Keeping My New Year’s Resolutions Achievable
This is a regular column provided by Ambassadors — employees whose healthy choices are helping them live better lives. Today’s column is provided by Ambassador Aaron Reid.
I stopped making New Year’s resolutions long ago. It had become clear to me that, with every well-intended list of ways I had planned to be healthy in the New Year, I was really just establishing a list of things I was going to fail at.
This year, however, I’ve decided to give it one more try.
Resolutions, I’ve realized, don’t have to be outrageous to have a big impact on your health. So I’m dialing back the ambition considerably. By focusing on keeping my resolutions few and achievable, I’m hoping that 2015 will be the year I conquer my goals.
Here are the three things I have committed to doing in the New Year:
1. Don’t Eat an Extra Meal Because the Pill Bottle Says “Take With Food”
If I were putting this list together back when I had more self-confidence, this resolution would simply say: “Don’t Overeat.” But there are many bad habits that lead to my overeating, and since this year I’m focusing on achievable goals, I’m only targeting one of those habits. Specifically, my heinous habit of using prescription medication as an excuse to eat an unnecessary (and unhealthy) meal.
My reasoning, I realize now, was a bit questionable: When my doctor prescribes me medication that is supposed to be taken with food, he is, in effect, prescribing me food itself — right? And since my doctor does not specify what type of food should be taken with the pill, it might as well be a cheeseburger. If my doctor were not prescribing a cheeseburger, he would have specified: No cheeseburger.
Delusional, I know.
This broken logic has led me to combine a lot of good pills with a lot of bad food. It isn’t right, and I’m going to fix it in 2015. (And if I fall short, I may ask my doctor to write me a script for a placebo with instructions to “Take daily. Do not eat for 24 hours before taking.”
2. Stop Leaning on Everything
I’ve recently developed a terrible habit of leaning on things to support myself. Not because I’m tired or wounded or something. Simply to spare myself the discomfort of standing upright under my own weight.
For example, when I open the sock drawer, I usually have one hand firmly planted on the wall behind the dresser. When I’m in the bathroom helping my daughter brush her teeth, I use one arm to prop myself against the counter. And when I don’t use my arms to lean against a wall, it’s usually because I’m leaning my entire body against that wall. I don’t know when I started doing this. It’s like I went to sleep and aged 30 years overnight.
I know the cumulative effect of all this lazy leaning can’t be good, so my top priority this year is to stand up like a normal human being.
3. Act on Motivation When it Strikes
Sometimes it’s hard to hold on to motivation. While I might be eager to tackle my New Year’s resolutions right now, as I write them now, I may not be so thrilled with the idea two weeks from now. So that means I shouldn’t wait.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that it’s best to take advantage of the motivation to improve yourself whenever that feeling strikes you — whether it’s before or after January 1. There’s no guarantee that the motivation will still be there at the precise time you want it, so seize it when you can.
Aaron Reid is a lifelong non-athlete, husband and father of two. Aaron lives in Tukwila near a nice running trail with rabbits, most of whom have never seen him. He began running in 2012 and ran his first 5K that same year. However, his most impressive fitness accomplishment is that he has been sucking in his stomach from the age of 12 to the age of 38.