You Say You Want a Resolution?
Whose big idea was it to have to fix up our lives, mend our naughty ways and start behaving more responsibly on Jan. 1?
Wouldn’t it make more sense to just taper down gradually after the holiday debauchery, say, by finishing up the eggnog and not buying any more, instead of going totally cold turkey – cold turkey being the food of choice on most diets.
After all, it won’t be swimsuit weather for another six months, so what’s the rush?
And who invented New Year’s resolutions anyhow?
Most sources pin the blame on the Babylonians, which only makes sense. You can’t go wrong blaming people who aren’t around to complain about discrimination. Besides, Babylonian leaders like King Nebuchadnezzar and his more recent acolytes, such as the late Saddam Hussein and his cousin Chemical Ali in modern-day Iraq were experts at crimes against humanity.
And what are dieting, exercising and depriving oneself of such comforts as cigarettes, Scotch and Cinnabons during January in Canada if not crimes against our humanity?
It’s no wonder that 88 per cent of New Year’s resolutions fail, according to a widely reported 2007 study of 3,000 people by British psychologist Richard Wiseman, professor at the University of Bristol.
But we’re not here to talk about failure. Nor are we going to suggest that taking a bubble bath is an adequate trade-off for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s best (that would be Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough).
A bubble bath, however, may not be such a bad idea before succumbing to the lure of what you cleverly hid at the back of the freezer behind the year-old ground chicken you were supposed to eat in January 2016.
Experts suggest that finding a way to distract yourself from what you really want but have resolved to do without is a step in the right direction – that is, away from the freezer. So bubble away or blog or tweet or meditate or order something nice online.
Make it small, specific and incremental
“Losing weight” is too vague. Try instead to lose one pound every week and figure out ahead of time how you’re going to do that, whether it’s cutting back on gingerbread lattes or measuring portions of pasta, meat and potatoes. This is especially important for men. Wiseman suggests goals for men especially should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based.
Try to avoid resolutions you’ve made before
If you joined a gym last January and stopped going by March, it’s unlikely that you’ll keep a resolution to work out three times a week this year. If your goal on New Year’s Day 2016 was to find a new job and all you did was check job postings for a few months, resolve this year to polish your CV, rev up your job-related social media contacts and compose killer accompanying letters. Politicians are very good at this. Michael Ignatieff resolved to be prime minister in 2011 and never made that resolution again.
Do not give up altogether if you break the resolution occasionally
Women, especially, tend to figure it’s all over if they make a misstep (or misbite). Binge-ing on Snickers bars one day doesn’t mean you can’t stick to your resolution again the next day. You are not a bad person if you do bad things. Even Miley Cyrus is not a bad person when she does bad things. Justin Bieber, however, just may be a bad person on occasion.