I can remember being at a New Year's Eve party when I was in high school. I had my New Year's resolution all ready to go when the last gong struck at midnight. It was the one I always made: I was going to lose weight. Diet, strictly, until I finally looked good. No goofing off: this was my year to do it. But, I still had time before the ball on Times Square fell. Until then, I stuffed my face with Lays chips and sour cream and onion dip. I mean, after midnight, that stuff would be no more. I ate crackers, cheese-- all sorts of nibblies that would soon be forbidden. Then, it happened. The last gong sounded. The diet was on! But the party was still going on, and I was so tired, and other people were still eating. I did it. I ate another chip. It was all over. I destroyed my entire resolution for that whole year. That fresh, new opportunity was gone. I was a failure once again. So, what the heck? I kept on eating...until next year...
Every year I tried to set a New Year's resolution: I resolved to lose weight. I always failed. In retrospect, I know I was trying to lose weight because it was the time I was supposed to do it: everyone made New Year's resolutions. I think I may have been resolving to lose weight for the calendar, in a way, but certainly not starting then because I was ready to do it for me.
As you face the new year tomorrow, think before you make a resolution to make those big, dramatic health change promises to yourself. If you can make the resolution with the understanding that becoming healthier is a goal that requires traveling a path with lots of bumps along the way, and you know in your heart that this is goal is for you, not for the calendar, that's great! Set up your resolution and reach for it! Accept slips as you learn your new healthier habits.
But, if you know that your idea of a resolution is an all-or-nothing/do or die approach, or you know you are doing it solely because of the calendar, don't even go there. You are setting yourself up for failure. Love yourself enough to know what your real intentions are. To succeed in reaching any health goal, you have to be willing to endure ups and downs in changing your behavior: learning to forgive yourself is a critical part of this process. You aren't ready yet for a big sweeping goal. Just start, one day at at time, making small changes in your behaviors that will result in changing your long term health habits. One small step at a time. Keep on kicking, don't every give up! (See the Frog blog post :) I, unfortunately, took many, many years to learn this key to my own healthy success.
To Your Health in the New Year and Always!