A friend of mine who we’ll call James is one of those awesome, perpetually optimistic assholes people who always look at mistakes through rose-colored glasses. Aware that his struggles with weight loss are tied to his love of fun and drinking, he is forever swearing off drinking completely then giving in to a beer or two and swearing it off all over again. “Day 1,” he will text me after each relapse as he climbs back on the horse. Sometimes it is weeks between Day 1 texts. Sometimes they are on back-to-back days.
January 1st is a day one of sorts for all of us. Resolutions are the good angels on our shoulders telling us we can do it through however many days, weeks or months we care to listen before brushing that little mofo off. But there’s no reason that we can’t resolve to change February 3rd or March 18th or every.single.day.
Every day we are just as strong and happy as we make up our minds to be. The only caveat I would add is based on a quote from an unlikely source for me, Oprah (unlikely because I am not fond of Oprah the same way Al Bundy is not fond of demanding fat ladies, the same way the Indian guy manning the counter at the corner market is not fond of deodorant though in the latter case one hopes he is actually just allergic). What matters is that I once read an article where she talked about all of the diets she has been on over the years and how they have affected her. She said that we all have those friends who cancel on us over and over, usually at the last minute. Eventually we catch on and if we agree to make plans with them at all we never do so without suspecting that they will cancel and we can never truly look forward to the plans because they might fall through. She compared this awful friend to the promises a dieter makes to him or herself. Break one and it’s an anomaly. Break two and you get a little cautious. But break dozens of promises to yourself that this time you will follow through with your health and fitness goals and eventually even you don’t really believe yourself deep down where it matters most.
So my point is this: it is never too late to start. Or start over. And you will never actually run out of chances to change. That is, unless you stop believing in yourself. If you are like Oprah and a little less than convinced that this year, this diet will be The One then I challenge you to do something that proves you wrong. Get on a treadmill and run longer or faster than is comfortable. Make a list of ten fruits and vegetables you have never tried and try each one to see what might stick. Tell that friend you have who is nuts about working out, the one you never tell that you’re on a diet because they will keep you accountable, that you’re serious this time. Go on a hike somewhere you have never been without listening to those voices that say you aren’t the hiking type or that it’s too cold or that you could get lost. Because you might get lost or you might already be so far lost that this is your last, best chance to be found. Happy New Year, Everyone!
Miles so far: 13