The end of the year is almost upon us; a time when people start thinking about New Year's resolutions. A quick, completely non-scientific Facebook poll I conducted revealed about half of respondents have achieved a resolution, and about half don't bother with them.

I've made resolutions, usually weight-related, though once or twice, in an attempt at avoidance, I tried to learn a language or paint watercolors. While my auto-pilot brain conjugated foreign verbs, the rest of it just kept thinking about fat. Unlike some poll participants, I never completed a New Year's goal, neither one related to fat loss, nor language proficiency, nor anything else. I wondered why?

What was meant to honor the arrival of another year had become my favored mode of procrastination. I'd crown a goal as "The Resolution" and shelve it until Jan. 1.

Obviously, I wasn't serious about the goal, or I would have started that day. Since I wasn't serious, I didn't attack it with any zeal - and I'd quit.

Jan. 1 became my death sentence, and I demanded my "last" meal - over and over again. My resolution gave me permission to go hog wild until the big day rolled around.

When the New Year arrived, I'd be 5 pounds heavier from my freely wielded fork, and my excuses would start: The gyms weren't open. I had slept wrong on my left arm. Whatever.

I'd make goal-related gestures. The produce drawers in my refrigerator testified to my intent. The carrots would last a while. The more delicate vegetables fuzzed up and turned scary colors.

I'd wander half-heartedly into a gym. A miniature Lou Ferrigno would rattle off discounts if I signed up right then. I'd sign a contract (my way of forcing my future self to stick to it) and rarely return after the third week. The monthly payment would remind me I was a failure. I'd go eat something to feel better. The cycle would repeat the next year, no goal accomplished.

At some point, I decided to skip the resolutions, join that 50 percent in my poll. They knew something it took me a few years to figure out: If I was truly ready to do something about my situation, then I should start - NOW. If I wasn't really ready, I wouldn't follow through, no matter what day of the year it was.

Save yourself some anguish and self-flagellation. If you have a truly serious goal, start this minute. If it's not serious (and you know the difference), then skip it.

NSCA certified personal trainer Shannon Sorrels has a bachelor's degree in chemistry and an MBA. Her Ahwatukee-based company, Physix LLC, works with Valley individuals and groups to improve their overall fitness. Reach her at (480) 528-5660 or visit

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