New Year’s

WE’VE OFTEN wondered why people will let themselves go for an entire year — overindulging, eating, smoking, drinking, not exercising, glued to the television, stuck in the recliner — and then choose the beginning of the new year to attempt to change all their bad habits at once.

It’s no secret that most people who vow to undergo dramatic lifestyle changes as part of a new year’s resolution usually fall off the wagon or fall far short of their goals or just plain give up even before February rolls around. We have to wonder if people who promise to make many such drastic changes at once don’t secretly hope to fail and constantly look for excuses to go back to their old, unhealthy but comfortable habits. At least that way they can claim to all the people who give them advice that they are trying or at least that they did try.

Too many people, for example, will use their first failure or the first day they fall off the wagon as an excuse to give up the entire attempt to gain a healthier lifestyle. That’s ridiculous. Failure is simply part of the process one must go through in making such a change. If you fall off the horse one day, you get back in the saddle the next day. That’s why the advice to live one day at a time works so well. It’s the long run that counts.

WE ALSO look with some skepticism on those who make a point of loudly announcing to all who can hear about their resolutions involving dramatic lifestyle changes. These things really shouldn’t be anybody else’s business.

People shouldn’t make such changes to impress other people. Most likely other people aren’t going to be that impressed, or they’ll quickly lose interest in hearing about those resolutions. Few things are as boring as listening to someone recite their own accomplishments.

Instead, anyone making a resolution involving a healthy lifestyle change should be doing all that hard, grueling work for the one person who will benefit the most from it — himself.