Welcome to the Golden Weeks -- that blissful time that begins just before Thanksgiving and ends at New Year's. The world seems to be a succulent oyster waiting to be shucked -- lights, merriment, office parties, family gatherings and on and on and on. We reflect on all that has come before us in the past year and then we eat, drink and party our fool heads off.
But jump forward seven weeks to January 2. The Dark Period. The celebrations have ended, the days are shorter, it's cold. If you are like twenty bazillion other people, the beginning of the New Year is going to mean yet another round of resolutions -- to get in shape, work out more often, eat right and lose weight. You hit the resolution hard and strong, giving everything you got! And if you are like 96 percent of those twenty bazillion other people out there, your resolution is going to die a tired, sore, deflated death by the end of January.
So what should you do?
Start your resolution now.
Here are the top reasons why starting a month early will put you on a better path to staying on track and reaching your goals:
1. Money. January is the most wonderful time of the year... for the health club industry. In January, everyone and their cousin will be signing up for gym memberships. And the gyms are counting on the fact that the vast majority of people will stop going in the first few weeks. However, the automatic deduction from your checking account or credit card doesn't stop. And that will cost you money in the long run. Go to the gym in November and December. You are far more likely to get a great sweetheart deal because the gyms are looking to meet their year-end quotas. Even better, you may be able to get the first week or two at a discounted price to see if a gym membership is really the best option for you. You'll save a ton of money and heartache in the long term.
2. Space. The gyms will be empty -- because everyone else is out drinking. There is nothing less motivating in January than to be in an overcrowded gym, vying for the opportunity to use equipment with a group of people who are straining with the first few days of their resolution. I know many active gym goers who avoid the gym in January and wait it out until February so that they are not fighting for space.
3. Pressure. There is so much less pressure. Come January, everyone will have the same goals and if you feel you are dropping behind the pack, you may just give up completely. But right now, you can focus on what you want to accomplish and work at your own pace, without having to prove anything to anyone.
4. Focus. All play and no work makes Jack a dull boy. Yes, Thanksgiving is wonderful. Yes, the parties are fantastic. But six weeks of celebration will put you even further behind the health and well-being eight-ball -- it may even put on a few more pounds -- so that when you hit January 1 you will be even less prepared to put yourself through the gauntlet you have promised yourself.
And perhaps most important...
5. Because there is no better time than right now. You can always put something off. But if you get to work now, you'll actually get to New Year's with a great deal of satisfaction at how you finished your year. And you can't give yourself a better present than that.
Next, we'll look at what you can do to start seeing some results in the next seven weeks -- so that you can be achieving your goals for holidays! Until then, send me any questions you might have at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Work hard and rock on!
For more by Michael Feigin, M.S., C.S.C.S., click here.
For more on fitness and exercise, click here.