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The new year is upon us (contrary to Mayan belief), and to go along with it, a multitude of New Years Resolutions.

The self-helpers are grinning all the way to the bank whilst our gyms and health clubs are bulging at the sheer weight of shiny, new sign-ups (as well as pork and pudding aficionados).

The ‘cynic’ in me wants to shun the entire New Years Resolutions idea

The average gym-goer knows all too well that come January 1st, their ‘frequently visited’ iron-pumping facility will be suddenly brimming with gym ‘newbies’ and so-called ‘resolutioners’. Annoying as all hell right?

Sure it may bug the hell out of the regulars — what, with already decent bench press numbers and visible abdominals.

Some people just need to get the f*ck out da way and come back in winter when it’s quiet.

After all, what right do they have?

Us regulars have been training for years. We don’t need a ‘new year’ to dictate how we treat our bodies, so why the hell do these flash-in-the-pan wannabes need to be clogging up the gym when they’ll be quitting and returning to ‘cheese cake and marathon couch sitting’ come February 1st.

Hang on a second…

Surely, we should all be happy that a new found desire to decrease the obesity epidemic in western society has trickled through to a few ‘recent acquisitions’  (albeit as soon as the clock struck 12:01 on New Year’s Day).

After all, it’ll reduce our health insurance premiums won’t it? The line at Krispy Kreme donuts will also move a LOT quicker.

Unfortunately, most of us can see straight through this ‘short-sighted’ attempt to better one’s self. How many folks actually go through with their ‘resolutions’ and how many turn out to be big fat liars? More than I’d thought actually (more on that  in a moment).

A couple of years back, I wrote an attempted ‘humorous’ post on the very idea of New Years Resolutions. This year however, I’m slightly less cynical and a lot more optimistic (with a heck of a lot less hair).

And here’s why.

Interestingly from The Top 10 New Years resolutions for 2012…

Resolutions such as ‘Lose Weight’ (rank #1) and ‘Stay fit and healthy’ (rank #5) are top 5 regulars year after year. In fact, self improvement or education related resolutions took up 47% of all resolutions made, whilst weight related resolutions took up another 38% (money and relationship resolutions fill the remaining percentages).

Now, this is where my cynicism for New Years Resolutions ends and my enthusiasm for ‘goal-setting’ begins

People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.

That my friends, is reason enough for ANYONE to be at least setting some kind of goal for 2013. Naturally those goals need to be realistic and mildy achievable.

You can’t go around aspiring to be Batman on New Years Day. That sh*t will leave you slightly disappointed especially once coupled with an expensive costume hire bill.


To give you an idea of where I’m coming from

Much in the same way I find forced-romance on Valentines Day a little contrived, it doesn’t necessarily make it a bad idea. Injecting love into the world around us, getting closer to the one you love and showing them how much you care blah blah blah are all good things no matter that it was someone else’s idea to make money from it via the sale of flowers, chocolates and gift cards (dang I wish I’d thought of it).

Just because you’re being somewhat ‘forced’ to make a life-change on January 1st to lose weight and/or improve your physique, that’s not a bad thing either.

We perhaps all need a bit of a ‘push-and-shove’ in the right direction for at least some of the time. The reason being…

Humans love being told what to do and when to do it

I think the next idea on any aspiring political leader’s agenda should be to introduce ‘National put down the fork and go for a walk day’ – a day where the entire nation ‘fasts for 24 hours’ and does at least 1 hour of exercise.

Broad strokes for sure, but this is just an example idea. The uptake I believe would be massive — being told to do something, WHEN to do it (especially with a large percentage of the population involved), would motivate even the most stubborn detractor.

Ever notice how important it is to be ‘seen’ to be doing something exciting for New Years Eve?

Even the most jaded and cynical person likes to have an interesting story to tell when asked the same question every single year: “What did you do for New Years Eve?”.

If a friend is doing something interesting or exciting, we feel the NEED to be doing something equally as exciting, or perhaps even ‘trump’ it with something slightly better. (It’s this kind of mentality that makes me believe a kind of ‘forced’ health and exercise day might actually work).

A desire to set a goal needn’t be shunned. It should be rewarded (no matter what the pretence)

Resolutions create conversation and become a starting point for a healthier, longer life. Goal setting needn’t coincide with January 1st, but why in the hell not?

If it gets you started, I see no problem in falling victim to it’s curse (but at the same time being 10 times more likely to succeed than someone with zero goals and desires for self improvement at all).

So off you go — if you’re fresh to training and bettering your life and it’s all due to a ‘resolution’, then power to you. Set those goals and try to stick with them for the long-haul (the tricky part).

To those that are doing what they’ve always done (train, and maintained good health year round) try not look down your nose too much at those that are at least ‘giving it a go’ for the very first time. Sure they may fail, but they are considerably more likely to succeed with your support.

Happy New Year  everyone and welcome to Twenty Thirteen :)

Statistical source: University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology Published: 12.13.2012

Over to you…

What are your goals for the New Year?
Made any resolutions that you think you’ll keep? What are they? Drop your comment bombs below.

Clint Nielsen

Author Clint Nielsen

Clint is a dad and husband trying to stay in shape. He's also a highly opinionated fitness enthusiast and author of Reveal The Steel. Follow him on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+

More posts by Clint Nielsen

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Ash Menon says:

    I can definitely relate to this, Clint. 2 years ago I took a New Year’s resolution to get in shape, and I signed up for a short-term personal trainer package, just to kick start things. I didn’t achieve my goal that year, and even the year after that, but those sessions I had taught me a whole lot about fitness, about my mentality towards it, and what was really holding me back.

    Now, I still am not at 100% of that goal, but I’d consider it about 20% there. And every time I want to give up, I remind myself that I’m 20% further along my goal thanks to that one impulsive New Year’s resolution.

    Happy New Year, Clint!

    P.S. I noticed you have a blog comment and also a FB comment system, is this an error?

    • Clint says:

      That’s exactly what I’m talking about Ash. The ‘seed’ has been planted, and it doesn’t matter how it got there.

      Congrats on your progress though. You’re not far from your goals at all.

      The Facebook comments are in addition to the standard ones (for those that don’t wish to login and prefer FB)

  • I stopped making mandatory new year's resolutions on NYE years ago! I can actually come with one at anytime. I do however make goal settings and just one or two.
    Last night at a friends gathering someone asked about people's NY resolutions. So right there I made a reinforcement of a mid year resolution and made a new one that has been in my mind fro a while :-)
    Goal setting works better for me.
    Happy New Year!

  • DeeDee says:

    I think part of the whole New Year’s Resolution thing is the feeling of starting with a clean slate. Now that last year is gone it’s easier to put any failures behind you and start anew with a fresh new set of 365 days.

    • Clint says:

      I agree. The hardest thing with that though is ‘sticking to the plan’ after the music has faded come the end of January. Many of us have forgotten about last years failures (if there were any) by then. Making yourself accountable for new ‘goals’ by sticking to a plan of attack will give you a much better chance of success.

  • I think for these New Year Resolution, We need write down and take serious. We don’t need 10 resolution, list 1 or 2 things we really can stick on it.

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