Revolution Vs Resolution: You Just Can't Rush Progress

Image credit: Microsoft Clipart
As we're frequently reminded, "Rome wasn't built in a day". It's just as well really, because if it was built in the same spirit as a New Year's Resolution it would have collapsed many years ago -  and that's if the build was completed in the first place. 

The two biggest mistakes people make in January are firstly, to try and quit/change/add-in things all at once and secondly, to expect results from all of this very quickly. It's not surprising that these mistakes occur. Today's society is all about instant gratification - whether it's push notifications to our smart phones, next-day delivery or within-the-hour responses to emails, we want everything as soon as we want it and are unwilling to wait for anything.  


The problem is, our bodies don't run on our desired time schedules. They don't care if there's a tiny dress to squeeze into for a party in 2 weeks, or if there's a holiday in 6 months to trim down for. Our bodies are just not in sync with our social calenders and never will be. The reason so many New Year's Resolutions to lose weight have failed by this point is simply because the people making them are being impatient and probably trying to change too much at once. 

Hundreds of people vowed on the 1st of January to "quit smoking, quit drinking, eat more fruit and veg, drink more water, eat more fibre, ditch desserts and go to the gym every day". Their plans have probably already fallen through by now because it's too much to change all in one go and would leave anyone feeling deprived, punished and miserable.

There's also the people who vowed unrealistic goals, such as losing in 1 stone in 4 weeks - (which - sorry, faddy diet books and magazines-  is only really safe to do if you have around 6 stone and more to lose in the first place) - this plan has likely failed after a few weekly weigh-ins charting a loss of 1lb or less - or perhaps a small gain due to the body going into shock. 

Let's be honest here, trying to 'do it all' in January is very likely to result in failure by February and then restarting again for perhaps for one week in the summer before a holiday and/or again in January next year. The overall result of this being no weight loss (or worse, a gain) and the same crappy habits left firmly intact. 

It's pointless really, isn't it? Why not just take it slowly, aim to lose around 1lb a week and drop 52lbs by this time next year? By which time, you can set a different New Year's resolution instead of repeating this year's. If the thought of this still doesn't make you want to slow down, then consider measuring yourself in other ways - so instead of merely jumping on the scale, use a tape measure once a month to see if there are any changes not reflected on the scale or you could keep track of your body fat % or blood pressure instead.This way, you can be sure that something is happening and you'll feel less likely to quit. Remember: even slow progress is better tan no progress at all.

If you're one of these people who set a 'revolution' instead of a resolution, then consider setting yourself a new mini health-goal each month (or perhaps each week if you haven't got much weight to lose) - see BTBS's monthly plan for ideas on how to do this. By the following month, you will have already got into the swing of one healthy habit and you're very likely to start seeing small (but significant) results from just changing 1 thing! 

Bottom line, you can't expect different results from doing the same thing over and over - or in this case, every January!

1 comment

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