A Fresh Start
This article is for you.
As you sit and scroll, eating and drinking.
Telling yourself Monday, the first of January. You will start your diet.
On Monday, you will reach your 101 different goals.
You’ll lose that two stone
You’ll stop smoking.
You’ll never eat a piece of chocolate ever again.
Unlike every other piece of news telling you how to achieve the goal of your dreams.
I want to tell you something a lot more likely
You will fail!!
You won’t drop that stone you’ve been meaning to lose the past two years.
You won’t all of a sudden become that person you are so desperate to become.
Instead, here’s five reasons why you will fail to reach your resolutions.
1) Your mind is a liar.
“I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful important organ in my body. Then I realised who was telling me this”- Emo Phillips.
Today you are lying to yourself.
As you sit, watching the telly. Eating leftover turkey. Extra chocolate celebrations. You are telling yourself with each bite. “Look it’s Christmas. Fresh start on Monday. It’s the new year”.
The desserts and drinks come along.
Again- “Diet starts on Monday”.
Although you gorge in absolute crap, Your ability to look ahead into the New Year and make plans to change is quite unique.
Only humans have the capacity to be in the present moment and make direct plans for the future, create visions of how you want to be.
I don’t think your dog ever gets too worried about losing weight in January.
You can tell what you want in the future and what you would like to avoid, i.e , lying on a beach is better than scrubbing sh*t off a toilet for 12 hours a day.
This great ability however, is not without flaws.
Unfortunately the brain can’t help but take your current feelings and mood into consideration when looking into the future.
When you decide you want to lose weight, or when you decide you will never eat a slice of bread until the day you die.
Your mind judges how effective this diet will be, based on how hungry/satisfied you are in the moment.
When you make plans for the future. Your mind takes how you currently feel, into account
For instance, a diet is going to feel a lot more appealing after you’ve just stuffed yourself until you either need to puke like the Romans, or go for a nap.
Or why it always seems to be a smokers last drag or a drug addicts last fix.
Ever been on a diet totally starving and cave. Order a curry and gorge.
The mind in that instance couldn't care less about your diet.
So as you dig into your 3rd selection box, telling yourself that you will start again on Monday. Realise that you only believe yourself because you are nice and stuffed right now.
Future you is a different person
And because the brain is so rooted in how you feel right now, our future selves might aswell be a completely different person.
If you could have €100 now or €110 in 3 months time.
Which would you choose?
........Most likely the 100 now.
This is how your mind works.
Think “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”.
So naturally a diet sounds appealing in the future.
“Diet? - No problem, that’s future Kurtis Problem!”,
Right now, you have wine, pringles and leftover selection boxes.
Monday 1st of January??......
That's a problem to be faced later
2) You have no Accountability
Why do you go to work?
No honestly, why do you go to work?
Some surveys say that, almost half of workers hate their jobs.
So, why work?
Why spend ⅓ of your life doing something that you hate.
The reason a lot of people don’t leave is because they can’t. If you leave, there will be repercussions.
When you don’t go to work, managers hold you accountable. If you don’t turn up, you lose jobs, you don’t get paid, you lose your house.
In fitness however, it’s a different story.
In most cases, people think it is the right decision to hold themselves accountable.
Yourself- the person who thinks eating three selection boxes is an okay thing to do.
Yourself - the person who thinks drinking ten pints, or three bottles of wine is perfectly normal.
This is the person you think should hold you accountable to your health?
This is one of the reasons, weight loss clubs work well.
In a weight loss club, If you don’t lose weight, you face the shame and embarrassment of standing on that scales.
But when you let yourself down. What do you do??
“Oh I’m too tired today, i’ll give the gym a miss.”
“Oh I was starving, so I had to eat a burger king.”
“Oh I woke up late, so I went for the fry.”
Lack of accountability = Excuses.
3) You have no strategy
You most likely have a vague idea of how you are going to lose your weight this year.
Maybe you will completely cut out junk food and alcohol.
Maybe you will go walking every single day.
