Lethbridge Herald

Too much pressure to make resolution­s

- Al Beeber Al Beeber is a writer/editor on the staff of The Herald. His opinion column appears each Saturday.

It’s a new year with more resolution­s to break. By now, 11 days into it, some of those plans made in December have already fallen by the wayside as reality — and maybe sobriety — kick in.

We all know the routine. As one year winds down, we get all philosophi­cal and maybe a little melancholy so we decide to make changes. And this time we are definitely going to stick with the plan.

Get rid of toxic people, eat more vegetables, quit drinking, put me first, be kind to strangers, think about the environmen­t and hit the gym. Those are probably some of the most common ones and I’m sure you can all add many more to the list.

Usually, I tell myself I’ll clean the car once or twice but that never happens so I didn’t even bother thinking about that idea, not when I have a black Lab who brings every stick he finds at the river back to the car with him.

The most common resolution is probably to get more exercise. In my case, I don’t know how that’s really possible because as I’ve written before, I walk a lot. Every morning at 6:15 I’m out the door with the dogs who on most days get two good walks and sometimes three. Last Sunday they got five because sad eyes get me every time. I’ve slacked off a bit on the walking since tweaking a knee on ice in December but despite the pain, I’ve still managed to get in about seven miles a day, which I’m kind of regretting after seeing the doc this week since I have some issues with it.

I did decide that maybe I should try using my gym membership — which I’ve held since I came to Lethbridge in 1987 — a little more often than last year when I probably averaged twice a month, while missing a whole bunch of months.

This year, I’m resolving to make better excuses if I don’t go because the last bunch were pretty lame. In January and February, I blamed the weather even though I walked the dogs every day even if it was -30. My rationale was that it’s uncomforta­ble wearing cold gym clothes, which I could easily enough have brought into the house every day. That didn’t stop me from playing hockey in the ’80s and ’90s when the equipment bag never left the trunk.

When dad died in March, I milked that excuse until the cow was dry. That didn’t make any sense either but I figured it sounded good. People tend to be sensitive about death so nobody ever questioned me on that one. Talk about a mulligan.

The worst excuse I used was the dogs look sad — and they do but I think that’s just the way they look anyway, especially the Lab who also looks perpetuall­y confused. And when I’m at the office, how do they know I’m going to the gym?

So I’m calling my own bluff this year and have decided to try not being lazy and anti-social. So far, I’ve worked out more this month than I did in any single month in 2019 so that’s a good start.

At 60 lifting isn’t as easy as it once was — maybe it would be if I’d gone to the gym more often last year but I think age is a good excuse for my declining muscle mass. Still, I think to be doing the gym as a senior would have impressed the 40year-old me who used to load up on creatine and slam the weights until I blew four discs in my neck and needed a fusion. The 25-year-old me who wore man-perm, spandex and white high-tops probably wouldn’t have believed I still go but in the Eighties, I don’t know how many of us even thought about being 60. We were too busy using picks on our hair and watching MuchMusic videos.

Changing diet is always a plan with some for a new year. Eat less meat, eat more fibre, drink more water. In the Eighties, my friends and I would have probably said “Pabst has water” and just gone with that. And I guarantee you we drank a lot of “water,” especially after hockey, curling, softball and because it was Saturday.

But now we are more health-conscious and know we have to make wiser choices. This means buying quinoa and lentils — and leaving them in the pantry for six months because a loaded baked potato goes way better with a barbecued hunk of Alberta beef.

By now many dietary dreams have shattered like glass on a concrete floor because there is just too much pressure to make a monumental change overnight.

A new year isn’t really all that new — it’s just tomorrow. There’s nothing to say that 6 a.m. on Jan. 1 is going to be any different than 6 a.m. on Dec. 31. It’s still dark out, the moon is the same size, the trees in the backyard haven’t grown. Nothing physical is different.

A new year isn’t like a light switch — you just can’t turn on change.

The change has to be in our heads and our hearts and anything other than superficia­l change is tough to maintain. We can expect too much from ourselves if we make a bunch of resolution­s that aren’t realistic so why feel guilty for 11 months because we fall flat less than two weeks into a new year?

Bleep that and I don’t mean bleep. We just need to go with the flow and do what we feel comfortabl­e with.

One resolution I see people making that really bothers me is the new trend of intermitte­nt fasting — which I knew as poverty when I started my career 40 years ago.

It wasn’t a health plan, it was pure and simple poverty. It worked, mind you, and worked well.

There’s nothing like eating unsauced, unsalted donated spaghetti once every two days to lose weight. Starvation worked like a charm for me.

But resolving to intermitte­ntly fast on purpose has no hope of working if we aren’t motivated or desperate. Going hungry I never thought was a great diet plan 40 years ago. It actually was pretty miserable. If I’d known while eating once a day or every second day because I was flat broke that this would be something people want to do, I probably could have made a fortune selling the idea in a book. The last time I fasted was for a colonoscop­y and that wasn’t fun, either. Mmm, broth, mmmm.

But now fasting is becoming a thing. So was eating Tide pods. Think about that for a second.

So how about we just resolve not to be stupid this year? Now there’s a tough one to keep for 12 months.

Follow @albeebHera­ld on Twitter.

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