“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.”
With the new year 2015 coming up I thought it would be appropriate to talk about life changes and New Year’s Resolutions. This is the time of year that the majority of people make resolutions to become healthier.
After two months of gorging and overloading on salt, sugar and fat, individuals are determined to make up for their lack of restraint during the holiday season by attempting to whip themselves into shape. This is understandable. If I had thrown caution into the wind and gained some weight over the holiday season, I would feel the need to compensate, too. Especially because that weight tends to hang around. The reasoning behind extreme diets and exercise regimes seems to be that since individuals practiced little self-control over the holidays, they must go to the other extreme and exercise an immense amount of control in the beginning of the new year to ‘even out’ the damage done in November and December. As most people know, that doesn’t work. The typical weight gain of 1-2 pounds (1/2-1 kg) per year stays with most people and is never lost after the holiday season.
It may be ironic to bring up this topic on the eve of 2015, but there is no best time to start an exercise or healthy eating regime. Starting a new way of living will not be more successful if it is started in January or June. The best time is always now. Excuses will always come up for why you cannot implement a change today, tomorrow or next week.
January: What if I fail in doing X? I don’t want to be another person who messes up their New Year’s Resolution so I will wait to start X.
February: I don’t want to compete with those individuals who are still actually doing their New Year’s Resolutions so I will wait another month to start X.
March: I want to have a beach body but summer is still months away. I still have time to do X.
April: It’s too rainy, cold, difficult, etc. to do X. I will do it next month.
May: I am so busy with work, school, etc. I will have time for X in June.
June: Well it’s too late to get a beach body now. There is no point in starting X this month.
July: I want to relax this summer. I can do X another time.
August: I am so busy with school starting this fall! I have no time for X!
September: I don’t want to do X this month. I will have more motivation next month.
October: Halloween is coming up. I am bound to fail X so I won’t do it this month.
November: There is no way I can do X during the holiday season. It’s too hard.
December: It’s still the holiday season. I will make a New Year’s Resolution and start X in January
…and so the cycle continues
In order to make changes, we cannot live in the future. Changes happen in the present. You cannot change tomorrow for tomorrow will always become today so tomorrow never comes. Life isn’t perfect and it’s crazy to think that there will be the perfect time for anything. This doesn’t only apply for making changes for your health; it also applies to life changes in order to get what you want and make you happier. If you’re unsatisfied with your job, make a change today. Do it now. Don’t wait because the perfect and only time to do something is always in the present.
You don’t have to exercise immense amounts of control in order to make meaningful changes in your life. Yes, I may have gone vegan at the beginning of 2013 in the spirit of resolutions (I couldn’t give up my cookies yet). However, I started making alterations to my behavior long before I started a vegan diet January 1, 2013. I started eating whole wheat bread at Subway before going vegan. I packed my own school lunches my last year of high school (2011-2012) as well. I started exercising more in the summer of 2011. I may have made a drastic change in the beginning of 2013, but I started making small, important changes long before that New Year’s Resolution that changed my life.
What works better is to implement changes gradually. If your overall goal is to be able to run a mile in under 9 minutes and you haven’t ran since your days of physical education in high school, don’t expect much within the first week. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Instead of buying expensive shoes, tons of workout clothes and a treadmill at the beginning of the year, simply start walking around the block for 30 minutes a few times a week. Gradually increase your time and intensity and after awhile you’ll be a running machine. Other changes work the same way. Permanent lifestyle alterations build upon and compliment one another.
I want to end with saying that I advocate for change. However and whenever you find the motivation. If your motivation comes on January 1, 2015 that’s a great coincidence. But there is nothing wrong with implementing change on December 31 or January 2 or any other day of the year. As long as you have a goal to better yourself and you have the motivation to make changes in your life, however small they may be at first, don’t delay.
Start your journey to a better and happier you today.