December just wouldn’t feel right if I wasn’t at my computer composing a blogpost about how much I hate the idea of new years resolutions.
Never mind the fact that only a fraction of any new years resolutions will ever actually come to fruition, I just can’t seem to understand the logic behind them. I would like to simplify this so everyone can understand some of my distaste for these “resolutions”. First of all, I would like to ask if these folks have ever committed to anything for 30 days, let alone 365 days? It is highly unlikely the answer is yes which means you are set up for failure from the start. What makes us think that if in our 30+ years of existence, January 1st, 2015 will be the first time in our life that we commit to something that we have yet to do thus far? What is the significance of January 1st? There is always that huge group of people that start with this nonsense in October. “Man, when January hits, I am going to go on this diet and start exercising like no one’s business”. In the meantime, they barely come up for air as they are shoving bear claws down their throats from Thanksgiving to New Years Eve.
Here are some things that will be crucial when it comes time to go after a goal that you have set for yourself.
1. Don’t wait for January 1st, when you come up with a goal that you want to set, start the next morning. No, it doesn’t have to be a Monday….the same results will happen if you start on a Thursday….crazy right?
2. Come up with a visual way to track your goal. For example, when I eliminated sugar and the majority of other things that were causing my UC symptoms to worsen, I tracked my food and symptoms on a spreadsheet. It takes me about 90 seconds a day to do so. My plan was to do this for 30 days and see how it affected my symptoms. I am now on Day 118 and have no plans to change. It is easy for me to visualize how effective these changes have been on my symptoms and because of this, it is easy to continue.
3. Peer Pressure can be a good thing:) Talk someone close to you into doing it with you so you have a support system. I am really bad at this, if I decide to do something crazy, I am all about roping in some other people to do it with me. Every year following Regionals, I have done the Neera Cleanse which is a 5-day fast, I have yet to do that solo and there are a few people that won’t come near me if they think I am going to start as they will avoid getting pressured into it again at all costs.
4. Suck it up. This is probably the most important piece of reaching your goal. It won’t be easy, if it was, it wouldn’t be a goal that is worth doing. Understand this before starting and mentally prepare yourself for the times when it gets tough. Put on your big boy pants and suck it up. You can whine a little bit if it makes you feel better but deal with it and press on. Remember, YOU are the one that signed up for this, YOU are the one that wants the results at the end of this. I know, life is so hard, “you mean I have to wake up when my alarm goes off so I can get up and give myself a better chance at living longer and being healthy”…….yeah, we have it pretty rough huh? I always laughed when I saw the surprise at Marine Officer Candidates when they realized that the training was actually going to be tough and uncomfortable. How can people be so naive?
Now, before you label me as this insensitive, overbearing, horrible coach, let me say this. If you come to me and tell me that your goal is to “x” and it just so happens that you are starting in January, I will support you 1000% but there is a difference between “support” and “coddling”. Anyone who has been at Vitality for a while understands that I am not here to be your “cheerleader”. I am here to squeeze every ounce of human potential from your body. This is usually a lengthy process that makes the individual question their commitment numerous times which is where I come in. The more lofty the goal, the more times you will find questioning yourself. One of the reasons that I am so adamant about this is because failure and quitting is a learned behavior. Every time you quit something, quitting becomes easier the next time. Imagine every January for 5 years you walk into your local Golds Gym and buy a membership…. by February, you’re back on the couch. This is now a routine, in order for you to ever make it past February, it will now be twice as hard as it was before this behavior was learned. Keep this in mind when all your friends are talking about the next great New Years Resolution.