Right around this time of year we give up and give in.
The holiday season is here. I know I’m going to be eating more than usual. Why bother trying to lose weight or get in shape right now? I’ll just make it my New Year’s resolution (or start after the holidays).
This is why, of course, gyms are empty around this time of year and restaurants are full. Gyms capitalize on this procrastination by offering January specials. And we feel completely justified in putting off our goals for another two months. Unfortunately, the prospect of a new beginning seems to give us permission to splurge more.
In a survey by Franklin Covey of 15,000 respondents, 40 percent said they broke their resolutions because they didn’t have enough time . If you think you’re too busy to start a weight loss or exercise program now, do you really think you’ll have time later? The holidays haven’t even started yet – there’s still plenty of time to prepare and even progress towards your goals.
Of Resolve and Timing
New Year’s resolutions aren’t necessarily bad; one study showed that 46 percent of resolvers were continuously successful at least six months compared with non-resolvers, who had a success rate of 4 percent .
But what about the other 54 percent who aren’t successful at staying on track after the new year? Most surveys find that over one-third of resolvers quit by the end of January. Many others drop off more slowly, regaining the weight or losing the strength and endurance they worked hard for.
Does this sound familiar?
- January 1st: I’m really going to do it this time!
- Mid-January: There’s not enough time for all these workouts! And who has time to cook and bring food to work every day? Ugh!
- Sometime in February: Feeling kind of bad about myself…
- January 1st: This time I’ll really do it!
The Case for Starting NOW Instead
Since many people say they’re too busy to keep their resolutions, you should ask yourself if waiting until the new year is just an excuse. Take a look at how you can progress, or even simply prepare towards your goal starting NOW:
- If you start exercising regularly NOW, you’ll build a foundation of habits and fitness that you’ll easily be able to continue when everyone else is just starting. Not only that, but you’ll have more energy for socializing, running around shopping, and traveling, etc. Just 20 to 60 minutes of exercise 3 to 5 days per week at a moderate-to-high intensity can improve your fitness level, according the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
- Instead of gaining more weight over the next two months, how about trying to maintain where you’re at? Start keeping a food journal to gain awareness of what you eat. If you have an event coming up in which you know you’ll get more calories than you should, plan ahead and eat fewer calories for a few days leading up, and throw in some extra cardio sessions. P.S. – This goes for drinking more alcohol too!
- You DON’T have to deprive yourself during the holidays. You can eat whatever everyone else is eating, but LESS. By practicing portion control, you’ll learn long-term habits and feel better, not bloated.
- If you start being aware of calories NOW, without the pressure of suddenly being on a diet, you’ll have time to look at cookbooks and practice some healthy recipes. Start understanding the nutritional content of restaurant food and food labels.
- If you maintain your weight or even start losing weight NOW, you’ll feel better about your body at holiday parties and gatherings.
- Becoming aware of calories, learning to control portions, taking daily walks NOW: Invest the time for these gradual lifestyle changes and you’ll be less likely to see it as an unfamiliar and inconvenient burden.
Maybe you’ve beat the odds and been successful at keeping a New Year’s resolution. If so, kudos! But if you’re serious about making your fitness or weight loss goal a lifestyle change, the time to start is NOW.