Stick to It!
Illustration by John Stricker
January – our calendar’s do-over month. In golf, they call it a “mulligan.”
It’s the one time of the year when we can pretend the other 11 months never happened and try to start brand new. A new diet. A new budget. A new attitude. It all starts on January 1.
Of course, by January 5, our resolutions are usually already broken. But we tried. We made the attempt. We had good intentions (just forget whatever that saying is about good intentions being used as a paving material for a particularly warm destination).
Ever the optimists, each year we swear this year will be different. This will be the year, we tell ourselves, when our follow-through is going to match our aspirations. Our commitment will be equal to our resolve. And you know what? This year, it can happen because I’m going to help you keep the most common of resolutions: the pledge to lose weight and get into shape. All you have to do is follow these 10 easy steps. You can thank me later.
1. DON’T OVER-PROMISE. This is a basic rule in sales. If you don’t promise yourself too much, there’s less that can go wrong. Instead of saying, “I’m going to lose 25 pounds and enter a triathlon,” say: “I’m going to lose 15 pounds and find out what exactly a triathlon is.”
2. HAVE A FALLBACK PLAN. In case your weight loss goal hits a rough patch, make sure you buy some fat pants.
3. LEAN ON FRIENDS FOR SUPPORT. Especially if you’ve just finished your first Bikram (hot yoga) class and you’re having trouble remaining upright.
4. FIND A PERSONAL TRAINER. That way, if you don’t reach your goals, you can blame him or her.
5. DON’T HAVE A KILLER WORKOUT AND THEN DECIDE TO “REWARD” YOURSELF WITH A BIG HAMBURGER. Get a big slice of pie instead; it contains fruit.
6. SPEAKING OF NUTRITION, EATING RIGHT IS A HUGE PART OF LOSING WEIGHT. For starters, you should only buy certified organic produce. The main reason? It’s twice as expensive as regular produce, which will leave you with less money to purchase, say, the family-sized bag of Lay’s Sour Cream & Onion potato chips and a half case of beer.
7. STAND NAKED IN FRONT OF A FULL-LENGTH MIRROR EVERY MORNING. Wait. On second thought, that’s just weird.
8. WEIGHT LOSS ISN’T A ONE-TIME THING. You can’t drop 15 pounds and then go back to living the way you did before. True weight loss is a lifestyle change. So you have to look deep within yourself and decide, really decide, if you have what it takes to stop being you and instead become a preachy, self-important, calorie-counting, supplement-taking, spandex-wearing and no-fun workout fanatic.
9. IF THE ANSWER TO THE ABOVE IS YES, YOU WILL ALSO NEED TO RESOLVE TO FIND SOME NEW FRIENDS.
10. LASTLY, BE FORWARD THINKING AND OPTIMISTIC. If you break this year’s resolution, don’t fret about it! Next January is only 11 months away.