Ahhhh…the start of a new year. It brings hope. It brings renewal. It brings change. Or does it? Does it really bring change? Or are we all just fooling ourselves?
I almost never make New Year’s Resolutions. You might be surprised to hear that from the author of a motivational blog. Of course, I do believe in change. My inner being is naturally drawn toward self-improvement and change. But I almost never make New Year’s Resolutions. Well, at least not anymore.
Sure, there was a time when I did. They usually centered around probably the #1 most common resolution: exercising and losing weight. I admit it, I come from a family who really dislikes exercise and loves food. Not a good combination, right?! Not that we are overweight. Quite the contrary. My older sister is skinnier than most 12 year old girls (#howisthatpossible). Anyway, I was always the “big” one of the family, even though I have always been an average weight. But in comparison to my skinny sisters, I always had to “watch my weight.” Hence, the New Year’s Resolutions of the past – weight loss.
Guess what? Every time I made a New Year’s Resolution, I failed. I’m not saying that I haven’t gone on diets and exercised and lost weight. I have. But the times when I was successful at my “get healthy & lose weight” goals, well, they weren’t started on January 1st of any given year.
Why is that? Here are 4 reasons why my New Year’s Resolutions have failed, and why yours for 2014 might have already too:
1. I wasn’t really committed to it.
If I was really committed to my goal, I wouldn’t need “January 1st” to make the change. I would only need August 13th at 10:02 a.m. The time or date doesn’t matter when you are truly committed. You don’t even need a Monday (start of a new week, similar to the start of a new year). You just need NOW. When you want something with all your being, you don’t need an arbitrary start date like the beginning of a year.
2. I didn’t design my life in a way to support the change.
Over many, many years of trying to incorporate exercise into my life, I finally realized what worked and what didn’t. Sure, they say “go to an aerobics class with a friend, so your commitment to them will make you get your tushie off the couch and go.” Um, yeah, that didn’t work for me. Well, it did for a while until I resented the fact that I had to go just because I committed to another person. So eventually, I just stopped working out with friends. Ha! What DID work, however, is realizing that one of my problems with exercise is that I find it extremely boring. And I don’t like taking the extra time to drive to a gym, get dressed and undressed, blah blah blah. I want to do it as quickly as possible and get it over with. My solution? Get a stationery bike and a weight machine and exercise in front of my TV while I watch my favorite shows. Believe it or not, it helps me forget I’m exercising (a little). #okaynotreally #butithelps
3. I didn’t want it badly enough.
Have any of you ever hit your breaking point where you will do anything to change? I’m talking about the points where you are so disgusted that you will literally move mountains to not stay where you are. Yep. Me too. That’s the only time when I actually had success with my weight loss goals. I had to be so sick of how I felt that I no longer missed food or made excuses to not exercise. (Okay, I always miss food - who am I kidding?! But you get my point!)
4. I was in love with idea of my resolution, not the steps I had to take to get there.
Sure, we all want to be skinny, rich, healthy, _______________ #fillintheblank. But guess what? It all takes effort. It takes work. Sometimes there are negative pay-offs. Even something like getting rich has its payoffs. You might have to work long hours and have time away from your family. Maybe you don’t want to do that, so you don’t make the sacrifice. We usually like the idea of the destination better than the journey of actually getting there.
So that’s why I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions anymore. I don’t need to. I don’t need an arbitrary start of the year to commit to my goal. If I’m not committed now, there is nothing January 1st can do to force me to commit. That’s quite a bummer actually, because I really wish a brand new year held magical weight loss powers. But it doesn’t, and we all know it. So let’s just stop pretending. All we really need is to dig deep inside ourselves and figure out a better way to commit to our goals.
Meanwhile…I’ll keep you posted about when I reach my breaking point with losing weight, and I’ll call you from the aerobics class at the gym. Oh wait. No I won’t…make that my stationery bike in my basement …
Dr. Carol Morgan &
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