January 22, 2008

Resolutions Made... and Broken?

[By Crabby]

So let's see, we're getting toward the end of January. And many people made New Years Resolutions a few weeks ago, right?

Remember? You were going to eat healthier or get more exercise or stop charging up your charge cards or clean the house more or remember to floss or whatever.

So... how y'all doing so far?

Should we have an annoying little pep talk?

Because it seems like we're about at the point where the novelty of whatever Great New Initiative you embarked upon will have just about worn off. It's either getting a little easier, because the changes are becoming a habit... or you've come to discover that whatever the hell you promised yourself is WAY harder that you thought. You're about ready to bail or you already have.

If it was a totally ludicrous overambitious plan anyway, bail away! Good riddance to bad resolutions.

But... what if it was a good idea but you just can't seem to live up to it?

Here's where I think it's important to fight the natural tendency towards black/white all-or-nothing thinking. A "broken" resolution doesn't mean you should just walk away and feel like crap about it. "Oh look at my poor broken resolution, it's all smashed to pieces. God I suck. I'll just have to sweep it up and throw it away; maybe I can start over with a shiny new one... next year!"

Nah. Don't be like that.

Instead, try picking up one little shattered piece and don't worry about the rest of the mess. So what if you said you were going to go to the gym 5 times a week and do 25 miles on the treadmill and a bunch of weights and yoga and stuff? Screw that. Go walk a mile during lunch tomorrow and build on that. Were you going to quit smoking forever and made it just a few days? Well, try it again. Every day not smoking counts for a lot, and eventually all the false starts will add up to success.

Just don't beat yourself up for your failure and use self-flagellation as a substitute for action. Honor the progress you were making by taking another tiny baby step. Forget about how far you said you'd go, and concentrate instead on just heading in the right direction. It's that old tortoise and hare thing--small slow steps will win in the end, even if it's not as exciting as charging out the gates and beating the pants off some turtle.

And for those of you who are still at least somewhat on track, hooray for you! Give yourself a lot of acknowledgment and don't just take your awesomeness for granted. Change is hard! Giving up candy bars and eating more broccoli and lifting weights instead of watching Law and Order reruns--that sort of behavior doesn't come naturally for most people. If you're doing stuff like that--well, you rock!

So what about those of us who didn't make New Year's resolutions? Well, we still have goals, which we are either accomplishing... or not.

For example, while my basic "ten commandments" are pretty much still in place, I previously announced on the blog a couple of intentions:
  • I was going to get more serious and structured about interval training; and
  • I was going to stop trashing my knees by running. This meant: (a) I'd go to a doctor again to get them checked out or (b) I'd return grudgingly to race-walking, despite it being the dorkiest form of exercise on the planet.
So, how have I been doing with those two items?

Stay tuned, that's tomorrow's post.

In the meantime, I'd love to know how everyone is doing on their health, fitness, weight loss, or other life goals. Is it harder than you thought, or easier? What's working or not working? Confess your sins or trumpet your accomplishments, it's all good--and very helpful for others who are starting to struggle right now and may need some encouragement or commiseration!


  1. Thanks for the pep talk, Crabby! The Bag Lady managed to break most of her resolutions in record time(which almost made her BITTER!), but she is picking up a few of those shiny pieces, dusting them off and putting them on the mantle, to be stared at until she can't stand it any longer and actually DOES something about it. Maybe tomorrow.

  2. I didn't take resolutions to start with, so I haven't broken anything. I feel fine/ :P

  3. Well, Crabby, my resolution was to tell more people to go to hell and to do it more often.
    Haven't had the opportunity yet, but I swear I'll make the most of it when I do.

  4. heh...I'm finally getting *at* my resolutions. I'm back at the workouts (despite the pain :) ) and trying to eat more unprocessed food. Took me a few weeks, but I'm on it!
    If only I hadn't discovered General Tao chicken ripple potato chips. I've learned not to let them into my home now. They're evil (but soo good...). I must fight the general and his evil minions.

  5. I 'resolved' to do a couple things, one being to STOP focusing on the scale so much, and focus on being healthy. Failure. Still obsessed with that scale.

    The other resolution was to get to the gym a lot more often. Failure, but that's the cold weather's fault. I AM picking up the pieces on this one, starting today. Gym right after work, and I'm going to try to get in there each day the rest of this week!

  6. I never make New Year resolutions, so this time of year, I can be critical of others and their failure to keep theirs!
    OK, I'm kidding.
    Dr. J

  7. I didn't make an formal resolutions, but I did tell myself that I had to stop eating all the crap I'd been allowing myself to have over the month of December, and get back into my workout routine which got disrupted by the holidays. So far so good. But, I'm not doing anything too terribly different from what I always did before - aside from switching to evening workouts for a while and using my new treadmill!

    I agree with you though - starting with small changes and building from there is the way to go.

  8. It wasn't exactly a resolution, it was a brand new journal/desk calendar begging to be filled with the week's workouts--and it's working! My best running buddy has been my conscience for strength training & the dreaded core work, and I'm having fun with my runs. Now can someone help me shine up my shattered nutrition pieces?????

  9. I don't make resolutions. It really is a recipe for disaster. If I had the will power to do it in January, I would have had the willpower to do it in December. Knowing this about myself causes me to just keep trying over and over for success all year round. January can be bleak enough without having a bunch of failed resolutions hanging over my head.

