Let’s talk about New Year’s Resolutions.
It might seem a little late to be discussing this, being the fifth day of January already, but most people I know never technically start their New Year’s Resolutions until the Monday that everyone is back to work and school.
Almost everyone makes a resolution to some degree. Even those who claim they don’t make resolutions are more than likely at least thinking something along the lines of “I sure would like to improve x this year” or “I hope I can keep up with new hobby y.”
Did you know there is actually a US government web site that tracks the top resolutions and provides helpful links to find more information about how to achieve them?
What do you think is the most popular New Year’s Resolution? Lose weight. Are you shocked?
Here’s the whole list:
- Lose Weight
- Volunteer to Help Others
- Quit Smoking
- Get a Better Education
- Get a Better Job
- Save Money
- Get Fit
- Eat Healthy Food
- Manage Stress
- Manage Debt
- Take a Trip
- Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
- Drink Less Alcohol
Based on this list, nearly 50% of New Year’s Resolutions center around improving one’s physical self, if you include Manage Stress in that category. It really wasn’t hard to guess. People with the “improve my body” resolutions are the fastest out of the gate and usually the most vocal about what their plans are. Promptly, on January 2nd (because who can diet on New Year’s Day with all the bowl games and leftover snacks from the night before?!?), the body-improvers slash the junk from their diet, invade the gyms and fitness classes in droves, ornament themselves with a wide variety of fitness gear and paraphernalia, and set up complicated tracking logs and charts so they can track every calorie, carb, fat gram, step walked, mile run, kilogram bench-pressed, muscle gained, fat lost, and scale victory. They…track…everything. I know – I am one of those people.
My New Year’s Resolution? To lose weight by strict dieting, frequent exercising, and tracking everything!
The first weigh-in always kick-starts my motivation. 9 days of binge-eating and drinking (because I started on Christmas Eve) has taken its toll. The scale is laughing at me, pointing at that 5 pound gain and mocking me for my lack of willpower. I hang my head in shame, dress in whatever clothes I still have that won’t cut off my blood circulation, and I head out to start the day. I am back to reality now, back to work, back to the morning school drop-off routine, back to focusing on my health!
I get to work and hit my first roadblock: snacks.
Hilariously, everyone in the office seems to be trying to stick to their New Year’s Resolution Diet by bringing in all the junk food from home and sabotaging everyone else’s New Year’s Resolution Diet. This is very clever and very evil. I hunch low in my cube, trying to focus on work and ignore the pie, cookies, and homemade biscotti that are being circulated. I sip my plain black coffee and try not to imagine how tasty that chocolate chip cookie would be with my morning brew. I drink my plain sparkling mineral water, take my vitamins, and pretend that none of that food exists.
Lunchtime rolls around. I crave sushi, garlic bread, lamb chops…all the foods I have shamelessly enjoyed for almost two weeks. I spread a teaspoon of unsalted butter on my whole-grain-packed-with-protein-and-fiber bread, and imagine my sandwich is really a burger and fries. I do not succeed.
By 1:30 I am on ounce 40 of water, but my stomach is shrieking that it is not satisfied. Whoever claims that drinking water fills you up and kills hunger probably has something like amphetamines in theirs. Because seriously? Water? Does Not Satisfy!
I am grumpy and hungry and feeling anxious about all the pressure I have put on myself. All those red (current values) and green (goals) cells in my spreadsheet are suddenly no longer encouraging, but instead they are just exhausting to think about. A long vista of days spent sipping plain water and obsessing over food stretches before me. I want to throw something.
At 1:45 I make a decision. Obsessively tracking every diet and fitness stat imaginable and scheduling hours of fitness classes and gym time do not help with the Manage Stress subcategory of my New Year’s Resolution. So, just like that, I decide not to and I abruptly alter my game plan.
I WILL log what I eat and drink on a daily basis to ensure that I am within my calorie goals. I WILL NOT obsess over making sure I measured out exactly 1 teaspoon of mustard or 137 grams of uncooked chicken (without skin!).
I WILL do 30 minutes of physical exercise at least 3-4 days per week. I WILL NOT beat myself up if I miss a day here and there, nor will I worry about my exact calories in/calories out ratio.
I WILL be conscious of moving more, using stairs instead of elevators, and getting a good night’s sleep. I WILL NOT try to find room in my budget for a FitBit Surge Fitness Superwatch from Amazon.com, despite how incredibly awesome that thing looks, despite the fact that it is hanging out in my Wish List and in my Cart. For a stat-tracking maniac like me, that FitBit would propel my obsessive charting to a whole other level. Track my heart rate, calories burned, even floors climbed? Monitor my sleep and report back to me on how it went? Follow my little dot around on a GPS map so I can always see exactly where I have been and how fast I got there? Oh my…like a kid in a candy store.
Where was I? Oh yeah, I was working on Managing my Stress.
I delete my formerly exciting 2015 Fitness and Food Tracking spreadsheet.
My new plan is to eat right, work out as much as I can, and get plenty of sleep. That’s it…nothing more complicated than that. I lost around 12 pounds in the three months leading up to Christmas without obsessing, so I know that sticking with my pre-holiday plan will keep the weight loss coming off. This is sustainable, for me.
And now I am going to eat my tiny little Clementine orange and not worry about how many grams of carbs are in it.
Spoiler: there are 9.
There is also a seed.