Turn Birthday Wishes into Goals
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This past weekend, I celebrated my 38th birthday. After a nice Sunday brunch (yes, I made good choices and didn't overeat) with my family, my husband treated me to an afternoon of clothes shopping. And what a birthday treat: I discovered I could officially shop for size 10 shorts and pants! It's been years since I could fit into that size.

I've always thought of my birthday as my own personal New Year's Day. It's a chance to start fresh and set new goals. Being able to fit into a size 10 reminded me that this year, something is different. I'm not starting from square one. I've already made progress on a major personal goal: getting to my goal weight.

This year I feel like I'm fueled with a newfound confidence that I can reach the goals I set for myself. This is very different from past years when I almost never kept the New Year's or birthday resolutions.

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While I've always told my children, husband, friends, and family that they can do anything they set their minds to, I feel like it's now time to challenge myself, believe in my own possibilities, and, most importantly, act on them.

So I decided to start a "40 Things to Do Before I'm 40" list. Naturally I have my weight-loss goals on the list, but I also have more specific, athletically inspired ideas such as participating in a duathlon, running a quarter and half marathon, and taking tennis lessons. It's important to round out the list so it's not just focused on one thing, however, so I've added other items like cooking lessons and taking a cruise with my family to see the Northern Lights from the ground.

Then there are goals on the list that really push me out of my comfort zone. Yesterday when I was at a school event for my son at the Mall of America, my friend Kristen started telling me about her exciting experience on the "Flying Dutchman Ghostly Gangplank" ropes course. "It's scary being that high up," she said. I looked up a the high platforms and ropes, and my stomach turned. That's when I realized I had to add that to the list too.

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As I tell my children, life is about making choices and facing challenges. With the new confidence I feel this year, I've decided I'm going to live life the best I can by making the best choices and facing challenges head-on.

I'm also still on the lookout for more goals to conquer in the next two years. Do you have any suggestions?

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