The Problem with New Year’s Resolutions
It’s the New Year and I’ve had a lot of conversations about New Year’s resolutions.
I’ve never quite understood the concept. To me, it just seems like a fancy procrastination method to put off the inevitable. The inevitable being that I don’t want to do that thing, and it sounds much better to say, “You know what, I am so on the grind right now that whenever the first of the whatever comes (which is in the future, so I don’t have to do it now), but whenever that day comes, ooh, I’m gonna get it!”
The problem is that whenever that day comes, they have to face the fact that they put that time off or date off so far because they didn’t want to do it before.
They sure as hell don’t want to do it now, and that’s why most New Year’s resolutions fail.
They don’t want to do it anymore on the first, and they want to do it on December 1st or any time during the last year.
The Importance of Scheduling and Structure (For Some)
My wife, though, she’s really good at scheduling something like that. She can look in the future and see a date and go, “You know what, when that date comes, I’m gonna do this particular process – the couch to 5K or 10K or this particular fitness challenge.”
She’s really good at that, and she can execute it. For her, it’s not a procrastination method because she’s so logistically and schedule-minded. She loves structure, so for her, that is a great way to say, “You know what, that time is coming, and here’s whenever it’s going to start.”
I don’t have that skill set.
I have the skill set of saying, “I’ll just do that at a later time whenever it gets more convenient.”
But the older you get, you realize that convenience is not your friend, and waiting to get healthier or get fitter based on a convenience factor will never happen.
Overcoming Mental Hurdles to Achieve Health and Fitness Goals
Some of the heaviest lifting that I’ve ever done is overcoming the mental hurdles and realizing that if I’m ever going to make any changes whenever it comes to my health and fitness and ever make any improvements, I’m actually going to have to change some of the mundane and routine stuff in my life.
To make those things happen, I have to do this because if I don’t, it’s never going to find a way to weasel into my daily schedule actually to happen on its own.
I had to force it.
I also had to change my mindset about why I wanted to do these things.
A lot of times, it’s easy to fall into the mentality of, “Oh, I want to do this because I want to look good for other people, or I want to fit into a certain size, or I want to be able to do this particular thing.”
But the more I’ve focused on the actual tangible benefits of it, the more that I’ve been able to make it stick.
I used to say that I wanted to get fit and get muscles because if I ever needed to pick up a boulder or a moving car that crashed on top of somebody, I could lift it.
I was just saying stuff because I thought it sounded right.
I would say it to other people, hoping to gain their respect or admiration for this endeavor that I was about to take. But in reality, all that stuff I was saying actually didn’t mean anything to me. It’s important.
Yeah, I want to live longer, and I suppose that if somebody’s stuck under a car, I’d like to help them get out of that traffic jam. That was a stupid traffic pun, but those things didn’t mean anything to me.
The Power of Self-Motivation and Finding Your True Why
It wasn’t until quite a few years later that I had this epiphany that a lot of the things that I was avoiding doing, not because I didn’t want to do them (well, yeah, I didn’t want to do them), but I never was actually doing them because I couldn’t ever get motivated enough to do them based off of the motivations that I was trying to convince myself of.
What mattered the most wasn’t living forever or being a Superman and lifting an automobile off a person stuck underneath it.
What mattered the most to me ended up being very vain and selfish.
Whenever I started thinking about those things, I found those to be the most motivating. Those are the ones that made my heart race the fastest.
Those were things like, “You know what, I have such a heavy burden on my shoulders from being ignored by girls whenever I was a teenager that I want to look better to the opposite sex.” I was sick of getting ignored and other dudes being picked over me.
That’s one of the heaviest weights a lot of people carry.
One of the heaviest weights many people carry is the burden of feeling overlooked throughout their lives.
This meant wanting to look good and feel like other people noticed for me.
As I got older, this burden only seemed to get heavier, and I felt like I had a better opportunity to achieve my goals of looking good and standing out. These superficial desires may not sound attractive or noble, but they were the things that mattered the most to me and motivated me the most.
I used to try to motivate myself based on external and non-personal factors, but I found that these motivations didn’t resonate with me, and I ended up not putting in any effort. It wasn’t until I leveled with myself and identified my true motivations that I could start making progress.
I realized that in my failures, there was often a gap between my superficial and true motivations.
This is true for health and fitness, relationships, friendships, careers, and whatever.
Whenever and wherever I have fallen short, I can look back and see that I had a misguided motivation or that I wasn’t truly invested in my goal.
This is why it’s so important to level with ourselves and identify what truly matters to us.
Only then can we find the motivation to put in the effort and make progress toward our goals.
Rob is a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Nutrition Coach through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. For the past 10 years, Rob has been navigating the health and fitness landscape in a quest to better himself and those around him focusing on tools such as calorie and macro counting, intermittent fasting, and HIIT training techniques.