureen, I love your optimism and enthusiasm. It reminds me of the Abraham Lincoln quote, "People are generally as happy as they make up their minds to be." I think this will be a great year for you, too, because with that attitude no matter what happens, it can be positive. Wishing great things for you in 2009!

Jennie Lucas said...

Oh Raven, taking an art class sounds like a dream come true! At the moment I'm consumed by my passion for writing, but someday I hope to follow your lead and sign up for a French or history class at the local university!

I know you're going to have a blast learning how to paint. What incredible fun!

Jennie Lucas said...

Marilyn, I actually thought of you when I wrote this post. You are one of those people who really seem to get out and live fully, from your world travels to your books to your career! You inspire me daily. Sending all my best wishes and love for 2009! Hope to see you soon! *hugs*

Helen said...

I agree we should always be positive it works wonders what I would really like to happen this year is to retire so as I can have more time to spend with my family and more time to read.

Have Fun

mapplin said...

Hi Jennie! Thanks for the great 'PEP' talk. :) I suppose I'm off to a great start with my resolution to lose weight. (Although, I did start in October!) So far, I've lost 30 pounds and have so much more energy. I am so thankful for everything and everyone in my life.

It's neat that you quoted George Eliot, because until now I never knew he made that statement. For years now, my 'little saying' has always been: It's never too late to become the person you've always wanted be! That's even my headline on my myspace profile.

Another goal I will strive to achieve from day to day is to have an attitude of gratitude! A wise person once told me to make a list each night of 5 things that happened in that day that I was thankful for. Once I started that little exercise, I realized the true meaning of it: Knowing you'll need 5 things to write down each night, you spend each new day looking for the wonderful blessings that can come about. Through the day, you'll find yourself thinking positively about every experience instead of focusing on the negative. It has really made a difference in my life.

I wish you a wonderful and successful New Year!

Estella said...

I hope to lose 15 lbs this year. At my age, this is very hard to do, so experts have told me. I'm going to try anyway.

Jennie Lucas said...

Helen, I'll be thinking positively that everything works out for you to retire this year! (Or that at the very least, that you'll have more time to read books and enjoy time with your family!) Ahhh, what a lovely life!

Jennie Lucas said...

Mapplin, first of all, WOW on your weight loss!! How the heck did you do it? I want your diet secrets, girl! CONGRATS!

I love the attitude and that you have a myspace page. I'm too lame and time-constricted to have one of those yet, but I hope to have one someday!

I try to remind myself of George Eliot's quote whenever I'm feeling too old, too chubby, too badly dressed, too whatever to do something. I realize that I'm the one holding myself back from being bold and having fun! (BTW, George Eliot was actually a woman writing under a male pseudonym in the 19th century. I hesitated whether I should mention that or not, but just in case it ever comes up. :) )

And finally--your 'gratitude exercise' is just brilliant. I'm going to try it, starting today!! THANK YOU! Happy New Year!

Jennie Lucas said...

Estella, it's just like I was discussing with Mapplin above. We're never "too old" for anything. (Well, maybe too old for becoming Olympic gymnasts, but aside from that...)

If losing weight feels harder than it used to be, I know you have the grit to handle it--you can do anything you set your mind to!

It reminds me of a famous poem from Marianne Williamson that was used in an inaugural speech by Nelson Mandela in 1994:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be - brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God...

As we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

We can be our best selves. We can gently nudge ourselves in that direction by making choices that ultimately will nurture us.

Just like you, I'm trying to lose a few pounds, and even more importantly I'm trying to help my family be healthy, too. If we take better care of ourselves, a year from now we'll both be in better shape than we've ever been!

And on that note, I'm off to the treadmill for a 9 p.m. jog to keep myself from "cleaning the kitchen" (i.e., spending a half hour grazing the cupboards and fridge for an evening snack).

Michele L. said...

Hi Jennie,

Many blessings to you in 2009! I am behind 100% in your plan to lose weight. I am trying to kick my butt into gear in exercising again and eating healthy. It sure is hard! Good luck to you! Keep us all up-to-date on your progress! Your blog sure is inspiring.

Happy New Year!
Michele L.

mapplin said...

Hey Jennie! Thanks for the sweet comment.

I'm aware the biggest challenge of losing weight is probably reteaching yourself how to eat, what to eat, and when to eat it. If you already have the goal of just eating healthier, that's great b/c I feel like that's a really good first step. However, when I get really excited about doing something I tend to want to see some sort of results pretty quick. It's hard work to eat healthier and become more active to lose weight, and sometimes I get discouraged if I have to wait weeks or even months to see the payoff.

