Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year's Resolutions, and Why I Don't Do Them

Every new year brings with it wonderful things, including having life calm down after the whirlwind of holiday gatherings. However, the new year brings something I cannot stand- the idea that somehow this arbitrary calendar date should signal a time for total life upheaval. Blogs and news sites are talking about how you should be making resolutions, and so many of them seem focused on crazy ideas!

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for making positive life changes. But I also understand how the human mind works. Huge goals seem overwhelming, and huge tasks can sometimes seem impossible. The road is too long, and the positive feedback of reaching that goal is so far removed that it may as well not exist!

This sets us up for failure before we even start. For example, let's look at my weight loss. (Ok, I'm excited and I want to talk about my weight loss. Humor me here, please?) Had I started out saying, "All right self, we're gonna lose 90 pounds! Let's cut out all yummy foods and get on that restrictive diet so we can get there! Go go go!"

I promise you, 3 days later I'd be go-go-going to the ice cream store, or baking up a big pan of brownies to console myself. It's just too large an obstacle to overcome. I can't see myself doing it, and as a result, it's unlikely to happen.

Instead? Soon to be 3 years ago (I think? Maybe? I'm bad with time) I was at an event and someone took photos of me. Those photos were posted on Facebook, and when I saw them I was absolutely horrified. Not only was I fat, I looked unhealthy. I realized I didn't want to be that anymore. But instead of thinking big and heading for failure, I started small.

As I'd been basically maintaining my weight for a couple of years, I came up with a plan. I was going to eat slightly less with each meal, I would drink more water, and I would try to be more active when I was able.

Fibromyalgia means some days I'm just in too much pain to walk a whole lot, much less anything else. On those days, I didn't hate myself because I couldn't do something. Instead, I was happy for honestly trying, and called it a day. If we went to eat at Taco Bell (a family favorite), I would leave a bite or two of my burrito uneaten. Most of all, I bought a water bottle that has a built-in filter. I'm a bit of a princess, and tap water in southern Louisiana is yucky. I now take that bottle with me everywhere, so that I can drink tap water instead of going thirsty or reaching for a soda.

I didn't set a goal weight. I didn't even think about how much I wanted to lose. I just wanted to try and be healthier a day at a time. I thought about whether the calories of whatever treat I was wanting was worth the calories I'd be ingesting, and frankly? Sometimes it is. Sometimes I want a milkshake enough to deal with the calories. Most days, I don't.

I haven't reached an end because this isn't a diet. I'm not eagerly waiting to go back to any particular way of eating. Instead, I've made a bunch of tiny changes one step at a time. But 2+ years later? I lost that 90 pounds, I've gone from a size 24 to an 18 (which is now baggy on me! :D) and I'm able to do more than I have in years.

It's not about the giant leaps. Start with baby steps. If you mess up, it's ok... you didn't mess up anything too badly to fix, and tomorrow is always another day. Forget the new year's resolutions and maybe go for the new day's resolutions instead. :D

Every day is a new start.
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