Ted Talks: The Agony of Victory, the Thrill of Defeat

By Ted Spiker

I believe in New Year’s Resolutions about as much as I believe in small-size bowls of queso. Why? Same reason you hear over and over—a one-time declaration (“I forbid fondue forever!”) generally won’t stick. That said, I do think that the start of a new year provides an excellent opportunity to push reset, so that you can evaluate where you are and where you want to be, and—most importantly—figure out how to get there. New habits, new challenges, new mindsets. My #JanOne docket looked like this, and this is how I have fared so far this year:

Challenge: Dry-uary

It’s been a long time since I’ve gone a long time without drinking. Along with a group of buddies, I decided I would try to make it through the whole month without any booze. No with-dinner wine, no during- football beer, no after-work bourbon. A formidable task, for sure, especially on day three when our server at our favorite joint brought wine to the table as we were sitting down. I resisted. Time and time again. I did make it to the end (I did have my first drink on 9 p.m. on Jan. 31 for a special social outing, but I’m claiming victory). I learned a lot during that month—mostly about habit-breaking and seltzer-drinking. It wasn’t always easy, but it was a lesson worth learning.

VERDICT: WIN

Challenge: 100-Day Burpee Challenge

Do one burpee on Jan. 1, two on Jan. 2, three on Jan. 3 and so on. By the end of 100 days, you’ll have done 5,000+ burpees. (Burpees are brutal body weight exercises in which you stand, squat, thrust out to a push-up position, do a pushup, thrust to your feet and jump up. That sequence is 1.) I started strong and got into a consistent rhythm, but I bailed about four weeks in. And. I. Couldn’t. Be. Happier. Note: I am still tracking burpees and do have a goal of doing 5,000+ for the year, but having to do them every day like that? Not a pleasant experience when you’re built like a silo.

VERDICT: LOSS (But feels like a win)

Challenge: Schedule Appointments

Having written regularly about health for 20+ years, I know that there’s a large portion* of our health destiny that we can control—prevention with lifestyle choices, treatment with lifestyle choices, diagnostics/early detection to head off problems earlier than later. I’ve let my schedule overrule my good sense, blowing off regular doctor appointments. This year, though, I immediately scheduled four appointments that I have neglected for [time frame redacted due to shame]—teeth, skin, eyes, physical. Now, three of the four are successfully completed, and I only await D-Day (Dammit, I Have to Get on the Scale Day).

VERDICT: LOSS

*Did somebody say large portion?

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