The tradition of making New Years Resolutions began nearly 4000 years ago with some ancient Babylonian thinking “now might be a good time about time to return this hammer to Laqip.” But I am sure, like that shovel that was in my dad’s garage for many years, the tools probably never made it back to their original owner. Little did they know, the ancient Babylonians would be setting up a timeless system of yearly demonstrating the ability of human failure.
According to psychologist, a whopping 78% of New Years Resolutions are doomed to failure.
You would think that within 4000 years of human history, we would have figured out how to make our resolutions work for us, instead of leading to failure (bring with it all the psychological stress related to not accomplishing your goal).
So why do we continue making New Years Resolutions when we have a 78% chance that they will fail. Call it the newness of the new year or the feeling of getting a chance to start over again. However soon after the ball has dropped, and the confetti has been cleaned up, the motivation to do something new with your life soon dies down. Thus we return to old, comfortable habits.
Now this is particularly true with resolutions dealing with health and fitness. This also happens to be an area where I have some knowhow.
As someone who has lost nearly 70 pounds (in 7 years, 20 or them within the last year) and has gotten a lot more fit than where she was last year at this time, I think I have a thing or two to contribute.
Weight loss and fitness do go hand-in-hand, and you CAN achieve both as I have.
However there is a wrong way of going at it, and most people take this wrong way.
If you goal is to simply “loose 20 pounds” you will fall into the 78% of failures. I don’t care how often you do sit ups, starve yourself and step on the scale, your 20 pounds will NOT come off. Even if you make a SMART goal (which I think ARE really awesome) there is still a rather good chance that you will not meet your weight goals.
In order to loose weight or get fit, you really should not say “I am going to loose 20 pounds” or “I am going to get fit.” Even if you do work out, you will find it boring. I have a friend from college who works out and hates every second of it. I ask him, “why are you working out if you hate it so much?” to which he grudgingly responds “I need to stay fit, and it sucks.”
Whereas I have another friend from college who always runs 10 miles to and from work, and just yesterday happily treaded through 4 miles of Colorado snow on her way home from work. Knowing her, she LOVED ever second of it, because she loves running for the sake of running and she has passion for the sport of marathon.
Ever since I have known her she has always been in top-notch condition. I seriously doubt she said “I want to get fit” or “I want to loose 20 pounds.” Like me, she has a sport she is passionate about and going for it because she loves it.
As for me, loosing weight was NEVER a goal for me, yet I lost 20 pounds in 2010. Getting fit was never a goal for me, yet I am the most fit I have ever been in my entire life. It was my LOVE for cheer (and the PCA) that drove me!
Here is the REAL secret to loosing weight or getting fit. It is not some fad diet or fad exercise. In fact, I believe you shouldn’t even focus on you weight, or getting fit. The real secret is LOVE. You need to FALL IN LOVE with an activity which in turn will cause you to loose weight or get fit.
I fell in love with cheerleading of all sports. Once I learned about the PCA and the fact that there are other adults who love this sport too, there was NO STOPPING ME (In fact, that was my song, Can’t Stop Me Now by Queen)! From that day forward every step I took, every kilo I ran, every weight I lifted, every minute I spent stretching was all for my love of the sport. Knowing that I COULD INDEED start cheerleading at nearly 30 years old made me push myself even more. I lost nearly 20 pounds as a result. I now have a 122 kilo (270 pound) leg press, and I am able to do full men’s style pushups for the first time in my life.
As a result, I am thinest I have been in years, and I am the strongest I have been in years. This was never my initial intent. My initial intent was, and still is, to become a fast and strong cheerleader, and cheer in the PCA.
So if you are wanting to loose weight or get fit this year, I recommend you really rethink your goals. Find an activity, something deep down inside of you that you have always wanted to do, and just GO FOR IT. It doesn’t matter WHAT the activity is. It could be to run a marathon, swim a kilo, or run a triathlon. It could be something totally crazy, like adult cheerleading.
It doesn’t matter what activity you decide to do, it just has to be something you LOVE to do. Every time you are training (running, lifting etc), just think about your activity. I mean, I run 5K three times a week with a big smile on my face. I am smiling and thinking about cheer with every weight I lift! Just do it because you love it! Challenge yourself to get better because you love it. Instead of calorie counting or stepping on the scale, think only about getting better in the sport you have learned to love.
If you do that, the weight WILL shed off, and the fitness will come. What you will get as a result is so much more rewarding than seeing a number on a scale. I can’t even put into words how my push to become a cheerleader has changed my life in the last 6 months. Not only am I a healthy weight, I have also developed a lot of healthy habits. Furthermore I am so much happier in my everyday life. I don’t get upset or angry over small things anymore. I keep on smiling, and I can’t stop. My relationships with my friends and clients have become so much better. Overall I am so much better in every manner of my life due to the pursuit of my dream to cheer.
In closing, I hope that you too will decide to make a smart New Years Resolution to take up a sport or activity that you have always wanted to do. It doesn’t matter how bad you may think yourself to be. Trust me, I am NOT the most experienced cheerleader by far. However if you keep on pushing yourself, keep at it, you will get better Then you will know that this year, you managed to not only keep your resolution but changed your life for the better.
So go out there and MAKE IT HAPPEN because you LOVE IT!!