New Year’s resolutions have been a part of history since 2000 B.C. when the Babylonians began their New Year by repaying debts to their borrowers. These old traditions are woven immensely into the fabric of our society. Disregarding this practice during the past is as imaginable as ignoring New Year’s Eve in Times Square today.
However, defeat has seemingly become its own tradition in contemporary America.
Chances are you made yourself a special New Year’s resolution to lose those extra pounds that you gained while eating delicious sandwiches from the food trucks before that cheerful midnight on Jan. 1. Chances are almost equally high that you didn’t take the extra steps necessary to keep it, at least not for long.
So why even bother having a resolution in the first place?
I would guess that these pipe dreams are just a cry of desperation. We see all sorts of models on television, posing their chiseled chest or voluptuous backside in order to create the illusion of the perfect figure. Our self-image is at constant war with Ryan Gosling or Megan Fox, and we are losing the battle.
We all want to have the perfect body, but some of us struggle to maintain the discipline needed to get the job done. This is why so many people fold on their pacts so quickly. This is why these resolutions are useless. If you do not put the effort to maintain a consistent routine, you will never accomplish your goals.
Sometimes, we just need some form of assurance to compensate for our failure of losing the beer belly while chugging Bud Light at the Draught Horse during the early part of the year. You probably started off by exercising slowly, possibly adding a few more reps at the IBC Student Recreation Center. After some time, the routine becomes sporadic. You begin to work your creative muscles instead of your chest muscles by making excuses for skipping your workout. A few months pass by and you decide to sleep through the semester, and give yourself a pat on the back for trying. Finally, your body becomes an eyesore and you decide to change your lifestyle once again.
I understand the insecurities that flow through the mind: We can’t help but procrastinate and delay the inevitable; you will simply put if off and find the closest McDonald’s.
The New Year’s resolution is like a rickety, crude contract my 8-year-old niece can make from crayons and construction paper: It’s cute, but does not hold weight. We all have taken this sacred oath in one form or another. Each year, we proudly announce our stance for a life-changing goal. Most of us have something we want to change about ourselves, and we try our best to redeem our unmotivated ways by finding fast alternatives.
Since so many resolutions have something to do with changing body structures, information regarding beauty and health is easy to obtain. However, after months of gathering tips from the Internet, our laziness has generated bodily handicaps in the form of extra pounds, low self-esteem and frequent trips to the 7-Eleven on Liacouras Walk. The wonderful dress you bought last year now resembles a skintight nightmare that could be mistaken for a straightjacket. This is the time when we usually plead to ourselves to stop being lazy, and construct a plan that will eventually wither away.
So what is the solution?
Discipline. You don’t need to rehash broken promises made in the past year to accomplish your goals. As the old Nike commercials said, just do it. Stop procrastinating and begin a routine that fits your lifestyle. Do not create impossible goals, but devise a plan to organize your life in small, simple steps.
I never understood the idea of setting goals for the New Year, as opposed to starting any time. If you truly want to lose weight, save money or anything else that you want to change about yourself, why can’t you start now? Forget making senseless pacts with yourself, and start jogging today.
Edward Barrenechea can be reached at email@example.com.