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Why Can't We Keep Resolutions in the New Year?

Updated: Jan 9



We're a week into 2022, and I wonder how your resolution is going. There are so many things we'd like to do better. Maybe you'd like to quit smoking, to lose that holiday weight, to try and manage your type 2 diabetes, quit drinking, or be a better you in 2022. That has a nice ring to it. Well, it's my greatest hope that you're in the 8% of folks that will stick to their resolutions for more than the average 36 days!


Today we're going to look a several reasons folks seem to give up on their resolutions before they can get them started. Since this is The Fit Pauper, we'll focus on health-related resolutions, but the same points can be applied to many other goals. So let's take a look!

 

You Can't Supplement Your Way to Better Health.


I'm going to level with you; this is the one that burns my biscuits. Whether it's with people that I'm training, family members, or just folks I hear talking about working out so they can eat however they want. You can't supplement exercise to make up for your poor diet.

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She's absolutely right. The hard fact of life is that that fitness tracker you're wearing told you that you could afford a quick trip to grab a large waffle fry. However, the truth is on most occasions; your fitness tracker is overestimating the number of calories you burned during your workout. On top of that, we like to tell little white lies to our nutritional tracking apps. This leads to us thinking we're doing better than we actually are.


Your turnaround starts in the kitchen and understanding what to do there. Check out some of the other articles on this site to learn more about what you can do! Once you have a solid plan of action for your stomach, then you can focus on that plan for washboard abs or Madonna's arms!

 

You're All Hat and No Cowboy.


That is one of my dad's favorite sayings. If you're not familiar with it, let me explain. You have these rhinestone cowboys that wear their spotless jeans, shiny belt buckles, boots with nary a scuff, and only the best brands of hats on the market. Pretty as a picture. However, throw most of them up on a horse, and whew, buddy. Get ready for a laugh. They were all hat and no cowboy.


We can do the same thing when we devote ourselves to our resolution. We buy all the books, read all the articles, watch all the motivational videos, study for hours on end, download healthy recipes that we might not hate, and then we're good to go! However, we fail in the going part. The meal preps sit in the fridge and grow a fur coat for the winter, the motivational videos get us fired up until it's time to grind, and we spend the rest of our time reading about what we should do rather than actually doing it!

 

You're All Cowboy and No Hat!


This can also be a huge problem. This is one that I have made in the past and have repeated every so often, believing that I knew better each time. I went to the gym without really knowing what I was working on before I got there. My lack of preparation led to a weak and ineffective workout.


The same goes for our resolutions. If we fail to plan beforehand, we're setting ourselves up for failure. We need to know how to cook well-balanced meals that will support our efforts, know which exercises to do that line up with our goals, and understand how we can fit them all together to complete the puzzle of our best health.

 

It Straight Up Sucks.


Have you ever wondered why we're not all running around in the best health of our lives? That's because it's freaking hard! It's no wonder that people yo-yo on their health journey. The entire process can be stressful, confusing, and just a plain old one-star review.


Eating healthy is often expensive, doesn't give us our dopamine fix that a double cheeseburger seems to, and has been muddled by years of fad diets and get skinny quick schemes. Exercise is sweaty, time-consuming; it makes you sore and tired and can also be expensive. However, that's where this site comes in. In the coming months, and articles already published, I will go over ways that even those of sparse means can be healthy! It can be done, and it doesn't have to suck!


Do you hate to exercise but like to hang with friends? Get a couple of like-minded friends to hit the weights, the track, or your local spin class. You can sweat, laugh, and suffer together while keeping each other accountable. Then, give yourself a free day. Not a cheat day, mind you. Just a day where you read and relax, or go for a leisurely walk with your main furry friend. Schedules don't have to be rigid, and habits can be created even with a varied routine.

 

Don't Be a Sweaty Try-Hard!


Sweating is good. Being a sweaty try-hard is bad.


Urban Dictionary defines a Sweaty Try-Hard: Someone who tries so hard to be ________, automatically making them not automatically not ___________.


Suppose you automatically go into this process with the mindset that you're going to deprive your body of all of its favorite junk. In that case, you're setting yourself up for some epic cravings of munchies proportion. It's important not to deprive your body of things that release the dopamine you so badly desire. So instead, come at it from the mindest of instead of eating these chips and french onion dip, I'm going to eat this crunchy carrot with garlic roasted hummus. You get the crunch, you get the salt, and you get the smelly breath you crave. Ok, maybe not the breath part, but you get it. Carbonated water instead of soda. It's the fizz for me. There are tons of options to switch out.


