Putting Realism in Resolutions

Santa Clarita Signal • Ethically Speaking Column • For December 26 Weekender, 2015

 Putting Realism Into Resolution

David W. Hegg

Okay, here we go again! A new year is staring us in the face, and we are bound and determined to change some things, quit some things, or attempt some new things. It’s resolution time, and hope is again in great supply even if realism seems to be on vacation.

So, here are a few suggestions that just might mean our resolute desires for improvement stick around longer than the pounds Christmas left us.

Think about health first, not weight: If I were to calculate all the pounds I’ve lost in the last twenty years I imagine it might equal my present weight. I lose them, and then I find them again because the way they got lost wasn’t realistic. Face it, surviving on tree bark and filtered water just can’t be the “A” plan!

So, think first about health. Consider more than weight as you plan out your new life style. What you put into your body is the most powerful tool you have in pursuing good health, and enjoying the benefits of fitness. Get serious about reading labels, about lowering fat and sodium and carbs and whatever else your doctor suggests. But for goodness sake, don’t starve yourself or become “that person” at parties and family gatherings. Just be smart. Eat food – real food – and stay away from the stuff that has more than 5 ingredients on the label.

Understand the benefit of exercise: One of the key components to health as we age is leg strength simply because if you lose the ability to stand and walk, everything else starts going south. So, pursue exercises that increase core strength, flexibility, and the ability to walk up stairs without having to stop for breath half way up.

My advice is to find a gym that puts the exercise regimen together for you since we both know if you join a room full of exercise machines you’ll just walk in, get confused and even hurt, and decide you’ve better things to do with your time.

In September I joined a Crossfit gym and have been going faithfully 3 days a week. The workouts are diversified, scalable, and often diabolical. But over the past months I’ve gained strength, lost pounds, increased balance and flexibility, and most importantly for me, found my mental acuity now lasts deep into the day.

Just keep at it: When I started at my gym they told me “just show up.” The greatest threat to the achievement of our goals in any area is simply our lack of mental toughness. In fact, if you’re like me, you’ve gotten yourself into this mess incrementally because you weren’t mentally tough enough to say “no” to Mr. Donut and his band of fat and caloric-rich friends.

Here’s the deal: Figure out a plan you can keep working for the next 10 years. You’ve got time, and if you try to achieve your goal in a week you’ll start a regimen you simply can’t continue. Find what fits your schedule, aligns with your lifestyle, and has enough of a fun factor to make it something you’ll actually enjoy doing. And then, just keep at it! After all, you’re the one that will reap all the benefits.

So many things we do in life seem to have little real personal benefit. But a healthy diet and consistent, proper exercise actually can make you feel better because you will actually be better, healthier, sharper, happier, and a whole lot more excited about living.

As we face the unknowns of a new year we must take hold of the things we can control, at least in some sense. Eat better, exercise well, stay with it, and next year at this time maybe we can move past waist size, and aches and pains, to make the resolutions healthy people make. After all, all the investment we make comes back to us in benefit. May your New Year be both happy and blessed!