It’s not you — it’s your resolution

If you feel like you’re failing at your 2020 goals, it might not be your fault

Emily DiSalvo, Staff Writer

 It’s mid-January, which probably means you’ve stopped going to the gym and started eating sugar again.

Do you feel defeated? Do you plan to try again in February? Next January?

In 2018, 40% of people who made New Year’s resolutions kept them, according to Statista.

I’m here to tell you that you are not a failure — your resolution has systemic flaws. This could explain why only 40% of people who made New Year’s resolutions in 2018 kept them, according to a survey by Statista. Maybe 96% of those people just set bad goals. Vowing to lose 40 pounds, cut an entire food group or go to the gym every day are extreme and unrealistic measures bound to put you in a bad mood as you embark on the new year. Losing 40 pounds is dangerous for the average person, especially if done quickly and obsessively. Cutting an entire food group can deprive your body of key nutrients. Going to the gym everyday is exhausting and excessive for a non-marine.

So, I propose alternative resolutions that focus on your wellness, not your waistline.

Instead of thinking of unhealthy foods you want to cut from your diet, think about nutritious foods you want to add to it. There is no reason you can’t eat cupcakes and pop-tarts or whatever your craving is. While they shouldn’t be your dinner, there is a place for them in your day because of the positive benefits they can have on your mood. However, I have found that foods like pineapples, sweet potatoes and blueberries can be just as rewarding and you can eat them, pretty much guilt-free. Instead of eating less and cutting back, eat more — more fruits, more veggies, more protein — and keep eating cupcakes, just in moderation.

Instead of going to the gym every day, go for a walk every day or do yoga. If you feel inclined to go to the gym, that can be a once or twice a week gig, but I know from experience that going to the gym involves travel, changing clothes, interacting with self-assured gym rats and showering, which all adds up to a hefty time commitment and a rocky emotional roller coaster. Walking not only gets your heart rate up but allows you to experience the outdoors, walk and talk with a friend (or pet) and think in peace. It’s nearly impossible to chat with a friend while suffering on the ab machine in the stuffy gym. Yoga, while not for everyone, can be an alternative to the same strength training you’d do at the gym. Instead, it’s a laid-back, at-home stretching session. There are countless online yoga videos so you can get a free workout in the comfort of your living room. These two options are beneficial to your mental as well as your physical health. 

The gym is a toxic place, in my opinion. It is a place where many people who are unsure about their bodies or physical capabilities look at themselves in full-length mirrors sweating and hurting as they try to read the directions on complicated workout contraptions. For some people, this works. But for me, and I assume many of you, getting healthy doesn’t need to involve a machine. It involves your mind.

Pick up a new hobby that you didn’t make time for last year. If you were planning to get to the gym every day, and make time for that, then you can definitely make time to start hiking, playing tennis or golf, swimming or cross-country skiing. Your hobby doesn’t have to be physical. Read a book. Draw. Volunteer. Take photos. Learn to play chess. Meditate. But make sure it’s something you enjoy.

The purpose of New Year’s resolutions that involve your fitness and health should ultimately be about wellness — living longer and feeling healthy. You can do both of these things without feeling miserable and going to bed hungry and sore. I know because I have tried both of these methods — the extreme one and the one I have outlined above. If you go into the new year with goals that are simply aesthetic and focused on being tone and trim, you’re missing out on the whole mental part of wellness. You’re missing out on the possibilities of eating cupcakes WITH your blueberries, walking with your dog outside instead of suffering alone in the gym and taking up a hobby that makes you not only healthy, but happy.

Someone can be skinny and have big biceps and be happy but if the happiness is dependent on the skinniness and the biceps, that’s when it becomes unhealthy.

So if you feel as though you have failed at your resolution, stop that negative line of thinking. Maybe your resolution failed you.

February is a new month. It’s OK to start over with a new resolution.