My Beef with New Year’s Resolutions

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Ahhh…New Year’s

Last January, I’m at Trader Joe’s doing some grocery shopping. I have my shopping down to a science. Why? Because I hate shopping. Well, mostly I just hate shoppers. Always getting in my way when I’m trying to look at things. Or standing too close to me while I’m trying to read the ingredients on every single package of soup available trying to find one that doesn’t have corn in it (spoiler alert: I don’t find one). Or trying to come down my aisle with their cart when there is CLEARLY no room for a cart in that aisle. Come on, lady…just look at a different aisle until this one clears up.

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Even typing that description makes me get all sweaty and nervous. So, to minimize stupid shopping madness, I plan ahead. Almost excessively. Mentally mapping out my movements in the store before I go in so I know exactly what to get and which route to take to get out of there as quickly as possible.**

So, I’ve been at the grocery store for ten minutes. I’ve succesfully weaved my way through soccer moms whose kids are sneaking cookies into the carts while their backs are turned, hipster couples being unbearably cute and trying to figure out which craft beer they want to have with their vegan burgers that night while they talk about whatever hipster couples talk about…hummus…painting…fixed gear bikes? I don’t know.

My basket is full and I’m ready to check out. Feeling like all is right int he world, I get in line behind that damn hipster couple and wait.

Finally, the hipster-outdoorsy-caresaboutfood-probablyvegan-dudewiththeprettiesthairstyleinthewholestore-cashier is ringing up my groceries, probably scoffing at me in his head because I forgot to bring my reusable grocery bags. He finishes and I’m so close to being done. So close to leaving the hell that is shopping on a Sunday morning in a grocery store the size of my apartment but more busy than Best Buy on black Friday…when the cashier looks up at me and says,

“No sweets, eh? What is that…some kind of New Year’s Resolution?”

Uggghhhh….whhyyyyyy??? Why ask me that!? Ask me anything else, pleaseeeee. What do I say? Smile and nod even though I think New Year’s resolutions are stupid? Tell him no? Explain to him my entire philosophy on resolutions while hungry children in line behind me are reverting back to their heathen meat eating ways and gnawing on their own arms?

Before I think of a proper response, I mumble, Ehhh…more like a life resolution. and hurriedly grab my bag before he can react and rush out the door.

What’s the deal, then? Why do I think New Years resolutions are dumb? What did I want to say so badly to that cashier but couldn’t for lack of time and…well…ability to not be awkward in any social situation? Good news! I’m a much better writer than I am a talker so here’s the low down on why New Year’s resolutions aren’t all that and a bag of chips…er….baby carrots.

**There are times where I actually like to spend time in a grocery store, staring at everything for at least an hour and buying only one thing. These times are usually reserved for ten minutes after a store opens or an hour before a store closes, on a weekday. This is not grocery shopping, this is entertainment.

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What’s So Wrong With Now?

Why wait to make a change when you could do it right now? When you think about it, a year is just an arbitrary unit we use to measure something. It’s not like we’re going to live until the very end of a year and die right on December 31st. You never know what’s going to happen or when it’s going to happen so why wait to change something?

There are some cases where I’m okay with waiting. For example, I’ve heard people say they’re going to start being really strict with their diet once the holidays are over. That sounds pretty legit to me. The holidays are just a terrible time to try and be crazy restrictive, because let’s face it…no one else is..and those stupid (delicious) no-bake oatmeal peanut butter cookies and trays of fudge are in full bloom this time of year.

No, I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the people who, in October, are saying, “Ugh, I totally need to get into the gym. That’s going to be my New Year’s resolution.” or in July, “I’m just going to keep partying until the end of the year, then I’m going to stop going out and get serious about my career.” as they complain to me every single day about how they hate their job.

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! If you can’t do it in July or October, what do you think is going to be different about January? Just because it’s the socially recognized time to change doesn’t mean you’ll actually stick with it.

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Too Much Too Soon

Resolutions are often abandoned because they’re just too hard to stick to.

