Starting New Year’s on January 1st or 4th?

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.

It’s here.  January 1st.

The day that holds so many dreams, hopes, and wishes.  The day thousands of people believe they will wake up and “just” be a different person.  Although, you might have noticed that this year is a little different.  With the 1st falling on a Friday, I’ve heard countless people say they are just going to wait until Monday to start fresh.

Realistic goals should be something we’re looking forward to achieving.

If we have to wait until Monday, “so that we can enjoy the weekend” what does that say about the goals we’re setting?

  • That we’re dreading them?
  • That we don’t look forward to starting our journey to whatever it is we think we “have to do”?
  • That these goals do NOT fit into our lifestyle.  Not today – and not Monday either.

How successful can we hope to be with that mindset?
What if we first determine why we’d love to reach our goal?
Why we really want to do this – whatever it may be?  Yes, that again.  I know I sound like a broken record.  That’s because it’s important!!  It’s the most important piece.  You know how to do this – you’re not doing it because you haven’t determined it to be more important than all the other things you’d rather be doing.


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As I was out and about yesterday, I heard people say, “they would quit smoking” “exercise more” “do yoga every day” “get married (even though he’s not yet dating)” “lose 60 pounds” “become less dramatic” “enjoy life more” and “stop yelling at the kids”.

===>  Herein is the very reason why so many resolutions fail.

They’re not realistic.

They’re huge!

We think we can change everything all at once.

These are more like dreams for a perfect world, a perfect situation, a perfect life, than goals we actually want to work towards.

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We are not different people this morning.  The cigarettes are still there, and they’re still addictive.  I quit 15 years ago and still, occasionally, feel like I want one. If we didn’t have time, over the past 12 months, to get to the gym or do yoga, it’s unlikely we will “just find the time” starting today.  The girl who told me she would be less dramatic is still dramatic – that’s her personality, and she can be fun to hang out with, because of that.  The kids didn’t likely wake up this morning, little angels sporting shiny halos who will never frustrate you.

The fact is, I woke up the very same person I was at 1215 this morning when I crawled into bed.  So did you.  So did everybody else.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that wanting to improve yourself is wrong.  Far from it.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t set goals.  I’m not even saying that today’s not a good day to get started.  Humans have plenty of hard-wired reasons for being so fond of January 1st, and Mondays.  Here’s a blog I’ve written about that.



What I’m saying is:  life is messy, it’s busy, it’s complicated.  It’s not perfect.  We get pulled in a hundred different directions.  We have to set goals, with small steps that are actually attainable in our lives as they are.




===>  We need to be prepared with Plan B…and C, D, E, N, and R.  We need to have a plan, ahead of time, for the “what ifs”.

What I’m saying is:  getting healthy, getting fit, losing fat and/or weight (the #1 New Year’s Resolution) isn’t easy.

===> But all of those things are simple, if we don’t over-complicated it, AND if we apply a little patience. 

Its not easy     It is simple

It’s not “sexy”.  It’s not “hard-core”.  It’s not new.  It doesn’t promise miracle results.  There’s no secret.  People don’t believe it can be this simple…..but here’s the entire plan.



If you’re going into this change, already dreading it and feeling like you’re going to have to “go without”, you are going to fail.  Period.  You can’t muscle yourself through a major change with willpower alone.  Figure out your why!!!!  For example:  Instead of, “I’m fat and I need to go on a diet” – – “It took me a long time of not taking care of myself to get to this place in my life.  That’s okay. I’ve been busy.  I’ve had a lot going on.  I’m going to show myself the same compassion I would a good friend in this situation, but I deserve better than this.  I want to eat better and exercise because I love being able to walk along the beach without being out of breathe.  I love feeling more confident, and I always do when I’m taking better care of myself.  I know that when I eat like crap, I feel like crap.  No matter how many times I’ve thought the comfort food would make me feel better, it never has.  Not once.  I really want to try something new.  I don’t have to; I want to do this!!”


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Pick the right goal.  When we pick something like “lose XX pounds”, that becomes the focus no matter how unhealthy we are in getting there.  I lost a bunch of weight by going on a cigarette, coffee, and Suzy Q (chocolate, cream-filled cake) diet when I was young and foolish. I went on a grapefruit only diet; a skim milk only diet, and a “drink vinegar before every meal” diet. I lost weight.  Not one of those things was sustainable over the long term.  Not one of them made me any more healthy.  I felt like crap. It didn’t matter. My priority was to lose weight.  It isn’t any more.  My priority switched to, “Eat better so that I feel better.  Exercise so that I move better – and with less pain.  Take care of myself so that I age better.  All of these things will likely lead to fat loss but that’s not my primary goal anymore.  How I feel is much more important than what I weigh.”



Don’t.  Please, please, please, don’t go on some crazy starvation diet today, or think you need to live on salad and water.  Pick one thing at a time to focus on.  Try to cut your soda in half the first week. Then in half again the next, and the next, until you either stop drinking it all together or you have it once in a while as a treat. Decrease the sugar in your coffee a little bit at a time. Stop getting that venti frappuccino (you know who you are…..) every day and get just the grande this week; go for the tall next. Two years ago I changed from lattes to an American or red eye with 1 shot of sugar-free hazelnut and just a splash of milk.  I might have a latte a couple times a year.  It’s not that I stop myself from having them, but merely that I don’t crave them anymore, like I used to.

Drink water!!! If you can’t do it plain at first, put some Crystal Light or Mio in it and work to taper that off as you go through time. I hear some people now, “Oh, the chemicals. How could you even recommend that horrible stuff?” I’m recommending that you make the changes you will actually make to begin with. If you’re not going to drink water unless it has some flavor in it right now, mix in some damn flavor. Do what works for you.


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Same thing with the sweets/treats. I have a HORRIBLE sweet tooth and I love to bake – a bad combination. I have a special meal once a week.  There are no “forbidden” foods; not “good or bad”.  When you identify foods in that way you, you want nothing but the things you’re “not supposed to have”.  I eat a bite of this or that treat throughout the week.  I share a dessert with my husband.  I have a little bit of whatever I’m craving BUT only a little bit.  And I know myself.  There are some things that act as trigger foods for me.  If I have raspberry turnovers in the house, I cannot just have a bite and be done.  So they’re not in my house.  I still have them occasionally but I buy one at a time.  I buy individual servings of chips or chocolate when I get the urge – not the large bag just because “it costs less”.

I remind myself that I am in control. “I can have anything I want but I can’t have everything right now if I intend to meet my goals.” When I do have a special treat, I savor it. I sit and eat it. I don’t play on my computer, talk on my phone, or do anything except enjoy the taste, smell, texture, and flavor of my food.

Go grocery shopping.  Prep as much as you can on the weekend so that you have something ready to go when you walk in from work, ravenous and ready to eat a half gallon of ice cream with a spoon, because you’re hangry.  Cook extra, when you make a meal, so you have some to put in the fridge.



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Once you start to feel better (and you will), add in some exercise. Something you like.  Something you’ll actually do.


Some people like to walk, others run.  Some people like to lift weights, others dance.  I don’t care what it is.  Something.  For 15 minutes (or as long as are able to, if that’s too much).  Build from there.

The important thing is to do something, not try to do everything.


Have you identified some goals you would like to accomplish?  I’d love to hear about them if you’d care to share.

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