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WHY Your New Year’s Resolution Doesn’t Matter

December 26, 2009

Christmas has come and gone and New Year’s is just around the corner.  It’s time to adhere to the time honored tradition of setting your New Year’s Resolutions.  Right?  WRONG!

Step back for a second and ask yourself this question:  If your weight loss goals are so important, then why are you waiting to set them on one particular day?  This is a trap we too often fall into.  We wait to take action.  If you’re like most Americans (60%+ being obese), you will wait and yhen you will inevitably list losing weight as your primary goal, according to Wikipedia.  New Year’s Day is a fresh start to a new year.  I get that.  But I think it is also the day of the biggest case of the “Guilts.”

Picture this:  Thanksgiving came and went – the pounds accumulated as you indulged in the traditional feast of our ancestors.  Not long after came the many holiday parties, seasonal candies, office lunches and treats.  Next, sShopping gets in the way of our personal time, and exercise can easily go by the way side.  Christmas comes – and more pounds accumulate with another family feast as well as festive beverages including egg nog (my personal favorite barring the calories).  Then comes New Year’s Eve and the inevitable overindulgence of alcohol leaves you promising the next morning “I’ll never drink again” as you pray to the Porcelain God to take the pain away.  (Been there, done that.)

So, it’s New Year’s Day as we continue our scenario.  We’re hurting in the head and we start to beat ourselves up as we look in the mirror.  “Look at me – I look like hell.  My eyes are baggy and dark.  Let’s turn sideways – Oh My God!  Where did that fat come from?  What did I do?  No wonder some of my Christmas clothes had to be taken back.  I better make a New Year’s Resolution to lose some weight this  year!”  Isn’t that how it goes?

Well, think again this year.  According to the New York Times, 80% of New Year’s Resolutions are abandoned by Valentine’s Day.  Ouch.

So, 44 days after your “resolution” is started, you’ll give up.  It’s time for a change, don’t you think, if you truly are serious about losing weight.  I have one simply word:  Why.

I didn’t say Why?  I said Why.  See the difference?  I don’t want to know why you gave up.  I want to know your “WHY.”  Your “WHY” is the reason behind whether you succeed or fail any weight loss efforts.  Let’s use “Mary as an Example:

“I want to lose 30 lbs.,” says Mary.

OK, Mary, why?

“I want to lose 30 lbs. because I want to look better.”

OK, Mary, why?

“Well, if I don’t look better, then I won’t feel better about myself.”

OK, Mary, we’re getting closer…  But didn’t you gain weight last year and you took a little off, but now you’re back to that weight again or perhaps a little heavier.  What will make it different this time?

“I’ll have my friends support me this time.”

Uh, but didn’t they support you last year?  And then when you fell off the wagon, because they were your friends, they gently let you down so you didn’t feel uncomfortable about gaining weight, didn’t they?

“Uh, yeah.”

This time, Mary, and all others out there, figure out your real WHY for losing weight.  Make it uncomfortable on yourself.  Play it out – what will happen if you continue to gain weight?  What do you stand to lose?  Your health suffers.  You could lose yourself in a never ending cycle of comparing yourself to others who are in shape.  But let’s not worry about that – let’s just focus on you – and your health.  Many studies show that weight gain leads to obesity which leads to diabetes which leads to the dependence of insulin to counteract your blood sugar – and that could lead

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to death.  Uh, I mean earlier death, because diabetes will shorten your life expectancy by at least 7 years.

My grandfather died from heart disease and diabetes.  I’d give anything to have had seven extra years with him.  If you’re a parent – and overweight – your actions could lead to taking away seven years from your life and indirectly from those around you that you “love.”

Is your WHY becoming clearer?

Weight loss can be hard.  Just ask the former Biggest Loser champ who lost close to 200 lbs. and then as recent as this week gained most of it back.  Food can be an addiction, just like alcohol or drugs, until you step back and realize what it is doing to you and your family or friends.  This is no time to beat yourself up, but it is time to make a plan.

First step of the plan:  Throw out the RESOLUTION concept.
Next step of the plan:  Establish WHY you want to lose weight.  Detail the outcome if you continue on this cycle.  Put the emotions of your friends/family into that WHY as though they were at your funeral or you were seeing it from a 3rd person perspective.  In addition, list the negatives of continuing down the wrong path; also list the positives and new things you could do with a new slimmer figure.
Additional step:  Set a timeline.  Make it tangible.  Relevant weight loss can occur at the rate of 2 lbs. per week.  Any more than that can lead to muscle loss.  You don’t want that.  You want to toss the fat out only.  So if you want to lose 30 lbs., then that can be done in 15 weeks or 4 months.  If you want to lose more, then break it up into chunks of time, but make it realistic.
Last step before the end:  Accountability.  Give certain friends PERMISSION to hold you accountable and excuse them to beat you up if you deviate.  Take it one step further.  Give them something of yours that you dearly love such as a family heirloom, a check for many dollars or a collectible you can’t live without it.  The terms of the deal are that you must meet your goal in the allotted time frame – or the item you love most goes away.  That’s it.  They cash the check and it gets donated to a charity, the collectible gets pawned or given away, etc.  Is that harsh?  No.  Accountability is a great tool and when used in this manner really forces you to look inside yourself to discover what’s really important.  A softer approach is the pre-purchase of clothing that will only fit should you lose the weight you plan.  Start a blog or join an online support group also.  Either way you go, put some heat on yourself.  You can do it.  Trust me.
FINAL STEP:  Work your plan!  There are countless weight loss programs.  Do some research.  Make it fun.  Make it challenging.  Make sure it is something you will enjoy and look at as a positive.  Don’t find the meanest trainer or toughest workout because that only makes it harder to conquer.

New Year’s is just a few days away.  That gives you time to plot your plan, determine your WHY, think of your accountability scheme and just do it.  Put me down in your accountability plans so I can help.  When New Year’s rolls around, if not sooner, start your plan.  Don’t call it your resolution.  Call it your wake-up call.  Call it what it is:  Your Life.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 26, 2009 6:54 pm

    I totally agree with that! Why wait ’til tomorrow what you can start today? I used to be one of those people. I even went as far as saying “I’ll have another baby WHEN I lose my weight”…well, it dawned on me that I was sabotaging those weight loss efforts because I was afraid of dying (previous complications). That was 7 years ago, and 2 more babies. I finally had to let the fear go. This past year, I took the bull by the horns and I started to implement a course of action that would aid in my weight loss…it was drastic for many people…refined-sugar-free/gluten-free, and consecutive daily exercise. But when I started, I stopped living in the future, and started living in the present. Since June 15th, I’m 49.5 pounds down, 192 days refined-sugar-free/gluten-free, 171 days of consecutive daily exercise, and actually LIVING. People, you cannot start tomorrow. Something always comes up to push it off…what if tomorrow never comes for you? You will have wasted years of life putting living off. Do it NOW. Live NOW.

    • December 26, 2009 7:03 pm

      Once again, great comment Lisa. That is some awesome weight loss. You have found your WHY and it is obviously working. When is your book coming out!??

  2. December 28, 2009 8:46 am

    Hehe…you just wait. You can be one of the first…and an autographed copy at that! :o)

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