How are you doing? Hope that 2017 has been good to you so far. Now, I have a question for you: Are you still following your New Years resolutions? If your answer is yes, great! You are in the 12% of the population that has kept their NY promises so far. If you have answered no, it’s not all your fault, let’s have a look at why an astonishing 88% of us didn’t manage it.
Starting afresh after you lose your way is a really comforting thought. In my opinion, this is the main reason New Year’s resolutions are so popular. They sound so acceptable after the unnecessary indulgence-fuelled holiday season. Whether it’s tomorrow, Monday or the first of January hitting an imaginary ‘PAUSE BUTTON’ gives you a powerful and instantaneous sense of relief. This perceived relief is compounded by the illusion that if we ‘start fresh’ later, we can finally find the magical ‘RIGHT TIME’ to begin and get it right this time.
In our era, it feels like you need to be superhuman to be able to improve your eating and exercise habits while you’re in the midst of firefighting work-related stress, managing financial stress, going on holiday, raising small children, celebrating the party season etc. This also explains why there are so many 21-day this and 90- day that soup diets, fasting systems and celebrity fitness programmes. After all, who believes that one can focus on such a strict resolution for more than 21 to 90 days even with an all-out effort?
But the biggest problem with this “fresh start New Year’s resolution” and these super-intense lab-like diets is that they ONLY BUILD THE SKILL OF PAUSING. And even worse, this skill quickly turns to habit.
My question is: what they don’t teach you and why do they all fail?
My answer: THE SKILL OF GETTING FIT (AND STAYING FIT) IN THE MIDST OF A NORMAL, COMPLICATED ‘HOW IT REALLY IS’ SORT OF LIFE.
It’s not about willpower. IT’S ABOUT SKILLS.
Many people can get slimmer under weird, tightly controlled, almost lab-like scenarios that can be maintained for a very short period of time. This will however only last until that person runs out of gas and crashes. And, in my experience, the crash is generally ugly.
The natural and predictable consequence of having a limited skill set is short-term progress followed by long-term frustration. Many build their fitness on a house of cards. They learn only one thing – how to get in a better shape by following a very challenging programme that only works if all conditions are perfect. And when life isn’t perfect, which is most of the time, they hit the pause button and wait for a better time, all the while losing the health and fitness they previously worked so hard for.
If this sounds familiar to you then the next time you think about pausing your healthy eating and fitness programme until next Monday/month/year remember that this time is your chance to start building the skill that will really count, not only in your fitness goals, but in practically every area of your life: THE SKILL OF SUCCEEDING IN REAL LIFE SITUATIONS.