Friday, December 30, 2011

Why do resolutions fail?

courtesy of

I have spent a lot of time thinking about resolutions lately.  I've also spent a lot of time thinking about why people refuse to make them.  I'll even admit, there are years I refuse to make them.  Because, let's face it, resolutions are what we should do, or even what we kinda want to do.  But do we really want to do it?  It seems like a lot of resolutions include diet and exercise, but are they including the foods we like to eat, or the types of exercise we are most likely to enjoy?  Or is it the standard treadmills and salads of years past?  Is this year going to be the same?  Or are you ready to try something radically different?

I truly believe that diet and exercise regimens fail because they do not offer significant enjoyment.  If I had a dollar for every diet plan I have read that has tried to convince me that "food should be fuel", I would be well on my way to a healthy Retirement Fund.  I could probably retire early.  I simply don't buy that enjoyment of food is incidental to actually receiving nutrition.  When we deprive ourselves of our internal desire to enjoy the food we eat, it is only a matter of time before our desire for enjoyable food outweighs our desire to see results.  The diet has failed before it ever begins.  Likewise, it seems like every year, people go out and invest in gym memberships.  They go for a week or two, and they are really proud of that.  But then, all of a sudden, they stop going.  Why?  Maybe they pushed themselves too hard.  Maybe  they have not budgeted their time appropriately.  Maybe it's because they really, really, really hate the gym.

I can relate.  The gym is one of my least favorite places on earth.  I hate it.  I get a pit in my stomach thinking about it.  Don't, however, equate a hatred of the gym with a hatred of exercise.  I love to move my body.  I love the feeling you get after a great sweat session.  I just hate everything about working out in a gym.  I hate being cooped up in a hot, sweaty, stinky, poorly ventilated room with 50-100 strangers.  I dislike watching a tv screen while I blindly plod along on an elliptical or treadmill.  It makes me feel deprived of what is great about working out.  I love to sweat, but I want to feel gently cooled by a breeze.  I want to fill my body with fresh, oxygen rich air.  I want to be able to focus on what's going on with my body as I exercise, not drown it out with media so that I can suffer through 5 extra minutes.  It just doesn't work for me.

The challenge then, comes in finding what to eat, and how to move your body so that it is well nourished, and it gets the movement it needs.  How do you do that?  There are a few options.  You can try everything under the sun, waiting to find the one exact thing that works for you.  Or you can do some internal reflection, and start to rule out things you know will not work for you.  You may love beef, and know you could never be vegetarian.  You may hate running, so you can rule out that marathon that every one of your friends is so keen on running.  You'll still have to experiment, but you'll be so much further ahead of everyone else, that your experiments are more likely to succeed than they are to fail.

So, I challenge you in these last days before the new year, to consider what will really work for you.  If you're stuck, I will be sharing with you information about some of the diets that I have learned about/tried, and alternative ways to get your exercise in that have nothing to do with the treadmill over the next few months.  Maybe one will ring true for you, and you will see great results.  Maybe you will find something I don't mention.  Whatever it is, I hope that 2012 is the year that your resolutions don't fail, and you find a sense of accomplishment.

1 comment:

  1. I hate the gym too! It sucks. I'm constantly comparing myself to the other people around me and wondering if I'm doing any of this right. It's just not for me :/ I think that I'm gonna start by trying yoga first. I've never really given it a try, so that will be my experiment for the month of Jan. :)

    Also, I read somewhere a while ago that watching TV while exercising is actually bad for your workout because you begin to focus on what your watching, whereas you should be focusing on how you're working out.


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