New Year's Resolutions, REALLY?

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It’s the time of year that people will stop and say, “On this ‘special’ day, I’m going to change something really important in my life. I’m going to stop smoking, stop drinking, spend more time with my family, lose weight, and/or get into shape.” There are lots of New Year’s resolutions that are made, but the likelihood of success is often low. You had three-hundred, sixty-five days to make a change and you chose not to do those things, but now that It’s January first, somehow things are suddenly going to be different. Bologna. The truth is, you set yourself up to fail the moment that you set a date. What normally causes us to make a dramatic change in our lives is that moment that we decide that we don’t want to live like this anymore. That’s the moment that real change can happen because we have real motivation driving us to change.

It’s the why, not the date, which ultimately drives us to do and not quit when it gets hard, and it will get hard.

I don’t say any of this to discourage anyone. I just want to encourage you to think about your desired outcome and to think about why it’s your desired outcome. At the end of the day, what do you want to accomplish? Why? You need a driver—something that will drive you when things get tough, something to hold on to. Last year, I had one of those “I don’t want to live like this” moments when my weight had reached an all-time high. I looked in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw for lots of reasons, not just the sixty pounds of unwanted weight. In addition, I had started to have heath issues related to my new-found girth. Conventional wisdom would say, “Just go on a diet,” and it’s not like I didn’t know how to. But that’s part of the problem; I’ve been on so many diets over the years, that my body knows all the tricks. So now when I try to start a diet, it just laughs at me, slows down, adds on more unwanted weight, and continues to add to my frustration. This, coupled with a bad habit of mood eating (or bad-mood eating) helped me get to the place that I was in.

As a bodybuilder I was the ultimate yo-yo dieter. I was always either trying to get bigger or trying to get smaller, until my body was totally screwed up. In this moment, in order for me to have real success, I knew had to do something I had never done before:  I had to learn how to eat for the rest of my life. No more “diets.” In the past, I had always just disciplined myself for months at a time so I could reach my goal. Like with all diets, I had an end in mind so I could go back to what I liked to eat normally. This time around, I had to work on making changes that I could live with forever, both with my eating and with my training. The key is knowing that I could do these things for the long haul. Fast-forward to now, and I have lost twenty pounds. It wasn’t the forty pounds that I had hoped for, but I have created some new habits. Now I have some momentum towards the next twenty. The big thing is the decisions that I make now are different:

I think about my outcome instead of just making decisions for convenience.

I don’t think that I am unique and that my problems are different than anyone else’s. We all have stuff to overcome, stuff that may be causing us to make bad decisions. You can’t wait for those things to go away, because something else will just take its place. What we can do is we can learn to make decisions that will help us take care of ourselves better. If you have decided that you don’t want to live the way you’ve been living and you want to make a change, make sure you make new choices for the long haul. Your new habits have to be forever habits. That way you will have something to build on. Take some time and start to understand why you do what you, like eating junk food at night or why you need a glass of wine or scotch every night. It’s not what we do that matters, it’s why we do it. The why will set you free.  Otherwise, you will always be trapped. You can only discipline yourself for so long before what’s underneath inevitably comes out. Once you understand your “why,” you can truly start to make better decisions. Making better decisions will take you to new places.  Remember that doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Fitness is about lifestyle change, not about making a resolution that will only last a couple of days or weeks. Let your decision evolve from the need to live differently. Make small attainable goals, get a guide to help you on your journey, and you will succeed.

Speaking of goals, my goal for this year is to reach 1000 people with theses blogs. You can help by being my guide. If you feel that these messages will help someone that you know, please forward them. By reaching my personal goal, I hope to help many others reach theirs too.

I’m looking forward to a great new year.