So..... I use the rest of this advice as a tool ONLY! I visit a local doctor, who has a weight clinic, every 5 weeks. I weigh in and he prescribes an appetite suppressant like Bontril or Adipex. (I'm sure there's many others. Those are just the ones I'm familiar with.) These medicines apparently stimulate the brain's appetite control center. I guess they block the 'hunger' message from reaching your brain. (Of course you'll still have to eat, though!) I guess the idea behind it is that if you don't feel hungry all the time, then you won't think about food all time, which really comes in handy when you're trying to eat less of it! :) I've found that most days, I have to remind myself to eat. I've noticed that when I eat without the strong urge of hunger, it's so much easier to make healthier choices. It's also much easier to stop eating as SOON as you fill full because you weren't really hungry to begin with. It's just a helpful weight loss aid. I was able to jump start my weight loss by losing 18 pounds in the first 5 weeks! That really helps me stay motivated. (My Dr. also gives B-12 injections which really help with energy!)

Another great tool is to use myAlli fat blockers. They used to be prescription only when they were called Xenical (orlistat). But thankfully they're available to everyone over-the-counter! Taken 30 minutes before a meal, they help block 25% of the fat from being absorbed by the body. They also have one of the BEST support and management sites I've seen. Their website is

I know that this advice is not for everyone, so that's why it's a good idea to use a physician's directed diet.

Good luck in your weight loss journey. You're definitely not it it alone. In fact, there's a great big family out there of us to get support from. Maybe this can help a few people who read my post.


christina said...

That's a really powerful post, Jennie. Getting started is always the hardest part - next to staying motivated, of course! Your idea of adding a minute to the activity each day is one I'm definitely going to try.

mapplin said...

Hi, again, Jennie!

One other weight loss suggestion: Have your thyroid levels checked regularly... which usually means a blood sample. The thyroid controls your body's rate of metabolism - how quickly your body burns energy (calories). Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) are the most common problems of the thyroid gland. Unfortunately, some of the many symptoms of having an underactive thyroid are fatigue, depression, WEIGHT GAIN, water retention, and constipation. There are many others.

In my case, my underactive thyroid helped contribute to my weight gain. Once I started taking a daily thyroid hormone, my body got back on track and I finally feel normal again. Did I say normal?.... I mean I feel FANTASTIC!!!


Jennie Lucas said...


Best of luck to you on your exercise and diet program!! Just this morning I was eating a small healthy breakfast and thinking wistfully of last week, when I was eating fried eggs, hash browns, ham and a deep-fried scone in butter. Ahh, the bad old days!

So I agree with you, eating better definitely requires some discipline. Sometimes I'm more enthusiastic about it than other times, but I'm going to keep plugging away. Failure is NOT an option!

I know we can both do it! And we'll be so much happier in the long run. Short-term pain, long-term gain!

We'll be healthy, happy, good examples to our kids...oh, and look smokin' hot the next time we dress up to go out! (At least that's the hope I'm keeping in my mind as a reward for not eating a million deep-fried scones!)

Thanks for your encouragement, Michele. It really helped me today when I needed it.

Jennie Lucas said...

Hi Melissa!

It definitely sounds like going to a doctor really has helped! But even with the medical help, you're still the one who's getting out there and exercising and eating less. Changing old habits is always hard--so WAY TO GO!

Last year, I actually had my thyroid checked because I had the opposite problem--weight was dropping off me and I didn't know why. Turned out my thyroid was fine, I was just the frantic mom of two kids under two while I tried to juggle my new writing deadlines. I was so busy I literally would not take time to eat...but so happy that I didn't miss food.

Lamentably, this situation didn't continue. That's mostly for the best because you just can't live like that forever, without a moment of spare time to even think, but part of me misses that lovely weight-dropping situation! Now I have a bit more time, the weight has started creeping back.

Since my husband just decided to lose 15 pounds with Weight Watchers (even turning the weight loss into a competition with some of his buddies), I'm trying to support him and also lose a little myself!

Melissa, you look fabulous in your photo, by the way.

I think we should remind ourselves, as women, that we are strong and powerful and can be happy at any weight we choose. It's all what's we think is best for us, what makes us feel healthy and confident. Not what Hollywood and the advertisers tell us.

Let me know how you go on with your great program. And thanks for sharing the important medical information--very illuminating.

Jennie Lucas said...

Christina, you're so right--the only thing harder than getting motivated is staying motivated! But each day is a fresh new start. Today is the reward for all your hard work of yesterday, and the work you do today will be your gift to yourself for tomorrow!

I woke up feeling hungry. I can either be grumpy about it, or I can tell myself it's a great sign that I'm losing weight! Yay!

I'm glad my post was helpful to you. Wishing you all the best in 2009 for achieving your big dream, whatever it might be!

LJ White said...

Happy New Year, Jennie! Your post is really encouraging and makes the thought of accomplishing your goal/dream more realistic. I love the quotes, especially the one by George Eliot.

Jennie Lucas said...

LJ, I'm so glad you found the post encouraging. I love quotes too--they can be so inspiring!

I hope you have a great new year pursuing your dreams. Sometimes I think that pursuit--that struggle--is actually the most exciting part.

Although I'm not talking about dieting, obviously! *grin* If I could eat chicken fried steak and still get skinny, that's definitely the way I would go!