January 01, 2017

Keeping Healthy New Year's Resolutions: Five Tips!

image found here, where you can actually purchase them.

By Crabby McSlacker

Okay, first some reassurance: that's a visual pun up there, not a how-to photo. I'm not suggesting you sever any fingertips in order to make your New Year's resolutions easier to keep. Although come to think of it, I'd reach for far fewer Sees candies if I...

No. I'm kidding. Let me go on record as Not in Favor of Digital Amputation as a Weight Loss Aid. In these increasingly imbecilic times, one can't take anything for granted.

Anyway, the usual caveats:

So, are we ready?

1. Pick something totally Bad-Ass for a goal.

Does it have to be rational or sane? No it does not. It should be motivating, and exciting enough to makes you froth at the mouth just to think about it. Or, if frothing seems a little too gross, it should at least make you swallow once, discreetly but with enthusiasm.  In terms of goal visualization: make it FUN.

2. But settle for sub-goals that are pathetically easy and achievable.

I'd recommend a "process" goal over a "results" goal.  Doing something slightly better than you used to, repeatedly and consistently, is always worthy pursuit, even if concrete results are invisible and hypothetical for a tediously long time.

"At least five days a week I will get off my butt and walk for 5 minutes or more, even if the weather's shitty and it's just around and around the damn house." That kind of goal may not sound very glamorous, but if you're starting off sedentary, it's a great place to begin. When daily walking turns into a habit and you begin to build consistency and experience success, you've got a great foundation for future badassery.

3. Plot, plan, and scheme like a sinister serial killer.

If you're like me, your motivation may fluctuate dramatically. Sometimes, it's "I am SO fired up. I am a strong, self-disciplined, fearsome beast, a warrior, watch me triumph over all obstacles in my path!"

Other times, it's "fuck this, it's hard. I'm out."

Perhaps not coincidentally, periods of impressively high motivation tend to occur when the sacrifices are all hypothetical. When actual temptation arises, or hard tasks are imminent, somehow fearsome warrior lady disappears and the "fuck it all" wimp is the one left confronting the challenge.

The trick is, obviously, to use your strong, motivated, inner warrior self to take that jacked up motivation, and exercise that clever and dedicated brain it has. The goal: figure out how to make it harder for your lame loser quitter self to misbehave when it's time to actually get shit done.

There are tons of ways you can plan ahead to reduce the need for willpower, you've seen them before, but do you do them? Do you set out your workout clothes ahead of time, make active plans that involve other people, set up systems or buy apps to facilitate accountability, park away from your destination, stock your fridge with healthy pre-made snacks, stop buying junky crap at the store, or at least make it difficult to get to?

(After all, a serial killer doesn't just leave corpses and murder weapons lying all around his house, that would lead to trouble! So if you can't throw out that big tin of delicious buttery cookies left over from the holidays, at least hide the little fuckers in the attic or in the back of a cluttered closet or in the deep freeze or out in the trunk or your car. And if they go bad before you go bad, WIN!)

4. Lie to yourself constantly.

It works for politicians, it will work for you.

We humans are not all that brilliant. Even the most clever of us are perfectly capable of letting ourselves believe things we wish to believe even if facts and logic tell us otherwise.

The human capacity for delusion trips us up a lot, I'm sure you can fill in your own examples. But why not harness it for good instead of evil?

Tell yourself whatever lies will motivate you at the moment to keep trying and moving forward. "Yes, I've tried to quit smoking before and I've never been successful, but this time will be easier. I'll have much more willpower." "Yes I'm middle aged now but if I just buckle down and train harder for a few weeks I'm sure I can run just as fast as I did at 20." "It will be fun to go for a long walk in the rain, I won't melt!"

And when reality punches you in the face, so what? It was for a good cause. "OK, so I don't have more willpower than before, but I made it 4 days without smoking, and I only had two cigarettes when I caved, and tomorrow is a new day." "So yeah, turns out I run much slower than I used to and I'm not getting much faster yet, but I'm running!" "Being out in the rain sucked, it was miserable! But I got outside and exercised and damn do I feel all smug about it now."

5. Celebrate every little success like you just single-handedly saved the entire world from fiery destruction.

image: pixabay

If you are human, you are not going to achieve all of your goals all the time. But if you're a reasonably determined human, and aren't totally insane about what you're trying to achieve, you will likely achieve some of your goals some of the time.

It's your choice: berate yourself for your failures, or celebrate your successes. Which approach do you think is more motivating over the long haul?

This doesn't mean you shouldn't acknowledge failure, but do it intellectually, for future planning purposes. Troubleshoot, but don't invest any emotional energy in it. Get over yourself, you don't get to be perfect, and moping about it is a waste of time. Save your precious feelings for the victories. Pump up the happiness, satisfaction and sense of accomplishment with extra attention, savor it. Train your brain to notice and remember the positive, not just the negative, and weirdly enough, the world will magically start deliver more positive stuff. It's a little freaky how that works.

Are any of you on a quest to make positive changes in 2017? Or does the whole annual resolution thing seem a little ludicrous? How was your New Year's Eve?


  1. New Year's Eve was quiet. Stupid myself stupid on beanizza and then we went to bed early because husband had to be up at 3 a.m. to go to work.
    As for resolutions, I think I might make an effort to say fuck off more. It should be easy to keep so I'm calling it a win already.

    1. Beanizza, Leah? I'm intrigued, do tell!

      And we went to bed early too, with no excuse other than that we've seen midnight before, and it doesn't look any different than 9pm.

