"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."-Mike Tyson
I don't know if anyone else notices, but this time of year the number of Weight Watchers, Gold's Gym, and Match.com commercials increase what feels like a million fold. On the surface they're saying "now's a time to get a great deal on my product or service" but what we interpret is "if you want to be happy or have value in the coming year, you need to sign up for this product."
Listen, I'm all for changing your life. I'm all for getting together with community to make these changes. I'm all for measuring, tracking, and bragging about changing your life. And if you decide that you're ready to make those changes starting January 1st, I'm for it.
But here is my beef with New Years Resolutions: It's a great time for us to get help with the What, When, and How, rarely do we have a handle on the WHY.
The WHY, in my opinion, is the most important focus when changing your life. Right around January 1st, our WHY tends to be because everyone else is doing it. Or the gym is having a sale. Or we really want to look good on the beach in 6 months. None of these reasons are in any way bad- but they lack providing real drive when we're standing in front of a carton of Moose Tracks after a really really hard day.
Before you jump on the Resolution bandwagon, take a few minutes to think through WHY you want to spend the time, money, and effort on getting healthy:
"...because I want to be able to get on the floor and wrestle with my kids next year and my grandkids in 20 years."
"...because my family history of diabetes has finally caught up to me."
"...because my father just had a heart attack and despite the fact that we have a lot of the same habits, I'd still like to be able to walk my daughter down the aisle."
"...I'm tired of taking medication that is making me more sick than it is healing me."
"...I want my daughter to grow up to be a strong woman because she lives with a strong woman as a role model."
Whatever your motivation- it needs to be genuine. You have to harness your desire to be better tomorrow than you are today. "Because I need to" or "Because everyone else is" won't work when you're wrecked and the only people that can you feel better are Ben and Jerry.
So let me put this into terms of my life- I have around 3-4% of body fat that I seem to shed, then find again. On the surface, I want to get rid of it because my jeans will fit better and I'll have a flatter tummy. But when I break it down, I know I'm carrying that extra fat because I tend to run low on sleep and high on stress. This produces cortisol, the cortisol manifests as abdominal fat, and voila, my jeans don't fit right. So while I want to drop body fat and look good in my jeans, what I will really be focusing on is reducing stress and getting enough sleep.
Translated, my New Year's Resolution for 2014 is going to be to actively work on stress management and make sleep a priority, which will translate into a higher quality of life and a lower body fat percentage.
So in light of all that, I need to ask- what is your resolution for 2014 and more importantly, WHY is it your resolution?
Cheers and Happy New Year!