It’s November 15th. Soon enough to holidays will be upon us, 2013 will really start winding down, and we’ll be moving on to 2014. With 48 days before the ball drops and millions of sloppy, messy, drunken spontaneous make out sessions ensue, it’s safe to say a vast majority of you are looking ahead to your New Year’s resolutions and deciding what’s going to make the cut this year.
I realize how much some of you enjoy this annual tradition. Out with the old, in with the new. A clean slate. After all, who doesn’t love a clean slate? Whether it’s a new semester in college, a new job, or a release from your state’s department of corrections, clean slates are usually something to be savored. For many people, the start of a new year is the ultimate clean slate. A new year, a new you – the feeling is often liberating. The difference (and problem) with the New Year’s clean slate, as compared to some of the instances listed above, is the fact people often approach the New Year’s clean slate by completely letting themselves go in the weeks and months prior…simply because they know they have a clean slate coming.
The (not-so-clean) Clean Slate
No where else do you see this – are you intentionally failing your final exams because you know you have a new semester to start over? Are you screwing around at your job because you know you’ll have a new one to fall back on shortly? Are you going on a shanking spree in the day’s after the parole board granted your release? The answer to all of these questions, is most likely no. You see, in all of these situations it’s obvious your current actions are going to make am impact on yourself and/or future successes…with or without that upcoming clean slate. So why are people spending October through December slouching off, letting themselves go, and reversing the past 9 months of their hard work? Well that’s easy…it’s because they know they have a clean slate coming and can start their “health kick” all over again come January.
That’s the problem though. Letting yourself go for 2-3 months is going to set you up for the perpetual cycle of, one step forward, one step back. When it comes to fitness, it may take a solid 6-9 months to achieve some really amazing things…but only a half-dozen weeks to completely give it all back. It’s a shitty system, but hey, I’m not the one who came up with it.
F-OFF New Year’s
So this year, before you’ve fallen too far off the wagon, what I’m challenging you to do, is say f*ck New Year’s. F*ck the resolutions. And f*ck the clean slate. When it comes to fitness, there is no clean slate. There is only one slate, and every mark, nick, and chicken scratch you make is going to be visible. It’s not going away. So instead of digging yourself a 6 foot hole to climb out of on January 1st, I want you to make an effort, at the very least, to maintain your current fitness levels. This means not downing a tub of ice cream because it’s November and no one is going to see you shirtless anyways. This means not skipping the gym for 25 days in a row, because “you’ve earned it”. It means the 4th happy this week is a bad, bad idea…especially since you can’t control yourself around red wine and bruschetta (ooh giiiiirl, neither can I!)
When January 1st rolls around, the dopamine levels sky-rocket, and that sense of unbridled motivation returns, you’re going to be on the fast-track to taking yourself to the next level..rather than fighting to return to the level you were at only a few short months ago. Want a better approach for the new year? Use January 1st as an opportunity to take stock of yourself – where do you currently stand? What do you want to accomplish in 2014? What’s the plan of attack? This is a much better scenario than starting the New Year fat, slow, and tired due to your “packing it in” back in October.
This year, start the new year off at the top of your fitness game, not the bottom. Leave the New Year’s fitness resolutions and “clean slate” thinkers to the elliptical-only crowd. As for you, you’re not a fitness newbie anymore. You’re tough, you’re strong, and most importantly, you’re smart. So do the smart thing this year, and tell your 2014 New Year’s resolutions to f*ck off because for you, there is no clean slate…just one slate, and it’s the tightest, fittest, and most toned it’s been in years.