    2. Crabby, beanizza is my version of a bean pizza made with baked beans. Mash about one cup of them and mix in spices of your choice. Add in more of the beans left whole. We use cumin, chili, other heat, cilantro, garlic, and the like. Spread on pizza after the sauce, add other toppings of your choice, and top with cheese. It's the specialty of the house.

  2. Hi Crabby,

    the advice in this post has so much depth. I would know since it took me 6 years to discover the things you talk about.

    # 4 really resonates with me as it relates to the subconscious mind and visualization. If you tell your subconscious mind a lie long enough, after a while it will start believing it. Before you can do, you first need to become.

    Definitely sharing your post.

    PS: New Year's eve is soooo 2016! ;)

    1. Thanks so much Hanro, and happy new year! And I totally agree that the subconscious mind is a lot more powerful than we tend to give it credit for.

  3. I don't really do formal resolutions (I'm sure I've said that here before), but I am totally with you in the spirit of this post. I would sum up my goals thusly: Keep doing what I know I can do, but do it better, and be kind to myself.

    Happy New Year Crabby!

    1. Happy New Year JavaChick!

      And I love this: "Keep doing what I know I can do, but do it better, and be kind to myself." Excellent advice!

    2. Now that is a goal I could actually accept! Though my resistance to resolutions is strong, and my disinterest in secular New Year also strong.
      I, too, have seen midnight before, and it looks very much like nine, only blurrier because I'm more tired.

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

    3. Mary Anne, your take on new year's seems quite sensible! But arbitrary though the date may be, hope 2017 is off to a good start for you.

  4. Harold is my new hero!!!

    Happy New Year! Excellent advice as always. It is usually the delusions that get me.

    I worked yesterday and am working today so I didn't really feel prepared for the new year.

    I decide to start my new year on the Chinese New Year this time around. This gives me 27 more days to figure it out. I am pretty sure going to the ashram will be #1 on the list though!

    All the best for you and the Lobster in 2017!

    1. Kimberley, what a great way to customize the calendar to leverage preparation time! And I love that you're planning on doing the ashram thing again, yay! Happy new year!

  5. All right, I'll make a resolution right here and now. I sometimes let my imagination veer in the direction of Dire Outcomes (e.g. lose my job, lose my house, watch a horrible person get elected). So now I vow that every time my thoughts go in the direction of picturing some horrible negative outcome (which almost never happens. almost) I am going to replace that thought with a positive one.
    ALL possible negative outcomes cannot come true. Sometimes, Good happens. I am going to focus on the good outcomes that I can control. Things I cannot control I will refer to a higher power.
    There. A resolution.
    I'm good at making up resolutions that affect my body, e.g. exercising daily. About time I added a resolution that will affect my state of mind.

    1. I love your resolution Merry!

      I think the last election was a little challenging for us lifelong pessimists who were trying to reform--how many times did I reassure myself that such a horrible outcome was incredibly unlikely and not worth worrying about? On the other hand, worrying extra about it wouldn't have helped anything. Fingers crossed for some sort of return to sanity as quickly as possible.

      Positive thoughts, positive thoughts positive thoughts! :)

  6. Happy New Year, Crabby and Lobster!

    New Years Eve was a fun evening with three friends playing word games. Lots of laughs. And a phone chat with my son when midnight struck his clock (at 2 AM here). A good night.

    1. You win the Good Sport award Hilary for the cheerful attitude about the 2AM phone call, and so glad to hear it was a fun evening!

  7. Happy New Year! This past year, i've spent so much time at work i've convinced myself that i'm already getting enough exercise, even though i know i'm not. This year, i want to do at least 5 minutes a day to start. Even i can find that five minutes, and it's more than i was doing before.

    1. Yay messymimi for starting off with a reasonable, attainable goal! And who knows where it may lead?

      And Happy new years!

  8. My New Year's Eve was peculiar. I had the day off! I was off all day on a Saturday???? (I'm not sure why my boss made my schedule so strange this week, but I'm trying to cope.) I tried to do nothing, and spend a lot of time with my new dog, but the pile of things that needed doing kept jumping up and down at me, and I actually got a lot of them done without completely eating up my relaxing time. I wish I had gotten to sleep before midnight, but since my neighbors set off firecrackers in their driveway, next to my bedroom, it's just as well. I no longer live where gunshots in the middle of the night mean someone has treed a possum, and since I was awake I could instantly identify the noise as firecrackers, not guns.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  9. I normally do not do New Year's resolutions. This year I did. I've done it before and it worked. I have not been able to get myself out to walk, so even though my resolution is a ten minute a day commitment, it is better than nothing, which is what I was doing and have been doing for several years now. bah - humbug! lol
    Happy New Year Crabby! hugs to you and yours

  10. Absolutely no resolutions here. Yes, things I want to do better & change but I don't set myself u0p for failure like that resolution thing. I have enough trouble liking myself already! :) Thx for your comment on my blog! This is the first notification of a post from you in my email forever! I hope I have not missed a ton of them! I will definitely keep bitching about Trump! He is the biggest liar & idiot ever. Yes, he is smart in the art of manipulation & bullying & all that but running a country & the people he is putting in charge OMG!

  11. My resolution is to find happiness in any given moment, especially of course, the difficult ones (which seem to come frequently enough) with my mom in and out of the hospital and the stress of launching a weight loss app.


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