New Year’s Resolutions: Four Unconventional Sources of Motivation for Your Health

The new year is quickly approaching, and the turn of the calendar typically marks another arbitrary date where many people promise to eat better, start an exercise program, lose weight and get in shape.  Relatively few people, however, actually stick to their resolutions and accomplish their goals.

The talking heads and experts stand ready to offer tips and tricks that purportedly may foster motivation and contribute to success.  For example, they’ll offer a wide range of advice by suggesting that folks remember that exercising will increase attractiveness and lead to better health, bring exercise clothes to work and schedule a time to work out, develop an interest or hobby that requires physical activity, set goals, pretend that they’re Rocky Balboa or someone who enjoys exercise or suit up in their favorite apparel and wear lip gloss when heading to the gym.

Most of this advice is essentially worthless because it doesn’t address the core issue: a resolution to embrace these new habits is really a commitment to embrace a new lifestyle.  This is a monumental challenge, and in many ways its significance cannot be overstated.  People who resolve to eat better, start an exercise program, lose weight and get in shape are trying to reverse years, decades or a lifetime of behavior that has become fundamentally ingrained in the daily routing.  These change can prove daunting, uncomfortable, and even stressful.  Not surprisingly, even the best of intentions can quickly evolve into a litany of excuses and unfulfilled expectations.

And, let’s face it: most guys aren’t willing to pretend that they’re a prize fighter who wears lip gloss when heading to the gym.  Heck, I may dream of being a fictional prize fighter, but I’m certainly not wearing lip gloss.  At least not in public.

So, without further ado, I’m going to present my own unconventional tips and tricks for fulfilling promises to eat better, join a gym, lose weight and get in shape.  It may or may not help, but at the very least the suggestions are an alternative to those provided by the mainstream media.

TIP NUMBER 1: DON’T BE A THIEF.  Folks looking to adopt a new lifestyle may consider participating in a walk/run, a 5k or some other event that requires training and commitment.  Many events allow participants to secure monetary pledges from family, friends and others that will benefit a charity or non-profit organization.  The concept is fairly straightforward, and is predicated on the expectation that the participant will actually attempt to complete the event.

It can be relatively easy to skip training and not participate in the aforementioned activity.  In this case, folks are only letting themselves down.  Folks who solicit money from others to support their training and participation, however, essentially undertake a responsibility to others to train and participate.  Anyone who fails to even attempt to complete the event are essentially failing to uphold their end of the bargain.

This can be a powerful source of motivation, because it involves not only the desire to exercise but also a moral obligation to participate.  The conscience can be a powerful tool.  Harness it.

TIP NUMBER 2: EAT ALL SNACKS AND MEALS IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR.  NAKED. The honest truth is that most people who truly need to exercise are overweight, obese or simply unhappy with the way they look.  The reflection in the mirror serves as a rather unpleasant reminder of being overweight or obese.  The consumption of unhealthy food in front of a mirror highlights the behavior that led to being overweight or obese.  Being naked only emphasizes the consequences of eating unhealthy foods.

Ultimately, there’s simply nothing appealing about a naked fat guy downing his third chili cheese hotdog, a mountain of greasy fries and an ice cream sundae.  Keep reminding yourself that you don’t want to be that guy.

TIP NUMBER 3: CHANNEL THE EFFORTS OF OTHERS.  Have you seen somebody with a physical disability or injury busting their butt at the gym?  He may have every reason to throw in the towel and stop exercising.  But he’s not.  He’s rising to occasion and overcoming what may be a fairly significant challenge to perform the very same action that you want to accomplish.

He’s able to do it with the physical injury or disability.  What’s your excuse?

TIP NUMBER 4: STARBUCKS AND THE FOOD NETWORK ARE THE ENEMY.  Don’t grab a frapathingie and walk on a treadmill while watching the Food Network.  ’nuff said.



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