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New Year’s Resolutions are for quitters

Dave McElhinny

Making a New Year’s resolution is kind of silly if you really think about it. After all, we have 365 days (366 every fourth year) to make adjustments to improve our lives, yet we put such hope on this one, magical day. Many of us even indulge more than usual in those final days of the year, knowing the deadline is fast approaching. There’s just something alluring about the end of the calendar year for wiping the slate clean and starting over.

Unfortunately, it rarely works.

Every year, the No. 1 resolution for millions of people is to exercise more and lose weight.

Statistically speaking, only 8 percent of the population will actually stick to that new health regimen. That’s because even though Jan. 1 sounds like the perfect time to make great changes, in reality, we are already setting ourselves up for failure because of two major components: Temptation and setting unachievable goals.

When we awaken on Jan. 1 and stumble into the kitchen, there will likely be a vast cornucopia of caloric seduction awaiting us in the form of holiday cookies, hors d’oeuvres, pastries and other savory leftovers. Right there about half of the nation shrugs their collective shoulders and the plans for a healthy 2019 will be thrown out the window.

And for those who do make it through that first day, on Jan. 2 upon returning to work, guess what everybody brings in? You guessed it: all the stuff they are trying to quit eating, pawning them off on unsuspecting co-workers.

It would be like making a resolution to quit drinking on Friday — at 4:45 — on St. Patrick’s Day — even though you and the rest of the office are going to mandatory Happy Hour and the boss is buying. The timing is all wrong.

The other half of this formula is to set attainable goals. For instance, don’t make a pledge to burn 4,000 calories a day if you’ve never exercised before in your life. The only way you’ll reach this goal is to leave three dozen chocolate chip cookies in a hot oven too long. Instead, start slow and build.

This year, try this instead. Move your diet back one week. Go ahead and continue to allow yourself some of these tantalizing leftovers until Jan. 8, maybe celebrating little victories in the form of eating just one cupcake instead of five. Enjoy a daily walk and other light activity. By then, all of the holiday temptations should either be gone or have spoiled and that daily walk will now be more of a habit and allow you to start going further, even motivating you to add other activities.

Happy New Year, and I hope 2019 is your best year yet!

Dave McElhinny is the North Hills bureau chief for the Tribune-Review. He can be reached at [email protected]


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