Posted at 11 a.m. Feb. 6, 2017

Ditch resolutions for real goals

Tara Halfhill Photo Editor

I will never tell anyone that they are wrong by trying to better themselves. But if you’re only there because of a New Year’s Resolution, stay out of my gym. I know that this is probably going to sound pretty harsh, but that’s just the ugly truth this time of year.

Deciding to use the New Year as your sole purpose to become a better you is a pretty flimsy basis to begin with. There is less of a chance of sticking with a new lifestyle change if you’re choosing to do it just because of the tradition of making a New Year’s Resolution.

When I started going to the gym on a regular basis, it was because I had several goals. Sure, the baby weight from my dear, sweet, little hell on wheels had come off, but to say that I had fully bounced back would be a far cry from the truth. I wanted to get back into the kind of shape that you don’t get by just eating less. I was also refusing to become the girl that gets into a happy relationship and lets everything go. I also had the National Guard to worry about. Do you have any idea (before September 2016) the last time I had ran two miles for a fitness test, or rather the last time I had ran any kind of distance? No? Me either.

I woke up one day and decided that it was time. The little person was taken care of, so off to the gym I went. I changed my diet as well as my way of thinking and now, yes that McDonald’s smells good, but no, I do not want any. I have discovered what it is like to live a happy, healthy lifestyle, no thanks to a worthless New Year’s Resolution.

This brings me to the statement I made in regards to staying out of my gym. New Year’s is not the time to start going to the gym—good luck finding equipment to use. Most people who are coming in with a resolution don’t know how to actually thrive in the gym. It’s busy and crowded, and they give up after a few short weeks because they rush in thinking they’re Superman. Spoiler alert: Superman didn’t know what he was doing in the beginning either. Do yourself a favor, and join up at a time when you can take your time and learn how to use that equipment to actually benefit you. Also, don’t expect to fit into those high school jeans after a week.

Personally, I made a resolution to never make another one when I was 17 and have stuck with it ever since. Writing this article got me wondering about whose bright idea it was to even come up with something like this, and I found that the history of the resolution started with ancient Babylon.

Ancient-origins.net explains that the Babylonians used the New Year (which began in March) as a time to pledge to their gods’ repayment of debts, believing that if they failed they would be put out of the gods’ good graces. The tradition carried over into the Roman Empire and we ended up with the modern idea through Christianity. Christians used the New Year to reflect back on the year’s mistakes and do better in the upcoming year.

April Holloway for ancient-origin.net says it better than I ever could when she wrote, “today, the only thing that has changed (for some) is that, rather than making promises to gods, we make promises to ourselves. And since we cannot possibly rain thunder and lightning on ourselves as punishment for not keeping our promises, it need not surprise us that sooner or later we fail.”

She is not wrong. Truthfully speaking, if there were actual risks of smite for not losing that 10 pounds, quitting smoking or making better financial decisions in the year of 2017, people would probably stick to their resolutions better. But there isn’t. The only people that suffer from not achieving their resolutions are the “resolutioners.”

So, why put yourself through it? What is so wrong about deciding to change your life on a random Tuesday? Unless that Tuesday happens to be New Year’s Eve – don’t cheat the system. I can honestly say that I don’t like to fail at things, and that’s probably why I quit making resolutions almost a decade ago.

I’m not out to knock anyone for trying to change him or herself. Those changes ultimately positively affect the person making the change as well as those who are near and dear, but they have to be attempted because the person actually wants them – not because they feel a sense of duty to some antiquated tradition. Stop making New Year’s resolutions, stop being a statistic, and start living your life.


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