Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why Healthy Resolutions Fail

As a student of human nature, I have considered one of the facts of life that many people never think about, or just brush off as a given. Why do resolutions to get healthy or lose weight fail so often? Jokingly I would tell you it is because people have other resolutions they need to work on before they take the plunge to get healthy. Some are really simple, and others are quite difficult, and you’d be surprised which are which.

Attitude – Some people actually lack the social skills to get healthy, believe it or not. You’ve decided that you want to go to the gym, but a list of excuses interferes with that from, “I don’t like the people there,” to “I’m too embarrassed to be there,” to even “I don’t want to fight for a treadmill or a weight machine.” Let me be the first to point out that most people at the gym are just like you, or they remember what it is like to have been you. As a social experiment you will find most of the people that go to the gym everyday think of it as their second home and they want to be friendly to anyone else who happens to be there. When I learned to smile, everyone else seemed to smile back at me.

Honesty – Most people make it a habit to lie to their doctors, and in the case of losing weight you have to consider yourself as the doctor. Whenever I have been in the mood to lose weight, I spend the first week or so lying about the calories I eat, or burn and the only person who gets harmed is me. Once I start tracking my calories in and out properly, then the results start flowing in. You would think this is obvious but it is a big hurdle for most to overcome. If you have a failing (like eating an entire pizza) just track the calories, admit that you messed up that day and move on. Don’t make it worse because you had a problem by lying to yourself about it.

Time – Most people use this as the end of their personal journey. I don’t have time to track calories or make time to exercise so I am just not going to do it. If you don’t overcome this hurdle then you are probably lost. Set time for your workouts, with no excuses. Add it as an important and enriching part of your day. Again getting back to the attitude part, you can quickly find a time and get used to the people that will be at the gym when you are. I personally look forward to see (I know, a scary thought but) my friends everyday at the gym. I miss them when they don’t show up, and I make new ones whenever new people start using the gym at the same time I do.

Accomplishment – I know every personal milestone I have reached throughout the years of working out. I remember the first time I could do more than one chin up or bar dip, or could do a full 30 minutes on the treadmill. I remember my first full week of working out every bit as much as my fist whole month and first whole year. I was very proud of myself for each and every one. I had people who took the time to be proud with me for a lot of them. I assure you that if you tell me about any of these milestones I will be every bit as excited for you as I think you should be for yourself. I’ve been there.

Satisfaction – I joke often (but actually mean it) that it’s not the hour or two that you spend at the gym it is the twenty two to twenty three hours of self righteous bliss because you got that out of the way. In the beginning I was just elated that I don’t have to do that again until tomorrow, and sooner or later that turned into the feeling that I totally kicked butt. In time I started planning how great the next workout would be and making sure it was. There’s nothing wrong with that, because you did the work and you deserve to feel good about it.

Patience – Yes this is the last on this list, but probably the most important. How many people have I seen not get the results they want after a week and say “screw it.” This is a plan that takes a bit unfortunately. You need to look at everything in a six week cycle. I’m pretty good at this diet thing and when I set my mind to take 10lbs off it takes me six weeks and my weight cycles look like the topographical map of the Rocky Mountains. That’s why I included the picture along with this my friends. You can see exactly what it looks like when I diet, and after a couple of weeks I laugh at it. Oops gained two pounds today, must be constipated. Look I lost 2 pounds today must be dehydrated. Stick to the plan, don’t lose focus and I guarantee you that you will get there.

Once you have been able to acquire these skills you can do absolutely anything you set your mind out to do. Remember first and foremost, that everyone started out at one time. As you make friends at the gym the trials and tribulations of getting “healthy” before you actually start getting “fit” become some of the greatest bonding experiences. My group of friends I have made over the years at the gym can get laughing about things that would make some newcomers cringe, but it’s important to remind people that gratitude for righting your ship will always result in a good belly laugh now and then.