I’ve decided to skip the resolution stage of 2017. It seems to me that this bizarre ritual where we set out unrealistic goals that we inevitably fail to achieve is counterproductive. Instead, I’m just going to keep living my life to its fullest. Yes, I’ll be tweaking my eating habits a bit, refining my exercise routine and doing my best to develop my education and career, but that’s something I need to resolve to do every day, not just one week a year. I’m in a transitional phase of my life – I don’t have a job right now, instead I’m working on prerequisite courses and applying to MS in Nutrition Grad School programs. My goals aren’t simply a year away – it will be 2-3 years before I can graduate school and restart my career, so the annual resolution format just isn’t working for me.
I realized I can take this one step further and assert that it isn’t working for the majority of people either. It’s the attitude that you can make big, grand goals and achieve them magically in one year that ultimately defeats us. It’s the idea that if you follow the newest trend diet, join a fancy gym, start doing crossfit or find the perfect fitness gear, you’ll suddenly transform into the fit, perfect version of yourself you want to be, that sets us up for failure.
Instead, I propose that we just live each day the best we can – make better food choices each day, make exercise an everyday part of our lives (finding a routine that works for us and brings us joy). This can mean deciding to go to the farmers market regularly or joining a CSA or cooking with your family more often. It can mean taking that hip hop class you’ve been meaning to try or rock climbing for the first time or picking up a running habit, but that’s just it – it’s the forming of habits that’s important here.
The truth about health and fitness is that there is no magic bullet to get you to a fabulous new you before the end of the year, and anyone who tells you there is, is lying. Extreme diets and exercise routines may help you lose weight temporarily, but only true lifestyle changes can help you live a longer, healthier, leaner life. We now know that overweight and obesity is caused by many factors like your diet, your physical activity, your genetics and your microbiome – and these cannot be permanently changed by an extreme diet or exercise routine that is impossible to maintain. So perhaps, this year, we can all resolve to be in it for the long haul – to live healthier, longer, happier lives through everyday changes.