Sometimes we set big goals because a new calendar year provides an excuse to pursue a dream. Sometimes, we make resolutions because everyone else is.
Other times, life sneaks up and delivers an ultimatum – you will do this thing. Because you can't afford not to.
The last summons has landed in the lap of Mount Maunganui mum of three and office manager Colette Orringe.
I've known Colette since around 2012. We both have American-born sons the same age who share similar accents and athleticism.
When Colette came to pick up her child from our house six years ago, she was a petite, wiry woman with a beauty queen's figure. We stood outside talking while my husband's friend gawked from a second-floor window. I swear I heard his jaw hit the sill.
These days, I mostly see Colette on Facebook.
The 45-year-old remarried in 2016 and has settled happily into her new life with husband, Ashley. She looks quite different than when we met, like she's morphed into a sister who's older and heavier.
Earlier this week, Colette shared her 2018 goal on Facebook, explaining she has never had weight issues - until now.
She was a runner whose fastest half marathon was one hour, 28 minutes – a time that would've captured fourth place for women in last year's Rotorua half.
She wrote, "When I moved back from the States 6 years ago I was a tiny 41kg [Colette stands just under 150cm] I have since grown and grown and grown (funny/not funny). Ash and I live a very social life and entertain and are entertained a lot. We have a wonderful time but things have caught up…"
She explained she would love to lose 30kg and posted photos of her trimmer self.
I was intrigued by Colette's honesty and humour – the unflinching way she shared a universal dilemma. Her post attracted more than 100 comments - well-wishers, potential walking buddies and other people battling extra mass due to illness, inactivity or too much food and drink.
We need only look around to confirm what government statistics report: nearly one in three adults in New Zealand is obese; a further 34 per cent are overweight but not obese. That's an official way of stating the obvious – most of us are fat.
I asked Colette whether I could share her story and some photos. She said yes.
She told me over the phone why she went public with her goal. "I kind of needed to make myself a little bit accountable…and I've had a lot of people personal message and call me saying they're in the same boat."
She's struggled with exercise due to back and knee injuries (possibly weight-related) and wants to lose enough kilos to exercise comfortably again.
"My motivation was from my family because they're all runners. They're all very athletic, still."
A Christmas visit with her Auckland whanau was the final straw – they were concerned for her health. "They said, 'Oh my gosh, you can't do this to yourself'."
From a personal high of 80kg, Colette has lost 3kg the past week by walking, cutting portion sizes and limiting carbohydrates and beer. She says her days of downing six brews on a weeknight and another 10 to 12 during a single weekend day are over.
"It's just changing habits."
Colette said her husband is very supportive - "He's happy to cut back, as well."
One thing I admire about Colette's plan is what she's not doing: nothing faddish or expensive. No 30-day this or 60-day that. No paleo, vegan, eating-for-blood-type or hair colour or according to the shape of your little toe.
Tell me all about your diet-with-a-name and I'll nod off between bites of spare rib and blueberry pie (in moderation, of course).
Colette calls her new regime a daily commitment. She's embarking on the simplest plan: eat less, move more. She hopes to walk a long-distance event later this year to celebrate the increased mobility she's working to achieve.
Whether your goal is exercising more, losing weight, starting a business, completing a degree or publishing the twelfth draft of your manuscript (stand up, self), we can learn from Colette's method: enlist your community; take small, daily steps and go easy on the alcohol. She can get there. So can you. So can I.
*What's your goal for 2018? We'll check back in periodically with Colette and update you on her progress.