Well, you know, we all want to change the world.
Have you ever made a resolution that actually stuck? Probably not. I can think of only one person in my own life who has made one successful resolution: When we were kids, my brother resolved to eat exactly one potato chip the entire year. For what it’s worth, he nailed it. So much for the betcha-can’t-eat-just-one myth.
Apart from that sole example, these things are basically giant pillars of fantasy. People tend to create lofty, overblown objectives — ostensibly for self-improvement — that are unattainable, grandiose, and inherently unexecutable. Either their resolutions are not specific enough (“I’m going to lose weight!”) or far too specific (“I’m going to go to the gym EVERY DAY and never eat sugar and go paleo and gluten-free and lose 100 pounds by June!”), and we have ourselves to blame for the impracticality. (Learn your SMART goals, people!)
It’s an honorable effort to create things to strive for in any situation, but making resolution-setting A THING is exactly the problem, especially when it’s for losing weight.
First of all, the time of the year is a trap. It’s a freaking trap. From Halloween to New Year’s Eve — two SOLID MONTHS — we stuff our faces with candy and pie and cookies (among other things) under the code of holiday conduct. That’s two months of steadily gaining weight just through the interruption of whatever routine you have in place, in combination with the calorie fests accompanying each holiday in the forms of parties, receptions, and the celebratory meals that mark the occasions themselves. So all the while, we have in the back of our heads that we’ve got to get right… but might as well wait until this holiday-laden time of year has passed, cuz it’d just be a lost cause before then. *shrugs and eats another cupcake*
Furthermore, those two months of splurging on enough sugar and carbs to destroy a doctor’s soul, are two months wasted on regression when they could be spent maintaining, if not making progress. It’s digging yourself into a deeper hole to work out of when the arbitrary date of January 1st finally comes and you can make your precious resolution. Honestly, think of the damage!
So New Year’s Day becomes THE HOPE. We don’t set goals, we set RESOLUTIONS. (Those are more serious, y’know. *eye roll*) The ball drops at midnight on January 1st, and BAM! You’re magically different and inspired to go lose the weight you haven’t to this point been motivated enough to tackle because… wait, why again? Because NEW YEAR’S! That bizarre top-hat-wearing New Year’s baby is your spirit animal, and he will guide you to win! OO-RAH!
Next on the list of pitfalls is the delusion of time. You figure, “hey, I have all year to hit this (fucking insane) goal I’ve set for myself. Totally gonna happen, brah.” But have you thought it through? Do you have a plan for how to eat right, build muscle, and work off fat so that you can even get close to hitting that likely bonkers goal of yours? Or were you just putting it on future-you in the midst of all those holiday smorgasbords to deal with current-you’s horrible decisions so you could continue eating and drinking your way into oblivion without feeling too guilty? Was it ever a serious decision, or was it a sugar-fueled pledge made in the throes of a mad jones for more of the sweet stuff? The amount of time you have to hit any goal is meaningless if you haven’t figured out how to spend it on achieving that goal.
Finally, the amount of pressure from this HUGE demand you’ve put upon yourself is crushing. You have formally resolved to lose weight, and you must succeed! It’s A THING, after all. A THING!
No. It’s too much. The stakes are too high. Resolutioning for weight loss is the prime example of the all-or-nothing approach, and unless you’re a wiry 9-year-old boy with a weird defiant streak against potato chip advertisements, ALL OR NOTHING DOESN’T WORK. It’s why people fail. It’s why I’ve always failed in the past. You kill it and kill it and kill it until you have one little slip-up, then it’s THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD and you’ve totally ruined everything and you might as well just stop exercising now. Better luck next year. Pass the cake.
If you’ve made any resolutions relating to weight loss, I highly recommend you try them the SMART way so you aren’t set up for failure from the jump. I also sincerely wish you luck — some people do respond well to the magnitude of SUCCEED OR BUST, but those individuals are rare. Prove me wrong. Please.
For my part, I resolve to try very hard not to lose my mind when my gym is suddenly overrun with starry-eyed resolutioners who are all up on my elliptical starting tomorrow. Other than that, my resolution is to make no weight-loss resolutions; just to make more weight-loss progress.
Happy and healthy 2016!