How’s My Year So Far? Almost Perfect!

In this very column I made a pledge to lose 50 pounds before I turned 50 years old. I was stoked. The feedback was phenomenal. So many people had so many positive things to say. The support was overwhelming. 

A year has passed. I’m 51 now. It didn’t happen. Not one little bit.

Disappointed in myself doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. Sad. Ashamed. Angry. Foolish.

If that weren’t enough, during my 50th year, I got a wake-up call in the form of a fasting blood sugar level that plopped me right in the middle of The Diabetes Life, complete with a twice-a-day horse pill and blood glucose monitoring.

And there I was, getting the best of care from doctors, nutritionists, diabetic counselors – not to mention the constant nagging of my mother, also a diabetic – whose best advice always, always includes admonitions to lose weight and exercise more. 

While the more mature part of me listened and agreed with their assessment, my inner child (you know, the petulant one) shouted, “No, no, nooooooo! Not me! Eat right always? Exercise every day? I can’t do it! I won’t do it!”

Ultimately, I got over my hissy fit and decided to try something different in 2008. I had been mulling the possibilities through most of 2007 and then decided Jan. 1 would be the start of what I have declared “My Perfect Year.” I would take all of that good advice about diet and exercise and put it into action. And while I was at it, I would take the good advice of my dentist (floss!), my financial consultant (budget!), my chiropractor, my podiatrist, my housekeeper and anyone else who could get me closer to perfection.

A word on perfection: I do not look like a perfectionist. Far from it. In fact, the exact opposite of it. But in some ways, I am. Because, especially with diets and such, I’ve been a very black/white, on/off kind of person. If I can’t do it 100 percent right, I won’t do it at all. 

But this go-round, I’m going to follow my own version of the 80-20 Rule. (In the early 1900s, an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto discovered that 80 percent of the money in his home country was controlled by 20 percent of the people. It has since been applied to all sorts of other situations.) My personal take on the rule is that I will set out my goals for a “perfect” life – but if I only make it 80 percent of the time, I will consider it a victory. Because, you know what? If I’m dieting, exercising and making positive changes 80 percent of the time, I’m going to be much closer to my goals than if I didn’t try at all.

I’m blogging about my year-long adventure (which is a Personal Improvement Project of its own. I’ve learned to hyperlink!). If you want to know how I’m doing, visit me at

By the way, the 80-20 Rule doesn’t count for Tallahassee Magazine. We’re always shooting for perfectly perfect.

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