Well, duh. If you’re eating fast food every day, haven’t cooked a meal in your entire life and your resolution is to completely cut out fast food starting January 1st, you’re not even going to know where to start. How do you cook? What do you cook? When do you cook? How much do you cook? There are so many components to a goal like that and it often makes people quit before they even start.

If you’re going to make a change, start small. Want to cut out fast food? Start with learning how to cook one meal. Eggs are easy, learn how to cook some eggs. Once you’ve got that, start eating eggs for breakfast and stop eating fast food for breakfast. Once you’ve mastered breakfast, move on to lunch, etc.

Tackling multiple small goals is much easier than one giant goal and can help you reach the giant goal in time.

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So…Your Resolution Is….?

In 2014, I’m going to get into shape!

This year, I’m going to finally lose those extra 20 pounds.

Starting January 1st, I’m going to clean up my diet!

How many of these resolutions have you heard? Stop being so vague! How will you get into shape? And what do you define as “in shape”? I know people who think that being able to run a marathon is being “in shape” but I’ve seen marathon runners who look emaciated and marathon runners who have a gut. So, what’s the definition of “in shape” to you? Athletic ability? Not having any fat? Having a six pack? What’s your goal, really?

You’re going to lose 20 pounds? Great. How? Will you exercise? What exercise will you do? Will you diet? What diet will you choose? Do you even really need to lose weight or do you need to lose fat? I’ve only been gaining weight since I started exercising but I’m not any fatter than I was before.

I won’t go on, but if you haven’t noticed, what I’m trying to say here is similar to my last point. Your resolutions are too vague and too big.

The fact that a New Years resolution is a resolution for the whole year almost encourages vague and lofty goals. Who wants their New Year’s resolution to be, “This year, I’m going to run one mile twice a week.” That seems crazy easy and you should totally be able to accomplish that in less than a year. But if your ultimate goal is “get in shape” and you’ve never exercised before in your life, running (or more likely walking) a mile twice a week might be a great place to start.

Be specific. Downsize.

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Long Term Vs. Short Term

Goals and resolutions aren’t bad things. But don’t neglect the fact that one giant goal takes accomplishing a lot of little goals along the way. When you’re making your resolutions this year, think of the little goals you need to achieve along the way. Write them down, be specific and focus on those.

And while you’re at it, be impatient! Don’t wait around for some arbitrary length of time to reset, start today! (Although…I know New Year’s is like…tomorrow but imagine it isn’t.) Goals shouldn’t be something you make once a year and forget about three weeks later. Constantly challenge yourself to be better.

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Goalllll

While we’re on the topic, let’s talk about it. What were some goals you had for 2013 that you achieved? What were some things you didn’t achieve and what will you do to achieve them this year? Let me know in the comments!!

Personally, one giant goal I had was to start this blog…I came up with the idea in January of 2013 so I waited until December 31st and made it my New Year’s resolution to start this blog. Just kidding, obviously. Nah, I just bought the URL and designed the site and launched it in February…who knew I’d still be writing in it almost a year later! Another goal I had was to start doing more challenging exercises, which…surprise surprise, I did that too. I started Crossfit in August and it’s been challenging me every day since.

One goal I had but didn’t achieve was to write a book. What kind of book? What am I talking about? I’m not a writer. Who do I think I am? Quit asking so many questions, I’m not ready to tell you about it yet. But I started it about the same time I started this blog and then my priorities got a little jumbled and I’ve been ignoring it for about six months. The book has been pushed on the back burner but I think once I get some other stuff sorted out that might become more of a goal for 2014, who knows. We’ll see.

Anyway, Happy New Year! And I hope y’all had an awesome Christmas.

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5 Comments

  1. Debbie   •  

    I third it!

  2. Danielle   •  

    I second that!!

    • Alysia Caringi   •     Author

      Wait, what are you guys seconding and thirding? The post?

  3. Roger   •  

    “I’m not a writer.” Yes you are!

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