Same goes with exercise. You'll find out quickly that if you go too hard in the gym too fast, your body will not heed your call for much longer. Trust me on this one. It only took me a couple of times of going too hard and not being able to feed myself the next day to realize that maybe I should pace myself. Seriously, I'm talking couldn't bend my arm enough to get a fork to my mouth. So take your time, and wade into the action.

 

Failing the Resolution is Worse Than Never Starting!


Ok, this is the one that actually scares me the most. If you're like me and have failed at resolutions in the past, then you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. As stated at the beginning of this article, we all have different resolutions for our lives.


However, as time creeps by, our resolve and willpower creep away. Then we find ourselves falling back into old patterns with weakened tolerance and binging of whatever we gave up. For example, people who pick smoking back up actually smoke MORE when they fall off the wagon. The same goes for many other resolutions.


The solution to this leads us to the next point on our list.

 

You Don't Have a Support System.


Unless you have a strong sense of why you're doing what you're doing, it's hard to stay motivated when you feel alone and unseen. Let me tell you a secret: you're not alone. There are support apps, workout groups everywhere, and this is literally one of the only good things I can say about social media. Put a post out there asking for an accountability partner, and I promise you'll be having to turn people away.


Luckily for me, I have a great group of coworkers that would rather curb stomp me than let me miss a workout. Maybe you have someone in your workplace, church, social club, or friend group that shares your same goals. It's as easy as asking to get this critical asset for your success.

 

Declaring a Resolution Takes a Second. Forming Habits Takes Weeks.


If you're like me, you've heard the statistic that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Also, if you're like me, you accept that as a fact. Well, we're both wrong. In a book called "Psycho-Cybernetics," a book published in 1960 by one Dr. Maxwell Maltz, he postulated that it took a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to gel as observed in him and his patients.


While 30 million copies of Dr. Maltz's book have cemented this fact in the public hive mind, tons of studies have been done on forming and breaking habits since the 60s. The truth is that a habit can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to develop, with the average forming somewhere around 66 days. This is a far cry from a solid 21 days.


There is no right or wrong timeline for your goal; the best one to stick to is the one that works for you.

 

You're Procrastinating, Not Planning.

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Why exactly was it you waited until the new year to start anyhow? Oh, yes. I'm sure the holidays are a tough time to start. However, did you wait until Monday to start your resolution instead of the 1st? Why?


Be careful not to put off to tomorrow what you should be starting now. A year from now, you will regret nothing save the fact you didn't start sooner.

 

You Have a What, But Not a Why.


Coming up with your what is as easy as looking in the mirror and not recognizing the pudgy mess that's looking back at you. At least, that's how easy it was for me! I was diagnosed with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and was just an all-around poor example of health to my young daughter.


That's when I decided I really should stop should-ing myself! That's when I went through the process of finding my why. So click on that link to find out how I did it. Knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, why you're doing something makes it ten times more likely that you'll see it through.

 

You Ever Try to Sprint a Marathon?


When I was a kid, I first heard the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. I would have bet my hard-earned Weepuls on that hare.

(Just in case you didn't know what in the world a Weepul was. These were the cryptocurrency of my childhood playground earned by ridiculous fundraisers.)


Anyhow, fast progress is way more sexy than slow and steady winning the race. Even a stupid kid like me knew that. When that tortoise came back and whipped my man... it was the first in a long line of plot twists that shook my foundations (looking at you, Agatha Christie). However, I learned from that old children's tale that slow and steady is much more effective than the all and now model.


Think about it, if you have a ton of bad habits right now, the worst thing you could do is to try and remake yourself in a month. Crash diets, miracle pills, weird roots that someone has powdered into a tea, or "Nutrition" teas that aren't really making you any skinnier.


How about you add one positive habit per week/month this year? Maybe this week, you try and drink more water and then move on to trying to incorporate more leafy greens into your diet the following week. Soon you'll be measuring out your protein intake for optimum gains while wondering why it took you so long to give up bad habits because of how wonderful you feel!

 

In conclusion, resolutions suck, and I don't take any stock in them. Sorry if you made one, but it's been many years since I've ventured to make a resolution for myself. They are short of scope, restrictive in nature, and very seldom do they lead to lasting change.


What you need are life goals. Where do you want to be in a year, five years, or ten years? What are the most significant obstacles in your life right now? How can you overcome them, and what is your why in wanting to do so? When you start thinking like this, there is very little need for resolutions because now we're talking about a whole new lifestyle for the same old you.


So, instead of new year, new me, why don't we say, "Same me, but you'll see."

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