“Tomorrow you’ll wish you had started today.”

Now that it’s December, we’re just days away from one of my most dreaded times of the year – January. I don’t hate on January because it’s cold, I curse it because it’s the worst time of year at the gym. There’s suddenly wait times for cardio machines. The weight room is packed to the point that scoring bench or time on the cables feels like winning the lottery. And the parking lot becomes unbearable – that’s if you can even find a spot. It’s all thanks to a little something I despise: New Year’s Resolutions.

At first blush, people may chalk up my hatred of New Year’s Resolutions and a suddenly-crowded gym as me being a snob. Yes, I get extremely annoyed when I have to wait for a treadmill because of all the newly-inspired walkers and runners. Yes, it frustrates me when I can’t use the cables because a newb thinks it’s a great space to do pushups and calf-raises. But the part that pisses me off most is knowing 95% of these new members are rarely going to return past Valentine’s Day so there’s really no point to them being there and making the rest of our lives more difficult for a few weeks. I know, could I be more of a snob?

Furthermore, as someone who loves health and fitness, and encourages others to make a place for it in their lives, you would think I’d love New Year’s Resolutions and respect that people are taking the first step towards a healthy lifestyle. False. What I love is helping people who are serious about starting and sticking to a routine. What I respect is seeing the same people week after week, gutting through tough workouts. Believe me, if you’re new at the gym, I don’t automatically look down on you. If you’re serious about working hard and sticking to it, I am the nicest, most encouraging person. I love when people ask me for advice or to put together a multi-week workout plan or to show them some new lifting moves. I never get annoyed waiting to use the cables or my favorite treadmill when it’s being used by a regular gym-goer. I respect what they’re doing and would give them a high-five when they’re finished… if it wouldn’t seem weird.

But I have no love or respect for New Year’s Resolutions. I think they’re almost as bad as The Biggest Loser (what, you thought I’d be a loyal supporter of that show?). I think it’s time I explain the reasons I hate them. It’s because they both give people an excuse to delay their health and fitness goals and, worse, sets them up for failure.

If you’re really serious about wanting to start an exercise routine and eat better, why wait? There’s no better day to start than today – not tomorrow, not next Monday, not January 1 – today. Delaying the process to some ideal start date isn’t going to magically make it easier or guarantee success. It’s going to be hard work and take a ton of effort, regardless of when you start. Delaying is just lazy and an excuse not to do it now.

And don’t even get me started on the failure rate of New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t know what the statistics are of how many resolutionists fail and, quite frankly, I don’t care. I don’t need to know the stats, I see them, year after year.

Let’s be honest, there’s never an easy or ideal time to try to start a fitness or healthy eating routine. But trying to start in January? That’s just gotta be one of the worst. Think about it:

Is there a worse time:
1. To force yourself out of your warm bed or off your cozy couch in favor of heading outside for a run or to the gym?
2. To pass up a warm, comforting bowl of mac and cheese in favor of a cold salad and skinless chicken?
3. To try to learn cardio machines and brave the weight room than when it’s the most crowded it’s going to be all year?
4. For those who are self conscious than being around that many more guys in muscle shirts and girls in spandex? Oh, all that spandex…
5. For those who are intimidated to try group fitness classes than when they’re packed and only those who know to get there early even get a spot?

And is there a worse time to stay motivated for all of this than when it’s sooo easy to hide in baggy sweats and layers, or slip into big sweaters and forgiving stretchy pants?

If you must make a New Year's Resolution, make it this.

If you must make a New Year’s Resolution, make it this.

Health and fitness can’t be a resolution. It has to be a long-term commitment to a lifestyle. That’s it. No getting around it. Instead of following the sheep and putting a start date of Jan 1 on when you’re going to finally make a change, think instead to a milestone down the road. Sign up for a 5k that’s three months from today. Focus on the “end” date to give yourself the motivation to stick to it – but then, don’t stop there. Have you always wanted to feel more confident or be stronger? Keep that in mind, day in and day out, to stay committed to yourself. After a point, the positive effects and lifestyle will begin to set in and you’ll just want to keep going. Will it be easy? No. Will it be worth it? Yes.

Am I being too harsh on resolutionists? What are your thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions now that Jan 1 is near? Comment below or tweet me @runlikeagirl311.

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