Resolve not to resolve annually, but daily…

Reflect back to the day you bought your treadmill, joined your local gym, or purchased your new running shoes, or hand weights. Think about the desire, the passion, and the possibilities you felt when you made that purchase – however long ago. What went wrong? Why did you stop? Where were you and what were you doing the day you lost sight of your goals?

It is the New Year’s resolution which, more than any other mechanism, drives people to pursue their health and fitness goals. The new year is seen as fresh start; tabula rasa – a magic opportunity to commit or recommit one’s self to increased exercise and more sound eating choices year after year — after year — after year. Momentarily cleansing, but too often faltered and fruitless, and ultimately demoralizing.

It has been long accepted in the American psyche that each new year provides us a blank canvas on which to paint an image of redemption from goals not met, and opportunities squandered during the previous twelve months. It’s a sort of grown up do-over for each year we exit unfulfilled.

Perhaps because it is only a feel good illusion, the new year’s resolution also serves to push people further back into the dark hole of fitness complacency, more than any other mechanism. Like an emotional boomerang, the new year’s resolution is the throw of one’s unrealistic wishes, into the wind of one’s all but certain reality.

Consider this: that the term new year’s resolution is just a pseudonym for the word regret. We regret that which we have not had the discipline nor the fortitude to achieve or fulfill in the previous year. Within weeks of our commitment, and in the name of passivity, we are likely to forsake the hard hike up the trail toward what we desire, and walk the easier path of television reruns and comfort foods.

We extend these behaviors by a few days at a time after New Year’s Day, then by weeks and months, and ultimately the year slips by us like witchcraft in the wind, leaving us unfulfilled yet again. Then, upon the realization of all the potential which was left unfulfilled, we vow to do better in the coming year.

This breakdown notwithstanding, great successes more often arise from the deepest of adversity. Rarely does adversity come complete with a clean slate date stamped, January 1, at least not the adversities I have known.


New Year’s Day does provide a point from which we can take that first step into a better tomorrow, but so do August 3rd and February 12th. The New Year’s Day effort is usually followed by nary a second step, because it is the second step which takes work, and there is much less effort in making a resolution than in fulfilling one. A new year’s resolution it seems, is less a tangible quest and more a release of accumulated guilt.

In all of this, it is most tragic to me that those who make new year’s resolutions usually direct their intentions toward improved fitness and health. Though of sound intent, to relate things of such importance as one’s body and health to something so inconsequential and trivial as a new year’s resolution is to devalue the importance of a healthy and functional human body.

I’m not trying to suggest that we don’t make new years resolutions; they have their place. Not however, in relation to your fitness and not in proximity to your good health. Your body and your health deserve better. New year’s resolutions should promote things which will not lower your self-esteem or devastate your psyche when they are left unfulfilled.

With every stretch of the arm to withdraw a healthy food from the pantry, with each passing of the sofa and television enroute to do your exercise, with every glance at “lighter fare” section of a restaurant menu, you should resolve to do what you know to be right – and you do know what is right, 365.

I have known many fitness successes through the years, and I’m proud to have aided in more than a few. No fitness success story that I am familiar with was date stamped January, 1st. The best fitness accomplishments I have seen unfold before me have all been the result of a strong will, a truckload of effort, and a blazing desire to begin making changes on June 26th, just as much as on January 1st.

Your body deserves better than to be a new year’s resolution. Your personal health and aesthetic fitness are worthy of an ongoing resolution; a daily affirmation and commitment to good health and fitness which should be resolved with each moment that thoughts of these cross your mind.    Be wll.  rc

29 responses

  1. What a beautifully written, powerful, insightful column, Roy!

    I guess, even though I am a minority in this way, I have long been directionally oriented. I remember getting on my bike as a child, and just riding, no goal, no destination, only limited by the long reaching bell my mom rang to alert us it was time to come home.

    So it has been with my fitness voyage. Little did I imagine, that with that first run of one mile, I would now have circled the globe with all the running I’ve done.

    Perhaps if I had been warned, or been a little less driven, it would have been a failed resolution to be attempted next year, but it wasn’t, and hasn’t been, and that has made all the difference.

    Be well, stay well, my friend, on your voyage of vision that you have so graciously shared with the rest of us.

  2. Dr. J: Thank you for the gracious comment. If I ever make enough $$$ for early retirement, I will spend all my days pursuing Nike, in order to have them release and return the phrase “Just Do It” back to the American public. It’s as though they stole it from folks like you and me. Any day of the year, if the time is there, I will push to do something – anything physical, and I know you do the same. Hope you do some happy flying in the next few weeks.

