“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese proverb
Why is it that we make New Year’s Resolutions? As humans we tend to like to start at starting points, no matter how arbitrary. We’ll start that new habit next week, next month, next year. Furthermore, we wait until the beginning: Monday, the first of the month, January 1.
When I first came across the above proverb it really resonated with what I had been thinking about heading into next year. Why do we wait until January 1st to start a New Year’s Resolution, when the best time has already past? Had we started last year, July 15th, or 20 years ago we would have already accomplished it. Our proverbial tree would already be mature and we’d be able to rest in its shade already.
But we didn’t do that. So start now. I’m writing this on 12/26/2016. What are you planning for a New Year’s resolution? Why not start now? Another quote I like a lot is from Marcus Aurelius:
“You could be good today. But instead you choose tomorrow.”
If you’re reading this and the year is already underway, choose today.
Do you want to lose weight? Why continue to eat poorly for the next 5 days, putting on more weight just make that weight loss goal more of a challenge.
Why wait until January 1st to go to the gym? Start doing some exercises now. Start with 10 push-ups or 10 squats. Beginning now will make those first few days of getting back to the gym slightly less painful.
Interstate highways have on ramps for a reason; to help you get up to speed before merging into the high speed traffic. If you get on too slow you’ll be clobbered by the other cars. Sound familiar?
One thing I often tell my patients in regards to their diets (though it also applies to any habit change), is that you need to stop thinking about a diet as something you are on or off. If you make a bad choice on what to eat, you’re not “off your diet,” you just had a bad meal. The next meal is another opportunity to make a better choice. The same goes for New Year’s Resolutions. If you miss a day, you didn’t fail; get right back on the horse. Don’t even wait until tomorrow. Do it today.