(NOTE: TODAY’S POST IS A CONTINUATION OF YESTERDAY’S. TO START AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS ESSAY, SCROLL DOWN TO PART 1 AND MOVE UP FROM THERE.)
5. Making New Years Resolutions leads us to believe that substantial changes can be maintained in a vacuum, without any other added supports or structures to keep those changes in place.
I see this problem in action at my local gym, year after year after year. Most of the time—especially in November and December—my gym is a quiet, pleasant place to be. There’s always room to work out, grab a shower, swim in the pool, etc. But then, come January, everything changes: The place suddenly gets so packed with people that I can barely lift a 5-pound weight without banging someone in the head. It’s hardly worth going, especially when I find myself waiting in line for everything from the pool to the treadmills to the showers. Even the big parking lot is often at capacity! What’s going on here?
Why, that’s just a bunch of New Years Resolutions in Action, of course, a veritable army of the well-intentioned come to work off excess pounds, firm abs, strengthen cardiovascular systems, etc. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course; we all have to start somewhere. The problem is that fully half of these people who show up in January will have stopped coming by February; the rest will make it to somewhere around early March and then drop out as well.
You see, sheer force of will can only carry you so far, especially if you’re trying to create healthy new habits.
So what’s an exerciser to do if he or she really does want to stick with those workouts year round? Give yourself some great big safeguards, such as a workout buddy, a personal trainer, and an accountability partner. (Again, I refer you to Henry Cloud’s fabulous lecture on “Changing What Never Seems to Change,” which deals with the subject in depth.)
Most of all, don’t tie in your new fitness program with some lofty set of New Year’s Resolutions! Everybody knows that resolutions fade and intentions wither. We all get busy. Life takes over. No biggie, right?
Wrong! If you want to make a big change and stick with it, don’t count on the momentum of the New Year to make it happen. Instead, follow the proven steps of lasting change, something most resolutions tend to ignore.
BE SURE TO COME BACK TOMORROW FOR THE NEXT PORTION OF THIS ESSAY.