Why We Resolve To Fail
– by David Matthews 2
So how many of you made the mistake of making a resolution to start off 2014?
I didn’t… but I had a really good reason why, which I’ll get to later on.
But for a lot of you, you went ahead and made resolutions to somehow be better in 2014 than you were in 2013.
Now this is something that goes all the way back to ancient Babylonia, when people would make their promises to return borrowed objects and pay off their debts. Romans would later use it to make promises to the god Janus (where we get the month of January). Today we do it just because we’re told that it’s “traditional”.
And yet it is a tradition that will most likely fail for the vast majority of you.
But don’t worry. It’s not entirely your fault.
Let’s take one of the top resolutions for all time that people make… to lose weight.
Granted, some people haggle over this one and say that they really resolved to “eat better” or to “exercise more” or to “get in better shape”, but really it all falls into the category of losing weight.
It seems like it’s a good idea, right? Hell, fitness centers are ready, willing, and overly eager to take your money to “help” you.
And yet it is a resolution that is pretty much destined to fail even before you start it.
First, let’s start with the fact that you’re dealing with a date on a man-made calendar that really has no influence over the rest of the world we live in. Think about that! January 1st really has no bearing on the world than it did when the Aztec calendar ran out on December 21st, 2012. The world didn’t come to an end then, and either does the world magically transform just because our calendar started a new year. The only importance that the New Year has is one that we give ourselves. To the rest of the universe, it’s just another planetary rotation in another star system in another galaxy.
Second, take a look at that man-made calendar for a minute… I don’t know where you live, but for those in much of the Northern Hemisphere, you’re making a resolution to lose weight in the middle of winter! This is a time where the human body actually needs to gain weight to cushion itself from the cold! So your own body is working against you here!
Winter is not the time to resolve to lose weight. You have a better chance at success if that kind of resolution is made in the springtime, when the weather is warmer and you have a greater incentive to get in shape so you can look good in that swimsuit.
Third… let’s get back to that man-made calendar one more time. What’s coming up soon? Why it’s Super-Bowl Weekend! Time for people to gorge themselves out on hot wings and potato salad and beer and hamburgers and pizzas and all other sorts of really fattening foods.
And then look ahead a few more weeks after that… why, it’s Valentine’s Day! Chocolate, candy, expensive dinners with fatty foods.
And then a month later… it’s Saint Patrick’s Day! Sure it’s an Irish celebration, but you don’t have to be Irish to enjoy some rich Irish food… not to mention all of that beer!
Those are a lot of special occasions involving food.
So let’s recap here… if you’re making a resolution on New Year’s Eve to lose weight for 2014, you’re trying to impose a condition to yourself on a man-made calendar that goes against mother nature, human nature, and a series of special events determined to break that resolution.
No wonder why this resolution fails for a lot of people!
Let’s get brutally honest here… while it’s noble that you would want to improve yourself, be it to lose weight or to get in better control of your life in other areas, it helps if you have a better incentive to do it other than because “it’s traditional”. It certainly doesn’t help when you make this kind of resolution at a time when everything is working against it.
As for myself, there has been only one resolution that I have managed to successfully adhere to so far. It was also the last resolution I ever made several years ago… which was to make no more New Year’s resolutions. And you know what? I’m better because of it, because I’m not beating myself up over them.