Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m too old to change,” or “it’s too late,” or “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”? Sure you have and you have more than likely said something like this to yourself. This is the time of year when many of us take the high road and commit to all kinds of resolutions that we seldom keep. As each New Year passes with yet another set of broken promises, we often find ourselves falling back on these familiar excuses.
Now I don’t want to diminish the value of making New Year’s resolutions. That would be almost un-American. In fact, New Year’s resolutions actually date back to the Babylonians about 4,000 years ago, so we seem to be fairly committed to the idea. It’s a little hard to understand that loyalty when one considers that only ten percent of these promises are kept. My personal observation is that part of the dilemma may well be in the mechanism itself. That is, when we make a resolution, it’s kind of a big deal. Everyone talks about their resolutions, and maybe it’s the peer pressure, but we seem compelled to make them almost impossible to achieve. Then there’s the emphasis on “not breaking” New Year’s resolutions and “staying the course.” People tend to keep score and the pressure builds. It becomes a test of personal will or some contest destined for quiet withdrawal. You would think we all have enough stress in our lives without adding more.
Of course, when the inevitable occurs, at least for nine out of ten of us, and we finally break down and miss some milestone or activity, we go into a state of absolute despair and give up on the whole thing until next year, when we vow to do better.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. When it comes to healthy living and getting fit, any day is a good day to begin. As John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, pointed out in our November 2011 issue, “the human body can heal itself fairly quickly.” Furthermore, healthy living isn’t some temporary action; it is a way of life. That really takes the pressure off because it means that we can start any time we want and we can fall off the wagon from time to time as long as we commit to living healthy and fit. We may miss a run or a work out or eat some comfort food now and then, but it is not the end of the world as long as our main routine is healthy. Should we have a sense of urgency to “get on with it”? Sure, if you believe what science and health experts tell us: that a healthy lifestyle makes for longer and better quality of life. Waiting only delays the incredible benefits that this commitment can provide. Can you imagine not beginning a treatment that would cure a health problem? Of course not. So why wait? The real sacrifice is in not beginning.
So, do yourself a favor—don’t make adopting a healthy and fit lifestyle a New Year’s resolution. Just get up tomorrow or the next day and begin to make changes in how you live so that being healthy and fit become a high priority. Today is indeed the first day of the rest of your life, but so is tomorrow—and it’s never too late to start again.
Keep Austin Fit,