Hey there, friend.
Are you still eating oatmeal for breakfast every day and dutifully carrying around your yoga mat for those classes and responsibly holding back that juicy bit of gossip you picked up at the moms’ group last week?
If you are, you’re probably almost totally alone. Eighty percent of people give up their New Year’s resolutions before February even rolls around. The other 20 percent are either lying or resolved to drink MORE Dr Pepper or allow their kids unlimited screen time.
For some reason, that January 1 date is such an arbitrarily excellent time to turn over a new leaf—to finally start that diet, get in bed by 10:00 P.M., read those smart-people books that have been gathering dust on your nightstand. It seems like a day when anything can happen, when there’s the force of an entire new year ahead of you.
But then, when your resolve and willpower are tested—by that coworker who brings in doughnuts or by that Netflix binge that takes the place of your Saturday hike—it can also be so easy to give up.
If, like so many of us, you’ve reached that giving up point, what do you do? Is it just time to say, “OK, so much for 2019. I’ll just lose weight in 2020”?
No way! You can do it, friend. One little slip-up doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the towel for the whole year. Here’s what you can do to get yourself back on track:
Just re-resolve it.
If you slip up, so what? As the great philosopher Scarlett O’Hara said, “After all, tomorrow is another day.” Just start the clock over. Nobody’s perfect, and it can be easy to get down on yourself. Giving up altogether can just mean spiraling into a behavior you didn’t want to maintain in the first place. Just move on, start over, and try again.
“Lose weight. Work out more. Travel.” These resolutions are great, but they can be stressful and easy to quit because they’re so vague. Take into consideration what you actually can and can’t do, then set a reasonable goal. For me, going to a Zumba class every day is probably not a realistic goal with my kids. I can’t always go to strictly scheduled events. However, going four times a week to the gym is much more manageable because I can do it on my own time.
Decide if it’s worth it.
Not all resolutions are worth keeping. Once, a friend persuaded me to cancel one of my resolutions, because it wasn’t reasonable. I’d resolved to stop reading. I know, I’m a nerd. I felt that I was spending too much time reading when I should have been working on my writing or household projects. My friend urged me not to completely eliminate something that was enjoyable and enriching from my life, but to just temper it. I did, incorporating my favorite pastime back into my routine, and realized how wise she was.
Tell a friend.
“I get by with a little help from my friends” is one of my favorite Beatles lines because I feel its truth every day. Get a friend to hold you accountable and to remind you about some of your resolutions. If you want to drink more water, find a water buddy at your office and make a date to refill your bottles together. If you want to take your kids to play outside more, find friends who are probably also dying for play dates. One caveat: don’t enlist a friend to help you keep emotionally sensitive resolutions. It’s not fair to expect them to call you out for eating too much creamy jalapeno dip or saying yes to that second latte.
Tell your kid.
If you’re really serious about being nagged to death on a resolution, tell your kids. They’ll definitely be happy to remind you every. single. time. you slip up, especially if it’s loudly and mildly embarrassing and in a public place. If that thought doesn’t terrify you, maybe there’s no hope for your resolutions at all.
So if some of your resolutions have slipped past you, don’t worry. All is not lost. Resolve now to give yourself a little grace and move forward. You can do it!
Great article Natalie. The only other thing that I would add is to not go it alone. Obesity is a medical problem like diabetes or hypertension. Formulating self care plans without making sure that there aren’t any underlying medical obstructions to losing weight can be difficult. Getting outside accountability through formal weight loss programs can also help. Thanks for writing on such an important topic.
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