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  • Writer's pictureShana Gietl

Our Big Fat New Year's Resolutions

Updated: Jun 11, 2018

It’s the end of the year, we’re sitting on the edge of our couches with less forgiving cushions, our bellies are full and our are wallets are thin.  We scratch our heads, grappling with the guilt of our recent overindulgences.  We find ourselves wanting to punch the saying, “Hindsight is 20/20”, in the face, but curse it instead.  Reflecting on the past month, we examine all the choices we made, trying to find the culprit.  And then we find it. It goes by the name of rationalization, and looks something like this…

It’s the holidays, all this splurging doesn’t really count… right?

After the fact, your nemesis, hindsight, conveniently pipes in…

Umm… Ask the couch.  Ask your bank account.  Ask your waistline.

As the consequences start to sink in, we move into desperation mode.  To compensate for our overindulgences, we attempt to redeem ourselves by establishing a new kind of list, a list of deprivation.  Some may refer to it as  New Year’s Resolutions.  It’s understandable really, when sweatpants are threatening to cut off circulation and air supply, we know we’re in bad shape (literally and figuratively).   For many, the list resembles something like this:

1.  Lose weight

2.  Quit smoking

3.  Spend less

While we’re brushing off the last of the cookie crumbs from our new list, signing it with chocolate thumb prints, we feel inspired and motivated, and to celebrate in our quest to lose, we push down a few more cookies, followed by those last few remaining slices of pie in the fridge… it’s a sin to be wasteful, right?  And the rationalization continues…

The motivation and inspiration lasts only as long as you continue to feed it.  We find that once we start depriving it, it starts to weaken and fade, and the only scale we seem to be tipping is the one of commitment and stamina.  We quickly lose confidence and resolve, and to cope, we turn to the very things we were trying to cut out.

Does this mean New Year’s Resolutions are a waste of time?  No.  They can actually be very healthy and with the right preparation and motivation, redeemable.  The New Year brings hope, it gives us a moment to reflect on where we are, what we want, and who we want to be.  It allows us to set goals.  This is very healthy.  What can be damaging is our motivation and lack of planning.  If we’re setting goals to rationalize or eventually undo a behavior that we’re engaging in, we could be setting ourselves up for failure. For example, I don’t say, eat this cookie so I can then set the goal of losing weight.  Instead I would set the goal of losing weight so I can then reward myself with a cookie.  My motivation is to become a healthier version of myself, not to become a person who gives into every impulse and then has to pay for it later.

Resolutions need to be fed by a well thought out plan made personally by yourself, they should not be cookie cutter template you found online to clean up a mess you just made, but a resolve to make a positive lifestyle change.  It should not be considered a list of deprivation, but a list of nourishment.  Whatever the resolution, it should be a way to enrich yourself.  Maybe it’s a commitment to be healthier, or maybe it’s a commitment to to nurture your love of learning or of hobbies, maybe you pick up that art class you’ve been meaning to take or start typing out that book you’ve been wanting to write.  Maybe you want to work on being more optimistic or better organized.  Maybe you want to push your limits athletically and train for a marathon.  Whatever your resolution, it should be looked at as an opportunity to build a better you.

When making resolutions, it’s important to take certain steps… remember, we’re letting go of the impulsive self and inviting a more planful self in.  The more planful we are, the better chance we have of being successful, if we’re successful in our commitment, we’re building confidence in ourselves.

The first step in making resolutions is to make them personable.  Your resolution should not come from your parents, your partner, your friends, but from you.  The more personal it is, the more meaning you’ll derive from it, and the more committed you will feel to it.

It’s important that you make your resolutions realistic, you don’t want to make unreachable goals and fail from the start.  I wouldn’t say, for instance, that I plan to lose 10 pounds in 1 week because I know this isn’t going to happen, I don’t care what those magazines say in the checkout isles.

You want to accurately define your resolutions.  If your resolution is to lose weight, you don’t want to be vague, but to be specific… you would say something to the effect of, I will eat healthy and work out.

Part of defining your resolution is making it measurable.  If I’m wanting to achieve healthy eating, I might set a goal to eat 4 servings of vegetables a day, not eat after 7 p.m. and substitute soda with water.

Finally, to solidify your commitment, you should tell your friends and family about your resolution.  It’s often times easier to let ourselves down (unfortunately), but if we make a commitment to others, it’s harder to cave to our weaknesses.

If you follow these simple steps, not only are you on your way to a better you, but you should notice a considerable improvement in your relationship with hindsight.


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