Or maybe you will try that diet, your partner lost 2 stone doing last year.
They all sound great on paper. They give you that sense of a new start, a feeling this time, you’ll finally get your act together.
It’s your New Years Plan and that’s it.
No Second Plans
“In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”- Dwight D. Eisenhower
But what if stuff goes wrong?
“I’ll go on a walk every day”.
-What if it is raining and you can’t walk?
What if the kids are sick and you need to stay home?
“I’ll a weight loss club or join that fella’s gym down the road”
-You decide to you hate the classes. What if you hate their food and feel starved?
What happens if you actually lose the weight? Will you count points forever? Will you eat their microwave meals for the rest of your life?
What about alcohol? How much alcohol do you drink every week? Are you going to give that up forever?
Most people don’t ever consider the commitment to achieve any goal.
It sounds good on paper.
Good in our heads.
But the reality, is always so much more of a struggle.
Everybody wants the baby without the labour pains.
There’s a saying- Trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, is insanity.
Well, starting a diet every year, losing weight, pile it back on, only to try again in January- sounds like insanity.
4) You will do too much at once
The problem with January, is you want to be fit right now.
Guilt ridden, feeling remorse at the box of celebrations you ate every night.
You decide to throw the kitchen sink the first month.
And not without success.
You cut out all the crap.
The booze has been knocked on the head.
You’re jogging every day.
You even decided to put your little lemon into your tea or water, for extra “detox”.
Everything in January is built to purge you.
……..Unfortunately, as most of us know this doesn’t last.
Motivation Fades after January
It can only take one little blip, that one piece of Jenga being removed, for it all to come tumbling down..
The weekend comes and the diet goes out the window.
You wake up late, don’t have any lunch. So, you end up just getting the crap in work.
You’re too tired after work and haven’t cooked anything, so, you get the takeaway.
You get sick for a couple of weeks and all of a sudden it's a month since you were last on your diet.
The Truth about changing
The truth is change is difficult, long, slow and requires constant attention
It also happens to be the exact opposite of what gets sold in the media or in magazines.
On Instagram you see,
“Try this food to burst belly fat!”
“Do this workout to eat whatever you like!!.”
“Give up sugar and the immaculate conception will occur again!”
Based on point number one where, our mind is a liar. You just can’t predict how disciplined you will be in the future. So you try everything because it’s January and motivation is higher.
But this fades and any problem can cause the wheels to come off.
The more you try at once, the greater chance you will fail.
YOU WILL FAIL!
5) You are blind to your environment
When asked what people need to reach their fitness goals. Most people say “A bit of willpower”.
“If I just say no to the junk in the house”,
“If I just don’t drink much with my friends at the party”,
“If I just eat a healthy dinner, while my wife cooks crap.”
"If I just get up earlier and cycle to work".
Time and time again, people think it’s their lack of discipline that’s the issue.
This doesn’t tell the full story. Most of the time people are blind to the environment and how it affects how much is eaten.
If you have bigger plates, you will have bigger portions!
If you go out with friends for drinks, you will drink more alcohol!
If you buy larger popcorn in the cinema, you will eat more popcorn (even if it is stale!).
If there is junk food in the house, you will eat it!
If your wife makes higher calorie dinners, you will eat them.
Most people don’t think this is true, but time and time again it has been shown we are usually mindless in most of what we eat.
Case in point, how the environment affects what you eat. How often have you gone shopping with absolutely no idea what you would like to eat.
You smell something delicious. The sweet smell of cinnamon swarms your nostrils.
Next thing you know, there’s 800 calories worth of sugar and dough stuck on your hands and in your stomach!
Funny how that works.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with starting your diet in January. That boost in motivation can kick start you into action.
But January is just another day, another month.
And it takes a lot more than a Monday and a day on the calendar to make lasting change.
But I know you are not going to listen. So use this as motivation.
Prove me wrong. Even better, take a picture prior to your diet, then document your progress.
I want to see your progress after your January diet.
The caveat though.
I want to see how you are looking
“I told you so” is the one sentence I do not want to tell you.