I hope everyone had a good holiday break and new years! I certainly did. I ate too many bad things and now I need to get back on the right track. I’ve been hit by severe laziness lately and I’m just starting to pull myself out of it.
Did I make a new years resolution? Not really. I just got back into the same mindset I’ve always had. What’s the difference?
Mindset or new years resolution?
New years resolutions are a double-edged blade. People tend to think they can suddenly drop all these bad behaviors and suddenly get into a healthy mindset. This is rarely the case. As I’ve said many times before, you need to take baby steps, not leaps. You need to take things one at a time and not overwhelm yourself.
People’s resolutions fail because of the following:
- They’re taking on too many things at once
- They’re trying to push themselves way beyond their limits
- They try to adopt a healthy mindset when they’ve never had one to begin with!
- They attempt to begin eating right or exercising when they have no idea how to properly do either.
- They tend to have unrealistic goals and usually don’t know how to achieve it.
THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON NEW YEARS RESOLUTION
Commercial gym companies know this and ALWAYS get crazy around new years. Sure, you can walk into any public gym in late December and there will be barely anyone there. On January first, suddenly it’s insanely packed!
Jump to late February and suddenly 70-80% of the people are gone.
Gyms get rich either way.
Gyms LOVE to capitalize on this sad aspect of human nature. There’s few things as sickening as the trap they make for people who decide to get healthier with a new years resolution. They attract people with a “LOW STARTING FEE” or “2 FREE MONTHS” or whatever stupid advertisement they use to get people in the door.
Then they sign up for a whole year or more, locking them into a inescapable contract. At this point, they have a guarantee sucker who will use the gym for a month or two, then maybe come in a few times over the course of the year. Usually those are times when they realize they’ve been screwed over and are wasting their money. Maybe when they’re feeling guilty and think a run on a treadmill will somehow fix it. (Then they remember why they stopped going!)
I’m no different, I went through this same thing when I started. While I was working a night shift a few years ago, I signed up for one of those 24 hour gyms. Since I had lost my social life on second shift, I decided to begin working out at about 2 AM a few times a week. I signed up for the year-long contract, but unlike everyone else, I had my goals set and I knew how to get to them (for the most part.)
While my gym visits waxed and waned, I still managed to lose some weight and get stronger. However, I would still have entire months where I did not visit the gym at all. I was tortured by the thought that I was handing over my hard-earned money to those arseholes for nothing! I swear, some times I would go to the gym purely for the fact that I hated throwing away the money. (How’s that for motivation!?)
Gyms require motivation. Otherwise, you’re wasting your money.
At the time I was also without a girlfriend and I was thinking in the back of my mind that getting stronger and thinner would automatically lead to finding one. (Believe me, It’s much more complicated than that.) While women won’t flock to you for simply improving your body, the secret came in the fact that my confidence slowly grew.
After All, growing up as a fat “forever alone” slob, I had almost zero confidence. As the weight dropped and the strength increased, I suddenly found myself feeling lighter and more energetic! I was able to socialize easier and my mind worked better than ever, thanks to Paleo.
Once I finally had found a girlfriend, a major shift took place. Suddenly, I had no reason to workout since I had achieved my (seemingly impossible) goal. Now what do I do it for?
It took a few months of struggling with this, but I slowly realized that the sense of self-satisfaction and achievement that I got from exercise was its own reward. Over the year or so since I began, my confidence shot through the roof and I found my motivation.
You have to do it for yourself. That’s the secret.
So how do you stick to a resolution?
Well for one, don’t think of it as a temporary solution. You have to decide to make a major change to make progress. You need to learn where to start and make a simple goal to start with. If you’re new to the whole process, I strongly suggest learning about the Paleo diet as a starting point. It is very simple and easy to understand. Avoiding grains and eating real food can completely change the way your body and brain work.
My mindset shift came from eating the right foods and noticing that I had more energy and could think much easier, as well as the weight loss. That alone got me researching more and more ideas behind the role of food and exercise. I have a natural interest in it, but not everyone can be as obsessed as I am.
You just need to find your niche, learn about it and make a conscious decision to stick with it. Try something new and see if it works for you. Here’s my personal suggestions for success. If you still want to make a new years resolution, write it down!
“Half-new years resolution.”
Write down your goals, both “possible” and “impossible” and put them in an envelope. Seal it and store it away until a day in June or July. Once that day arrives, look and see how you’re doing and what has changed. Consider it a “half-new years resolution.”
From your “possible goals” group, pick one that you know you can do and break it down into smaller chunks. Something as simple as:
- Walk 30 minutes at least 2 times a week
- Throw away junk food, buy more real food
- Find a simple body weight exercise to try once a week
- Find a friend who will help keep you on track and vice versa.
- Read Angry Nutrition once a week (learning by osmosis!)
Then stick to one thing for that month. Habits are not easy but they can last a lifetime. It takes roughly 30 days of practice to really get good at something. According to “Making Habits, Breaking Habits“, it takes on average 66 days to successfully change an old habit. Start small and work up from there. Monitor your progress in writing and keep yourself accountable.
Do it for yourself, no one else.
I urge you to leave a message on the Angry Nutrition Facebook page. I’ll make a list of people and resolutions. About half a year from that date, I’ll check if you’re on track. Otherwise just use my envelope idea if you want to keep it to yourself.
Good luck, we’re all in this together!
Pic credits: http://www.chongas.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/flanders.gif Reddit.com http://postgradproblems.com/thinking-you-may-never-find-that-special-someone-for-300-you-can-marry-yourself/ Pictures by Carbone Photography