Why Resolutions Fail (And What Works Instead)


Sometime around the turn of the year two types of articles are written: 1) articles that tell you to abandon New Year’s resolutions, and 2) articles that tell you to make New Year’s resolutions.

I say, don’t do either.

Consider this an invitation to reframe your resolutions and consider them simple resets.

In the past, resolutions I set were challenging, exhilarating, and high stakes – sort of like gambling. I’d bet it all (my energy, focus, and dignity) and lose it all. What a mess.

After my bariatric surgery, I discovered that in WLS world, resolutions still are popular. There is always a temptation to do the next trendy diet. And we try it because this time it will work.

That’s why diets have been elevated to resolution status. They are exciting and we still think they work. But in truth, they’re often short lived and require massive willpower.

And research shows again and again diets are likely to cause weight gain in the long run.

A simple reset isn’t as impressive or intense. It isn’t a swift, permanent solution. It requires a small choice, not massive willpower. It is a gentle, compassionate, and more enduring way forward.

Behold the simple reset:

  • Choose one small doable thing.
  • Put a ritual or plan in place to reinforce your new behavior.
  • Get enough of the right kind of support, which will help you stay focused, have fun, and direct more energy toward your goal.

One example:

In 2018, I wanted to get into better physical condition, but all I could think about was how hard it is to get back into shape, how far I’d fallen, and how pathetic I was. I told myself I needed to do something drastic.

I joined a gym and signed up for what seemed like an exciting and intense bootcamp with the belief that I needed to be forced to exercise. For a brief time, I pushed myself and ignored the pain and exhaustion. But after two weeks, I quit. I blamed the people who were running the program.

In 2019, I still wanted to get into better physical condition. I decided to reset by reconnecting with my body – by living in and enjoying my body. It was simple. I committed to myself that I would step outside every morning to experience with my senses whatever was going on. I stood still, closed my eyes, and felt the breeze on my face. I listened for distant dog barks or leaves stirring. I searched between the treetops to find the moon by walking out away from the house. I took a few deep, refreshing breaths.

Once I was doing it regularly – and really enjoying it – I added a new small doable thing. I walked a little further from the house each morning. Just to the corner. To this day, every so often I add a new doable thing. My morning practice has become a ritual. It is grounding and soothing and connecting.

The quality of my life is vastly improved. And even though I’m not at some magical number on the scale, I am three million times happier (yes, you read that right – THREE MILLION times happier), have much better stamina, and have trimmed down a bit.

I’m sure you’re wondering how this little ritual directly affects my weight. The secret is that it soothes my soul. It is Emotional Dessert, a practice in life that feels better than food tastes.

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From Katie Jay’s Small Bites newsletter. Subscribe and get your complimentary report: The 21 Most Common Mistakes People Make after Bariatric Surgery at www.BariSupport.com. © 2022, Katie Jay. All rights reserved.