Last Tuesday was #GivingTuesday, a day devoted to giving back after days of post-Thanksgiving shopping sprees. I gave back to a soldier of mine whose mother is battling cancer. This somehow enabled my mind to wader onto New Year’s resolutions and how mundane most tend to be. We end the year being thankful and giving so why do we start a new year being selfish and defeated, even if we are optimistic about the future?
Many of us have made resolutions like losing weight, quitting smoking, giving up junk food or even working out 3 days a week, but very few make the transition from resolution to habit. It starts with a cheat day somehow become cheat month and before you know it, you fell off yet another resolution wagon. We all do it, I’ve lost count of how many failed resolutions I have. So this year, why not resolve to have a better resolution?
Most resolutions don’t make it to habit or lifestyle changes simply because of the design flaws prior to execution. They were set with unrealistic expectation or negative tones, often starting as great ideas what would in theory work. Theories are simply that which has not been proven yet, or in this case, broken past habits.
Let’s use the losing weight resolution as an example. You may begin with great intentions of eating right and working out. You hired a trainer, bought a nutrition book and downloaded a calorie counting app. You’re on the right track and start to see the pounds shed. Soon, you hit your first plateau and that’s ok, your trainer is helping you see the transition of fat to muscle and sure the scale is not moving, but your clothes feel better. Shortly after, you begin to get frustrated that the numbers are not changing. You are doing everything right, so why won’t those last few pounds leave? Before you know it, you dread going to the gym and you don’t want to see another celery stick for the rest of your life. This is the first major opportunity to fall off the weight loss wagon, and many make this their final stop. Why? Because it is no longer rewarding or fun.
Resolutions should not be a punishment. You should not have to say defeating statements such as:
– I can’t have …
– I have to …
– I wish I could have/do/be …
These sentences and others like it do not make you feel good about your choices. A better mindset begins with positive words such as:
– No thank you (if referring to something you “can’t” have)
– I want to…
– I choose to have…
When I first stopped eating gluten, I never once said “I wish I can have that sandwich” or “this is hard” because it was a choice I knew I needed to make. I often heard statements like “that is so hard” and “I could never to that” to which I always replied with it’s really not that hard once you make the choice to eat this way. Resolutions are the same. You have to make the choice to make the change for you and make it a positive choice, not because you have to or should. I did this for me, for my health and because I wanted to. What others said or how they criticize does not affect me because it is not their choice. Own your choices.
My first non-resolution was 2 years ago. I decided that what ever I would resolve to do should be because I want to do it and I am ready for it. I did not need it to begin on January 1st. I simply posted my favorite Audrey Hepburn quote, the I believe in pink one, and chose not to start my year with anything I felt I HAD to do. Last year, my resolution was to visit all the baseball stadiums in California (I missed 2). This year, I am going to get to those last 2 stadiums and read one fiction novel a month.
So I challenge you. Change the start of your new year. Do something that will make you happy, something positive. This includes the previously mentioned typical resolutions, but only if it will not be a punishment. Do it because you want to. Set realistic goals and write down your “why” for if you start to become discouraged. And if you start to wobble of the wagon, remember that you are farther down the road than you previously were.
Chiropractic Intern (soon to be graduate!!)