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New Years resolutions - Meaningless?

I'm going to (insert one of the following common resolutions)

  • Loose weight
  • Get fit
  • Quit smoking
  • Take out the trash

Statistically speaking, no you're not. Great goals to be sure, and despite what it sounds like, I don't want to discourage anyone from trying to achieve them. I want to encourage people to make realistic goals that they are ready to achieve. With a 90 to 95% failure rate for achieving new years resolutions something is obviously not right.

If someone invited you to make an investment that had a 90 to 95% risk of losing your money, how willing would you be to put hard earned dollars into it? Exactly. How would you view people who get really excited about putting their money into such an investment? What if they made claims like, "oh yeah, I'm going to double my money on this one." Would you see them as bullish go getters, or as disillusioned?

Likewise, what if there was a great investment opportunity that had a legitimate guaranteed return, and paid dividends immediately. Would you say, "well I don't need to benefit from that just yet, instead I'm going to waist some more money first, then I'll make the investment on January 1st." Seems almost silly.

I don't really like addressing health and fitness new years resolutions - most of the time they're phony. It's kind of like dealing with a door to door sales person; you don't really want to answer the door and listen to their canned sales pitch. If you do open the door it will most likely be to get them off your property.

New years resolutions are an overt expression of not facing reality. There is a thin veneer of feigned sincerity for turning over a new leaf. It's easy to get high on the sensationalism that goes with the new years resolution, but let's face it; if someone is waiting until January 1st to eat healthy, lose weight, get fit etc., what they're really saying is they don't give a rats rear end about it but it makes them feel good or they think it makes them look good to talk about these changes.

If eating better etc. was truly a priority for us, we would already be doing it. That's what happens when we've passed the fence sitting stage - we put our thoughts into actions.

Once you concede the BS and drop the new years resolution, you're ready to start getting down to business.

If you lament making a change today and say that you need one more weekend of debauchery to "get it out of your system" before making positive changes then you're not ready.

Think that sounds negative? It isn't. What is negative is a person lying to themselves and not following through.

So what can be done?

First, ignore January 1st, or any date, as the specific date to start making changes. Putting off change is an overt expression of not really wanting to change so if you don't want to change then don't. I wish people would change because their lives would be better than ever imagined. It's important that people have convinced themselves that they want it.

Once passed the contemplation stage and really feeling an internally motivated desire to adopt a healthy lifestyle, it's time to make that change.

Wanting to drop 20 pounds or 100 pounds and get washboard abs is great. But if it isn't accepted that achieving this requires a permanent change in lifestyle then forgetaboutit. Avoid being disillusioned with superficial goals (like washboard abs) and consider the overall benefits of healthy living as part of the reward.

Make the goals realistic, and give yourself lot's of time to achieve them. This isn't about a four week boot camp, it's about living with habits that you can do every day for the rest of your life. Retaining a sense of reward with the old bad habits while introducing new habits wont work, and is one of the culprits of failure in the switch to healthy living.

The single most important variable for success in making the change is a disassociation of reward with the old habits and developing a sense of reward with the new habits. This takes practice, a lot of practice.

The whole new years thing is a dog and pony show. Contemplate adopting a healthy lifestyle, and when you're ready, do it; don't wait for new years.

Happy New Year!


2007 Cris LaBossiere Rhino Fitness

Copyright 2004 Rhino Fitness. All rights reserved.
For more information contact: clabossiere@rhinofitness.ca