You’ll start seeing those ads soon. Get in shape. Melt the fat. Lose the holiday belly. Try this supplement. Have you heard of this new fruit extract? Look great without doing a single sit up.
You should ignore all of that. It’s a bunch of lies. You probably know this on some level, but I’m here to remind you.
I’ve watched the most amusing infomercials over the last several winters. Not because I believed in them, but because they’re so fascinating. A couple of years ago, I watched 5-6 videos by this one guy on YouTube. Yeah, he was hot. I enjoyed looking at him. But I also laughed at his promotional strategy. Every video had the same setup: talk vaguely about how great his life is, describe all the babes that flirt with him, then reflect on his wimpy past. Then he’d explain how he did all of this research and finally stumbled across some secret study. A study so revolutionary that all the doctors and personal trainers and gym owners want to hide it from you. Yes, but now YouTube Guru’s going to practically give it away. Not on YouTube, though. You’ll have to buy his fitness plan(s).
Dear magical fitness gurus: please don’t sue me. I’m not talking about one of you in particular. I’m talking about you as a collective. I’m sure you’re very nice people, but I think you spend a lot more time in the gym than you let on in your ads. I mean, c’mon. I look pretty good, and I exercise at least an hour a day. If your plan really worked, then the VS Angels wouldn’t have to do all those weird ab routines.
I’ll spare you the list of diet fads that trend every year. Let’s focus on just one example: The Starbucks Diet. OMG, you can lose so much weight by…eating at Starbucks!? My friends and I laughed at that one for weeks. Why was it so funny? Because there’s no secret behind the Starbucks diet. You know what kind of food Starbucks serves? Petite sandwiches with whole grain bread, and light meats like chicken and turkey. If you ate at Starbucks three times a day, compared to your previous diet of Wendy’s, then no shit you’ll lose weight. Your bank account will lose weight, too. Here’s a tip: start making your own sandwiches and take them to work.
The sad part? A lot of people don’t need some crazy diet. They just need more activity. The one health trend that actually makes a little bit of sense is Fitbit. It encourages people to walk more. That’s great. I have no problem with that. Peace be with the Bit.
And if you don’t want lose weight, that’s fine with me. I’m not here to convince you to do anything. I’m making fun of dieting fads.
Of course, resolutions span much wider than weight loss. People make resolutions about stress management, cigarette habits, anger, time with kids, and pretty much anything else.
People can do what they want. As for me, I’ve never taken much interest in this part of the holiday season. The New Year Resolution probably catches on because late December marks the one time of year when people slow down and think about their life choices.
Nothing’s wrong with that, but it should happen more often. Why pin your goals on a calendar? Let’s try to improve ourselves year round. Aim small. Here’s a step by step plan:
- Tomorrow, I’m going to start using my turn signal.
- The day after, I’ll tip my barista.
- Then I’ll stop blocking the intersection on red lights.
- Maybe I’ll work at my office, instead of taking business calls in the middle of coffee shops.
- I’ll start clearing my browser history daily instead of monthly.
- If I need something from someone under 40, I’ll text them instead of calling and leaving a vague message when they don’t answer.
- I’ll start washing, drying, and folding my laundry on the same day instead of leaving it on the couch all week.
- I’ll leave my girlfriend some warm water after my shower.
- When I have friends over, I’ll ask them to use their inside voices.
- If I’m a student, I’ll pay attention the first time instead of tuning out and then asking a bunch of unnecessary questions and then wondering why my teacher’s looking at me like that.
- I’ll pay more attention to people’s facial expressions and realize when they want to stop talking to me and finish that email they were about to send.
- Bonus: If I see a cute girl, I’ll smile and say she looks nice without expecting anything in return.
- Bonus: If I see a cute girl and she doesn’t smile at me, I’m just going to assume her cat died that morning and she’s inconsolable.
I know what you’re thinking. Jesus, that sounds like a lot of work. It’s easier to make bullshit resolutions now, post them on Facebook, and then sulk when it reminds you of them three months from now. I hate that new thing on FB, by the way, when it shows you some old post as if to say, “Hey, remember that time when you were pretending to be happy?” Anyway, have fun this weekend and drink responsibly. Or drink irresponsibly and then accidentally drop your car keys down a storm drain. That would also work.