Since we are experiencing a “New Normal” on a daily basis, I propose a New Year’s resolution in the fall. I know it isn’t cool to make New Year’s resolutions anymore, but it is so ingrained in our culture that you’re lying to yourself if you don’t think about making them every year.
Personally, I never thought January 1 was a good time to start any new endeavor. Here’s my rationale. We just went through the busiest and most chaotic quarter of the calendar year with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most of us look forward to the holidays, days off from work, quality time with family and friends, good food and spirits. Oh, and we pack on the pounds. I once read that the average American will gain 10 pounds over the holidays and lose all but a pound or two by spring. That is probably how those additional 10 pounds snuck up on us. Seriously, have you ever bought Halloween candy early because it was on sale, only to have to go out and buy more on Halloween because you ate it all? Do you know anybody who said “No dessert for me” at Thanksgiving or didn’t have a Christmas party every week in December? The fact is, we often rationalize our choices during this joyous period by saying those immortal words, “The first of the year I’m going on a diet and back to the gym.”
Now let’s look at what’s in store for all of us who delay making our resolutions until the first of the year, the longest, darkest and coldest days of the year, with no holidays in sight. It’s no wonder bears hibernate. Most of us barely have the energy to get up and go to work, and I think adults wish for snow days as much or more than kids. All of the environmental changes, along with the emotional letdown post holidays, leads many of us to experience depression. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) zaps your energy and makes you feel moody. Talk about facing an uphill battle. It’s no wonder most New Year’s resolutions never see February.
“Start Today” is my motto. Right now, September, is a great time to make a lifestyle change. The weather is still beautiful. The crisp temps and fresh air just make you want to get outdoors and be active. With the departure of summer and the return of school comes routine. Schedules allow us to plan better, including meals and exercise. But the biggest advantage to fall resolutions is that we have the opportunity to establish good habits before the debauchery, also known as “The Holidays”, come about and sink us further in the hole.