It’s time for the annual ritual of making resolutions that usually don’t last the month. Oh, I confess that I have made my fair share of resolutions in years past—and 2009 is no exception. So here it is: I resolve to work off the extra pounds I’ve put on over the past 12 months.
OK, so it’s not the first time I’ve made that resolution, but every year I start off with good intentions. It’s not easy to watch what I eat, exercise, work full time, take care of my family and do all the other things I am supposed to be doing. Life is busy, and I can get weighed down with the thought that it’s too hard to keep up with everything.
I know I’m not the only one who feels overwhelmed. Many of us keep adding to our pile: the car needs an oil change; the boss has a new project list that demands attention; the family is asking about a vacation. We feel guilty when we don’t get everything done.
So why do our resolutions—rather than those extra pounds—seem to melt away? I think that it’s a strange way of prioritizing our already over-extended schedules. I’ll stop occasionally to step on the scale, only to lament my lack of discipline. Then I reach a point where I justify the lapse in my commitment. Eventually, I’ll move on and entirely forget that I made the resolution.
I’ve come to the conclusion that there are important questions to ask myself when it comes to my resolutions. Am I losing weight because I need to be healthier for my family? So that I’ll have the extra energy to spend more time with my wife (instead of dozing off in my chair)? Or am I only trying to slim down because that’s the only way I’ll be “acceptable”?
The world is trying to tell me how I should look and act. But the truth is that I’m not perfect. I am disorganized and I struggle with eating too much. I’m not trying to make excuses, but this is who I am. If I keep doing things I don’t really believe in, or if I’m doing them for the wrong reasons, I waste my time. So if I’m going to make a resolution that I’m going to stick with, maybe I should pick something I am going to do for the right reasons. A resolution ought to be something I have “resolved” to do, not something I’ve been coerced to do.
Anything we do half-heartedly is doomed to failure. Our kids need to recognize that principle as well. My son’s therapists visit twice a week to work with him on life skills and strength. And no matter how I push him, if he doesn’t want to work at it he will just give a casual attempt and move on.
Maybe if I take the time to really think through what I am resolving to do, then commit only to those things I know I need to do, I will accomplish something. In doing so, I can hope to show my children what true resolve looks like.
As for day number five of my diet, I am still going strong. I’ll let you know how the rest of the year goes.