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.

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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.