Every year, I watch as people make lofty resolutions. I listen to their optimistic stories about how they plan to change, be it through losing weight, quitting smoking, or changing something about themselves. Using myself as an example in these precarious times, let me say one thing: if you do not intend to whole-heartedly make the change, you never will. What I am essentially say is there is no point to making New Year’s resolutions for 99% of the population. You are usually setting yourself up for failure.
Case in point: last year, at the advent of 2007, I promised I would lose 20 pounds. Guess what? I lost 15 and then saw it come back – I may have even gained an extra five. But, I did become more conscious about what I ate and I made serious effort to portion control. After finally taking an entire year to learn to control mostof my food-consuming compulsions, I think I am ready to commit to a physical routine. I will be honest, I am leary about the prospect of running. I somewhat dread the idea of clomping around on a treadmill or elliptical machine, or gasp, walking around the university in a full-coverage speedo. But, when I was committed to fitness from September to December last year (I fell off that wagon around final exams), I felt better, noticed changes, and actually wanted to go. It was the first time since 8th grade track practices that I wanted to work out.
The point is that most people get attached to the instant fix, get disappointed when the instant gratification never comes, and then quits. For me, it was the same process for a long time. But to make life-altering changes, it usually takes the prospect of death, or six months to one year of concerted effort to want to change. Death alludes me still, thankfully, so it has been through my own effort to control my wants and needs in a more visible manner to myself (i.e. not gorging in times of need or stress) – albeit a very long, hard effort – I have actually stepped closer to a goal I want to fulfill. I take a lot of pride in being able to better control the pangs of hunger and urges to overindulge – it has been a long, hard road that has no end in sight. The battle with my id will remain when it comes to chocolat, but at least I kept my promise to myself. I have no intention to make any resolutions this year – I will do what I want when I am ready. That is the best I can offer myself without intentionally fooling myself.