One Resolution, Hold the Guilt

I write this as many dejectedly givie up lofty resolutions, the most prominent of which is to lose weight. The problem with this ubiquitous resolution, at least in my experience, is that most people don’t have any desire to whip themselves into shape. But, you say, of course they do—they sign up for gym memberships and swear off chocolate for the real last time every year. They sign up for classes to shred them into shape and demonize the lowly carbohydrate.

Of course, this is the problem. Most of the time, these decisions are not sustainable lifestyle changes—they are too painful. Beyond the “forbidden fruit” effect given to foods we tell ourselves that we can’t eat, beyond the decision to start a P90X program when we’ve been on the couch all last year, there is the guilty suspicion that it need not be so torturous. And of course it doesn’t!

Once a week this year, this month, or just once in this coming week, promise yourself you will do something you enjoy. Something active. Go hiking, go dancing (may I recommend swing dancing?), go for a walk on a sandy beach, play with your dog, do something fun. And when you are done, take a moment to reflect on how nice you feel, how calm or energized or contented or relaxed. This is how it feels to take care of yourself. Then promise to do it again next week.

That is all it takes—and one small, sustainable habit at a time, you can build a healthier lifestyle.

What is your favorite activity? What will you do? Tell us in the comments.

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