I have written about New Year’s resolutions in the past but with this article, it is all going to end. My new years resolution this year is to never write another article about the problems inherent with New Year’s resolutions. Wait — let me rethink that. On second thought…

Exercise and All
This is going to be the year, people will say, that I finally start eating right and exercising and lose that love handle. They tell their friends and coworkers and then get right onboard the train on January the first. By the tenth of the month they have already quit the exercise plan and by the time super bowl Sunday comes, the diet goes out the window as well. Weeks pass, and they completely forget that they had made the resolution to begin with — with the occasional nudging from a friend who might ask them how the diet or exercise is going. Then they would be forced to concede that it did not go really as well as they hoped that it would. By March, the subject is dropped again, and it isn’t raised up until December, when people start up making resolutions once more. The cycle continues, and so the resolution making and breaking becomes almost a parody of itself. “Next year I will stick to the resolutions better!” the person swears. The next year they swear it again.

This doesn’t just apply to diet and exercise, of course. People make all sorts of resolutions that are about making themselves better people. People vow that they are going to learn a new language, take courses in this or that so that they are better educated, or even just get a better job so that they can be more financially independent. For the most part, these same people wind up at the end of the year not knowing the new language but having plenty of books and debt to show for it, not having learned anything from the courses, and still stuck in the same jobs that they hated the year beforehand.

No Resolutions Until February
One thing a person might try to do is to hold off on making any resolutions until February. It could be that for this person, the meaning of the New Year resolution has lost its meaning to such an extent that there is just no point in even trying to make a resolution for the new year starting in January. Why not start your new diet and exercise program in February? Why not start it in March? Could it be that all that it takes is throwing off the schedule by just a little bit to make you realize that the entire premise of making resolutions based on what month the Kitten Calendar says it is happens to be completely flawed and useless?

No Resolutions at All
Perhaps the better approach would be not to make any real ‘resolutions’ at all and just make a tenable plan instead — and how to stick to the plan. A plan would involve mapping out the whole year and what you are going to do every month, every week, every day — to get to the next step and to ensure that the plan doesn’t fall apart. You will be able to tell at every step of the process how well it is going because your instructions will be all in front of you. Some people might even suggest getting a tremendously large calendar that shows the whole year at once and making notes on that so that you will be able to track the progress and never lose your pace.

Lifestyle Change My father had a friend named George who was one of the funniest men I had ever met at the time. Whenever I think of him, I immediately think about two things. One is when he taught me that cheap liquor produces bad hangovers and expensive liquor does not. I have tested this theory many times and have found it to be true — so I have to tip my hat to him for that one. The other thing of which I think is how he ate. George had a very restricted set of food that he could eat. He could only eat extremely bland food. It wasn’t that he was on a diet or he was trying to lose weight by eating only bland food — any other food would make him extremely sick to the stomach.

Therefore, instead of going on a diet, change your diet. Michi’s Ladder, for example, is a complete guide to eating. It tells you what you should eat more often and what you should eat less often. Instead of being a fad diet that will help you lose weight for two weeks before your reunion, it is an actual lifestyle change that makes you eat different foods for the rest of your life. It’s not about losing a pant size or two, it’s about actively avoiding foods that make our bodies ill. Nobody has to tell you not to eat tobacco salads because you already know that tobacco leads to cancer. Why do people need to be told ten different ways that eating triple cheeseburgers, french fries, and milkshakes every day is what is putting them in a wheelchair, not special ‘genes’ that only appeared in sixty percent of the population in the last twenty years?

The same goes for exercise. Exercise should not be something that you just do for a few months and then stop. It is true that I have been doing a program that has a ninety day cycle to it but when it is over, I will start another cycle — perhaps of a different exercise program, or perhaps of the same one with other workouts interspersed. I do not plan on stopping exercise ever. If Jack LaLanne could pull ten boats with seventy seven people in them one mile in under an hour at the age of sixty-six, who knows what you can do if you set your mind to it and really put in the effort every single day — with a day of rest, of course.

Though it is arguable whether this is a new decade or not, 2010 is a big year for me as I started writing for Go Inside Magazine in August of 2000 and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. How did I make it this far? I took my own advice and did it one month at a time. How much more so will it be for you when you realize that the only thing preventing you from accomplishing what you really want is you?