She perched cross-legged on the couch, laptop balanced appropriately on lap, ceiling fan whirring comfortingly overhead. Her boyfriend perched, her taller, blonder, ever-so-slightly more masculine mirror, across the room. He was so absorbed in Borderlands 2 it had clearly slipped his mind completely that the weapons involved were mere pixels and window-pane-vibratingly accurate sound-effects.
As she glanced over at his intently hunched form, she was reminded that one of her New Year’s resolutions was to keep her spine straighter and her shoulders back (yet relaxed). She puffed a self-impatient sigh through her nostrils as she shifted position accordingly, and adjusted the laptop screen to suit her new, super-adult pose.
Ah, resolutions, she thought to herself. Is there anything that can even cause a person to feel more super-adult?
She did have the vague notion that she had made resolutions prior to becoming an adult, but only in the way that a child resolves out loud to her parent to stop stealing small change from the jar at the top of her grandfather’s closet once she has been called out on it for the first time. Now, as a real-life adult, however, these resolutions had the distinct odor of seriously attempted self improvement. A desire to become better. A determination to finally act on all the indisputable health and well-being information residing in one’s head, that had, for some reason, never really seemed to apply to… one… the way it did in the research to everyone else.
So, what were the rest of these nostril-puffed-sigh-inducing resolutions? To be honest, there were only two more. But to say “only” was to utterly devalue the agonisingly life-changing effort that would be expended on actioning them.
As so completely usual for her, they were simply to:
- Eat healthier, and
- Exercise more.
These two “simple” changes could potentially result in so much life-improvement. Namely:
- Increased life expectancy due to improved health,
- Increased energy,
- Increased body hotness (i.e. decreased body mass),
- Improved sex drive (hence decreased relationship stress),
- Less spending of the monies on junk food,
- More respect (read: less nagging) from her partner,
- Contagion of healthy behaviours to close social connections,
- and (she was sure) many more that she just couldn’t think of at this moment.
However! These two resolutions with two words each were hardly the S.M.A.R.T. goals she had been repetitively taught were pivotal to success. Recognising this approximately nine days after making said resolutions (upon realising that it had been nine days of the new year and no actual changes had occurred), she sat, laptop appropriately on lap, to operationalise her resolutions.
Specific – Measurable – Attainable – Realistic – Timely
Eating healthily: She resolved to eat fresh fruits or vegies every day, whether it be steamed broccoli with dinner and a peach as a snack, or a salad sandwich for lunch and some strawberries for dessert. If there was a healthy option (e.g. multigrain brown bread), she would take it. Furthermore, unhealthy fast foods (pies, McDonalds, deep fried take-aways) were a no go. Ever.
Exercise: She resolved to go to the gym two days per week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) for both cardio and weight training. She would enthusiastically greet her partner’s suggestions that they go for a walk or a bike ride, as opposed to instantly racking her brains for likely-seeming excuses (Oh my headache, my hayfever, my period, my previous engagement, my work). She would do squats.
She would use a food and exercise tracker to maximise accountability (no sneaking in the forbiddens and conveniently forgetting about it five minutes later, for there would now be hard-logged evidence and clearly mapped consequences). This would also provide at least one concrete goal: ideal weight and measurements. The others – increased energy levels, sex drive, health, etc – would be a matter of mindful attention.
She sat back, having noted these goals and outcomes down, feeling committed and confident. The corners of her mouth turned slightly upward as she reached for her artificially sweetened cordial for a congratulatory sip. Then she remembered… that wasn’t all. There were a couple more.
- Drink less artificially sweetened beverages (One Pepsi Max per week).
- Drink more water (2 litres per day, carry water bottle in handbag).
- Drink less alcohol (social occasions only).
- Keep up to date on work (answer emails immediately, log requirements in diary, complete them as they become due!).
- Be more responsible to clients (do not call in sick, reschedule appointments because I don’t feel like working, make excuses, etc).
Okay, Jesus Christ! Her mind cried in dismay. That’s enough! Doing this in the third person doesn’t make it any less painful! God!