    With all of that said...I have Christmas paid for already because I really worked at not over spending this year. Usually I am digging out well into February. I only gained two pounds over the holidays. This is remarkable since we travelled a LOT.

    Before everyone starts applauding, let me say, I am overweight and in debt, so the remarkable thing is that with the holiday stress, I didn't stumble deeper in to the pit this year.

    Ok, now you can start applauding! (Just kidding!)

  10. I've had sort of an up and down month, but all in all I feel like I'm going down a healthier path and fogiving myself for my mistakes rather than just falling off the wagon when I stray. It is always a struggle, but one well worth it!

  11. My resolutions are going along slowly, but that's okay. They're supposed to last all year, so I don't feel compelled to be a Super Resolution All-Star three weeks into the year! I've got 49 more weeks to get to my goals, as long as I keep plugging away at them a little each week.

  12. I'm glad someone went ahead and brought up the 'broken resolution' issue...I was getting pissed thinking that I was the only one who still wanted to eat like there was no tomorrow LOL! I have been good on the exercising but 'becoming a habit' is far from the truth...I have been good at running/walking/dragging myself on the treadmill but boy do I hate that time! (And I still hate it less than any other exercise I've tried!) Any suggestions for making it more of a 'habit'???

  13. No resolutions here. The only thing I did was I said that I'd go for acupuncture finally this year - I want to try and see if it does make a difference for me. And... drum roll please.... I made the appointment. It's for next week.

  14. I don't make resolutions, although I did recommit to my eating plan as of January 2.

    But, is it wrong of me to hope that some of the new people at my gym break their resolutions? I'd really like to not have to wait in line for an elliptical machine.

  15. Oh, I made a resolution 20 years or so ago that I have never broken - to never make another resolution!

    But this is the year that is going to be good for me and so that means I have to start looking at what I am feeding on and putting into my body etc. So far not bad, I will be adding more healthy stuff as the year progresses.

  16. Mine was to run a half-marathon... and I will be completing that on Sunday!! I'm excited :) The other part of mine was to get certified as a personal trainer. There are a zillion different certifications you can choose from, so I'm still in the deciding phase. Hopefully I'll make up my mind soon and start studying! But one out of two resolutions isn't too bad.

  17. Thanks for asking!
    My one resolution of vacuuming the house once a week is still being upheld. (And it seems like a lot actually...I'm scared to think of how often I was actually vacuuming before...)

    So yay. Let's hear it for baby steps.

    (Which reminds me of "What About Bob?" Dr. Leo Marvin was really onto something...)

  18. I am doing alright with my resolutions - going to the gym 3-4 times per week - that was the main one. Money spending is okay - could improve, but at least I'm not spending on stupid stuff! (We are currently renovating a house, so I don't have much choice in the spending factor in that area).

  19. I don't make resolutions - I try to eat healthy all year round (though it's easier in summer when I can eat salads. Cold salad in winter just doesn't seem right) and since I'm a fitness instructor, that base is covered.

    My problem is that in December, I get accustomed to eating lots of food, especially chocolate and desserts. So January is the most difficult month of the year because I have to try to wean those back to to an every now and then schedule, rather than an every day one...

  20. *wipes sweat off brow

    thank goodness I didn't make any resolutions because they'd all have been forgotten by now.

    what's that saying again? resolutions are meant to be broken? yeah...that's what I thought, something like that :)

  21. Wow, you guys are way more sensible about this resolution thing than most people. Even though a lot of you didn't make them in the first place, I hear lots of reasonable goals and patience and smart approaches and great accomplishments and long term thinking. You just know from watching most folks out there make & break resolutions that that's not typical. Thanks so much for checking in with how you're doing!

    I do, however, wish I'd never heard of General Tao chicken ripple potato chips. I have no idea what they are but I feel I must try them.

    And Emily, the only thing that works for me is music, but I suspect you've tried that!

  22. Didn't make resolutions. Just goals. So far, so good.

  23. You'd be proud of me, Crabby! Since the New Year I've taken on a personal trainer and lost three more pounds.

    Still can't do more than 35 minutes per session with said personal trainer, but given that they're the most intense workouts I've ever done I'd say they're better than my halfhearted jogs every few weeks.

  24. I'm another non-resolution maker. Just slogging away at trying not to eat so much, and make myself get out in the cold and _drive_ to where I can walk. This winter I've tried jumping rope indoors--my feet and my knees don't like that at all. I wish I could afford an elliptical trainer, but first I have to pay off the new house debt, and of course once we get to move into the new house I won't have to get in the car to reach a safe place to walk. (Steep winding shoulder-less roads and gravel trucks, not crime.) I can't wait to walk two-thirds of a mile just getting the mail.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  25. Jim, good for you! I'm afraid of personal trainers myself, and this sounds like a demanding one--I bet you're gaining muscle too as you're losing pounds.

    And Mary Anne, what a pain that you have to drive to walk! Bet you're getting really, really ready to move to the new place.

  26. I loved this post! I was actually just beating myself up about my resolutions yesterday. I did pretty well with some (clean the damn house, cook more) and have completely given up on others (weight training, regular cardio). Why not celebrate the successes instead of beat myself up about the failures? Thanks, Crabby!


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