new years resolutions

How "Expectation vs Reality" Memes are Ruining Your Goals

I love to laugh -- loud & long & clear. 

Keeping a sense of humor through the difficult process of making goals and resolutions can keep things fun and light-hearted. Laughter is key to making realistic goals and recognizing that you're going to fail sometimes, but it's relatable. Pick yourself back up and keep going.

"Fail" memes and "Expectation vs Reality" memes are some of my favorites. I love keeping things real. It's important to laugh at our human nature to keep some compassion and perspective. 

But as a fitness instructor and personal trainer, I have to admit that sometimes I find myself rolling my eyes and giving more courtesy laughs. I encounter people who want to make changes but they use humor and deflecting to stop themselves from actually improving. 

It's cool to send "expectation vs reality" memes whenever positive change could occur with a little practice. Of course your first attempt is going to be clumsy. Go ahead and laugh about it, but dust yourself off and keep practicing. It gets better.

Instead. . . a lot of people will stop at the temporary roadblock, laugh, and assume that reality means mediocrity and retreat into the old destructive cycle they really wanted to break.

This is where I start to get a little irritated. I'm a recovering control freak so I can't help my annoying habit of analyzing what people need to be happy, healthy, and have it all. In my mind I create an entire life-changing plan for them. It's a beautiful picture. I wish I could share it with you.

But I've learned to keep my mouth shut when people laugh about their diet soda addiction, admitting they need to knock it off, but then in the same breath inviting me to go to the drive-through for both soda AND sugar cookies. Then comes the defense: 

"Ha-ha! I know all the health risks and consequences, but my taste buds are the rulers here. I should change, but I know I'm not going to, so why don't we all go down together?"

How did we get there?

If you got offended, sorry/not sorry. I have nothing against treats in moderation. But people who are on IV drip soda or any other processed, fake foods are in danger. 

The human frailty is funny, but only to a point. 

So this brings me to why resolutions fail. We all know the food groups and the basics of nutrition. But America is still in an epidemic of multiple health crises. Lifestyle diseases shouldn't even exist, but they are among the top killers.

Knowledge isn't going to change you. Habits will. Knowledge and goal setting don't motivate you long-term. Habits are automatic so you don't even have to think about them.

I'm a weirdo. As a kid I didn't really like soda and I could always taste the food coloring in candies and cereals and didn't like it. I ate candy, of course, but I usually only had a piece or two before I was sick of it. My family had a huge garden and I loved fresh vegetables and finished most of them (kale didn't make the cut).

Then in junior high I ate Skittles and soda for lunch almost everyday because a vending machine was installed in the school. I never felt good: jittery, anxious, ravenous, and reactive. But I still ate it because I only needed $1 for my whole lunch. I picked up other American junk-food habits because I live here and the food that's culturally acceptable is what you end up eating.

Result: decades of intestinal trouble, weight fluctuation, yo-yo dieting, disfiguring acne, depression, an eating disorder, etc.

Retraining that habit of unnatural food took way more time -- all the way into my late 20's in fact. When I detoxed from the sugar and chemicals and preservatives it was a painful process.

Expectation:  boundless energy, immediate weight loss, and flawless skin. 

Reality: cycles of breaking out & healing, weight fluctuation, exhaustion, depression, hyperactivity, digestive troubles.

Then the 2nd Reality emerged: boundless energy, gradual sustainable weight loss, and smooth skin.

It took time, consistency, and a sense of humor and compassion, but the Expectation eventually matched the Reality. 

So keep those memes rolling, but remember that they are there to motivate you to keep trying, succeeding a little bit at a time until success is truly automatic and all your goals meet the expectation!

Now it's your turn! I want to hear from you. Comment below and tell me your #1 roadblock to sticking with your New Year's Resolutions! I personally read them all, and I'll talk back to you.