Friday, December 16, 2011

2012...and beyond

In just 16 days, it will be 2012.  A new year.  New beginnings, new possibilities.  This will set off perhaps the greatest yearly waste of time in our lives:  the new year's resolution.

I've done it so many times.  Each year, I would pig out for 2 months straight at the holidays, all justifying it with that eye on the artificial January 1 deadline.  I actually convinced myself that as soon as the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve, I would magically start eating right and start going to the gym.

Sure, I would go to the gym....and that gym sure would be full.  But by about the 3rd week in January, the gym would be empty and I would be back in the fast-food drive-through.  So from my vast experience in failure, I'd like to offer some suggestions to the new year's resolution crowd.

Instead of getting your hopes up that you are going to somehow magically turn your life around based on the calendar, take an honest assessment of your lifestyle.  Forget losing a certain amount of weight by a certain time.  If you have a lot of weight to lose like I did (and still do,) the weight isn't the problem.  That word "lifestyle" encompasses many things.  Our lifestyle is how we live our lives, including:

-How much stress we are under

-The quality of our relationships

-How much sleep we get on a daily basis

-Our overall happiness level with our lives

-The quality and frequency of the meals we eat

-How much physical activity we get on a daily basis

My weight problem was just a symptom of an unhealthy lifestyle.  What I ate and how much I ate was just one part of that.  I've realized this as I've had a chance to reflect on my life and try to figure out why I overeat, what triggers it, what I can do differently, etc.

So for 2012, resolve to look at the big picture.  And if you must make a resolution, make an actual resolution that you can follow through on.  Something like "I am going to pack my lunch and eat it every day."  Or how about "I am going to walk 15 minutes a day, 3 times a week."

If I've learned one thing in all of this, it's that if you cannot do it for the rest of your life, it's not worth doing.  Sure, you might be able to work out 10 times a week in the gym and lose 50 pounds in 3 months, but what about the long-term?  What about the disappointment that will come when you burn out  and can no longer maintain that maniacal level of exercise?

Instead of setting yourself up for that unhappy crash back to reality, take the long view. Make 2012 a year of change, but only changes that will carry you into 2013 and 2014.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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