OK folks. Its time for another ranting post. It does kind of follow with the recent series of posts for beginners so it’s not totally out to left field. Let’s see…where did I put that soap box… ah here it is…now give me a second here…
This is the season of feasting and merrymaking and the inevitable discussion of New Years resolutions. Well I for one HATE them. I think that the whole thing is a recipe for failure. I mean, think back to the lists of things that you decide you’re going to accomplish in the upcoming year. Have you ever stuck with them? Most of the people that I have spoken to last a few weeks and then fall off the wagon. Especially this whole idea of flipping a switch at midnight and you’re a whole new person. Oh puuhhhhllleeeeeeeeez
It isn’t because people aren’t capable of achieving their goals but they usually come up with some generic thing and they go at it really hard and then miss a day or two and give up. Stop me if this sounds familiar: “I’m going to lose 20 lbs.” Eat only salad and poached chicken breasts and spend three hours a day in the gym. After a week, give in and have a burger. Feel bad about it. Too exhausted to go to the gym so binge on chips while binging on Stranger Things. Next day have a muffin with morning coffee. Begin to despise the chicken and salad lunch. Figure why bother going to the gym and so on and so on.
This whole resolution thing focuses too much on the results and not the changes needed first to achieve these goals and then to make them stick. Who cares if you stop smoking if it’s only a week before you’re puffing away like a chimney again. Paid off your credit card? That’s fantastic! Then go on a shopping spree and end up with four-digit debt. Hmmmmmm
Now I don’t have any problems with having a goal. There has to be something to work towards and if your goal is to lose 20 lbs, that’s great. But instead of focussing on a random number on a scale, why not take a look at your lifestyle and make changes to that to effect the change you want to achieve? Sounds kind of like that post I did about goals doesn’t it? (Want to read? Click here) A resolution is a resolution no matter what the date. Perhaps instead of weight, think about how you want your clothes to fit better or that you want to walk around the block without having to stop. Or run it. Twice.
I’ve done the resolution thing and it seemed so hard to accomplish because I would tell myself that I was going to be completely different and do everything different and this year was going to be different. But without addressing some of the underlying factors, I found myself right back where I began. And feeling worse about myself and like a failure.
I’ve been asked if I regret the pig outs or if I feel bad about not working out. The simple answer is no I don’t. See here’s the way I look at it:
I chose between gorging with my brother and his wife and not.
I chose between resting a sore foot and back and throat and not.
I chose to eat most of a pizza (which was a different time from the gorging).
I chose to hike with my dogs instead of running.
Have I lost some of my physical condition? Yes I have. Am I losing my mind over it? Nope. I made those choices. I know that it set me back distance-wise and strength-wise. And now I feel my pants are getting a tad bit snugger so I know I have to get my butt back out there. When I’m feeling so worn out, I know that there is a reason for it; it could be emotional or physical but I needed a bit of a break. And now I’m getting a bit antsy to get outside so it’s time to lace up those shoes and start back at it.
So this is what my fitness/diet perspective has evolved into. This is what works for me and it has taken some time to actually verbalize it. It may work for you or not. If it helps, that’s awesome. If it doesn’t, there are plenty of other systems to adopt to get you to achieve your goals, whatever they may be.
I frame my choices into whatever structure works for me at that time: pros vs cons, positive vs negative, debit vs credit, risk vs reward whatever. Which of the choices available to me at the time has the outcome that will be best for me? And then I choose. It is my choice and mine alone so if it doesn’t work out as well as I thought it would, I have no one to blame but myself.
I have met so many people that can’t seem to wrap their head around that concept or that have set up road blocks that prevent them from making any kind of meaningful change. I get it. Change is scary. The familiar becomes comfortable even if it makes you unhappy.
So if you’re unhappy it is your responsibility to change things to make yourself happier. It may take a bit because it often won’t happen overnight but it is your path the forge. “My job is awful.” So get a different job. “But my job pays too well and there aren’t any jobs with the same benefits.” So your pay cheque and benefits are what’s important to you. The tangible benefits outweigh the intangible happiness. And if that’s what’s important then fine but at least accept that you could leave.
“I hate Canadian winters.” So move. “I can’t.” Why not? “My kids are in school and I don’t want to make them leave their friends.” So are you saying that your children are incapable of adapting to change? That thousands of people who move with kids are bad parents? That you’re going to cause irreparable damage to them by moving?
See where I’m going with some of these? Now I’m half expecting some hate mail for oversimplifying life decisions. But think about this: when have you ever really been in a situation where you have never had a choice? I mean really never had a choice. I can just hear someone saying “Well if a man had a gun to my head and told me to give him my wallet I don’t have a choice.” Well actually yes you do. You could give him your wallet or you could fight. “But he has a gun and I can’t fight!” So in that case, you chose your safety over the option of fighting. Obviously if you are ambushed and knocked unconscious that’s a bit different, but that’s not really the point I’m trying to make.
“I can’t run.” Why not? “Because I’m not good at it.” The only way to get good at it is to do it. “Well I don’t have the time because I have a job and family and chores and stuff.” I know plenty of people who will squeeze in a few short runs during the day or put babies in a stroller and push them or run before everyone is awake or after they’ve gone to bed or taken the kids to the park and run laps while the kids play. If you’re choosing the couch over your runners, that is your choice to make and no one else’s.
I think that when you stop seeing yourself at the mercy of life, it allows you to effect the changes you need to make to make long-lasting and meaningful changes. Not this “hey the clock struck midnight so it’s 2017 and this is going to be a great year because (blank)” but the “I’m going to make several small changes to the way I live to improve my health and fitness so I can live long enough to see many more new years”.
Empower yourself to be what you are. That is the only way you’re going to get to where you’re headed.
Thank you (steps off soap box).