  3. As usual, a wonderful column. I’m astounded you come up with such original, witty material on a regular basis. I don’t really need inspiration to maintain a steady presence at the gym but still look forward to your columns to continually tweak my workout regime. Keep up the good work–and what about this move to a larger facility–please tell….

    Happy Holidays,


  4. Roysef,

    Loved this one, I am going to forward it to some friends for a Christmas present. I however am going to make some resolutions, they are more like visions…….Every day….Visualize what my perfect is…….TW

  5. Roy, another amazing post! I blog the same message.. why wait till tomorrow or Monday or the new year! Today is the day! I say this even with non-fitness goals. For many, you wait that one day or more & then those insecurities & fears set in & you never start. I know about this because although I am great with fitness goals, it is the stuff outside the gym that hampers me…. what to do with my life! What do I want to be when “I grow up”. & all that stuff!

    Congrats on the new & larger facility. Can’t wait to hear how it all went & very happy holidays to you & I know a wonderful 2010!

    By the way, loved this: remember, peace is not to be found, but to be created..

  6. Doug: Thank again for the kind words. I wish more people were as regularly inspired to exercise as you are. It may be the badminton that gets you to workout, but there is no doubt in my mind that the good feeling exercise brings, is what keeps you doing it.

    Mrs. Wolfie: Thanks for passing this along — I appreciate it so much. Love the daily visualization. Build each day, from scratch, to suit you and you can’t go wrong! Give my love to the Tike — 20 ears later, I still miss our “leg” days.

    Willie, ehr, Mom: Thanks for making me litterate.

    Jody: Thank you for taking the time. I agree, why start tomorrow what needs begin NOW! As mentioned previously, I don’t always comment on your blog, but I do read it daily, and there is a reason you are one of just a few links I have on my own. As for what to be when you grow up; I suggest fitness junkie, blogger, and Grandma — you seem to have that mastered 😉

    Happy Holidays All!!!!

  7. How ironic that you write this at a time when you are making such big changes in your life and your business. Your own resolution of sorts… one to go bigger and better than before, to bring daily fitness into more people’s lives.
    You only need to go back into which you have written today to find the strength to get through the long weeks ahead. It is like you said, “…it is the second step which takes work, and there is much less effort in making a resolution than in fulfilling one.”
    Happy New Year Roy. May your “..strong will, a truckload of effort, and a blazing desire..”, make 2010 your best year ever!


  8. Roy, I could not agree any more. If the motivation to get fit is fed out of guilt, fear, regret, or shame, it will just not last. As I say in my latest post, getting fit is about commitment and fun. You must have both to succeed, and negative motivations will fail. Thanks for another insightful post, and happy new year!

  9. My resolution day was December 20th of 2010. You’re are so right in your words! My motivation came not from trying to follow the date stamped on the calendar marking a time-honored tradition, but from realization that my future begins now (or 12/20) and times a-wastin’! With release from my previous bond(age) I find my health and fitness has become a normality of reality and not lightly taken act.

    Live long & prosper my friend! (holding up the Vulcan hand sign)

  10. Very well done Roy…

    I resolved on 4/18/2010 to make a better me after a long period of angst. I resolve today, as I did that day, to do that each & every day which I continue to walk amongst the living.

    Happy New Year!

  11. I really like this.

    Much of what you’ve said here is the reason why I no longer make New Year’s resolutions. If we want to make changes for ourselves, we should take action TODAY – not wait for Day One of the New Year.

    “I’m not trying to suggest that we don’t make new years resolutions; they have their place. Not however, in relation to your fitness and not in proximity to your good health.”: this really spoke to me. You’re right – health is one area of our lives that deserves that constant attention.

  12. Okay what the hell? This post didn’t show up as a new post in my reader. Maybe because it’s a recycled one? I don’t know. At any rate, good post, lots of your famous Roy no-nonsense approach.

  13. Seems blogger has decided to show only some of the posts I am subscribed to. Glad I checked.

    I don’t make New Year resolutions anymore. I used to have long lists I would forget even before January was over. I am trying to be more aware of my goals every day though I admit it is not easy.
    I look at the usual beginning of the year crowds at my gym and think that maybe at least some of those people will stick to their resolutions and that is good.
    Maybe what we all need is morning resolutions, reminding ourselves what it is we want to be upon waking up.

    I think I will just subscribe to your blog via email. That ought to work, right?

    Have a wonderful New Year, Roy.

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