Death of the New Year’s resolution

I bet you all think I’ve gone and disappeared again! But I’m still here, and I really mean to not disappear again!

For at least a month!

That’s one of my New Year’s resolutions. And I’m rather impressed with myself for having one of those, seeing as I’ve been Cynical Cynthia (not having believed in resolutions) for the last, I don’t know, hundred years.

And why not?

Because I think New Year’s resolutions are an escape hatch.

Say you get tired of doing something, like yoga and eating rabbit food. So you tell yourself, oh never mind, the NEW YEAR is coming up; I will resolve to get back into yoga and rabbit food then, promise! (Never mind it’s only April.)

I didn’t want to be part of all that procrastination and denial. (Like I don’t already have enough of that in my life, haha.) Really, I thought, it’s do or do not. There is no faffing about waiting for the right time.

 

Do or do not?
Your subconscious knows best.

 

But some time last month, while not doing yoga, I had an epiphany. (Which goes to show you don’t need to be a yogi nor feed on cotton balls to have epiphanies.)

My epiphany was that not believing in NYRs was doing duck all for my goals.

People have a tendency to set their goals aside and, I don’t know, play a video game, instead.

It’s so easy to get sidetracked, lose focus, fall by the wayside, eat a whole pint of chocolate ice cream in one sitting.

 

Eating chocolate ice cream
Hey, let’s get some cookie dough ice cream next.

 

(If you’re one of those wack jobs who have earned a PhD, scaled Mount Everest twice, mastered five languages, invented a working time machine and published a hundred books by the time you’re 20 years old, go away. Just go away.)

I see now that NYRs, at least, remind us to refocus and get those bucket lists ticked off. It doesn’t matter if you keep getting sidetracked and have to keep renewing the same resolution every year. At least there’s a chance of succeeding one day.

(ADHD type people like me probably need a whole new strategy altogether, but I’m going to leave that problem for another time.)

By boycotting NYRs, I was basically allowing myself to be sidetracked for longer periods of time. I would enjoy the constant companionship of ennui while thinking, “I don’t need a new year to start doing that thing, I can just do it whenever, duh!”

But “whenever” comes rather infrequently, you’ll find.

 

Whenever - AKA why you never get anything done.
Whenever never comes.

 

Now, instead of thinking of NYRs as some dork invention, I’ve decided to think of them as a kind of parental discipline.

When you get to a certain age, you realise that parents are always right (the non-psycho ones, anyway). When they say DO YOUR HOMEWORK NOW, it is backed by all the wisdom of 14 billion years worth of universe. Meaning, disobey me and you will become a tramp, see if I care. (Actually, I do care, so go do your homework.)

Come 2016, I was determined to obey my figurative parents. My first resolution on the list was to be an early riser.

I’ve struggled my entire life to wake up early but have never quite succeeded. I have tried, honestly, about 3,482 times, despite being genetically predisposed to be an owl.

About 4 am to 12 pm would be my ideal sleeping time. But I want to be more in sync with the rest of the world (that is, pertaining to my familial and social circles).

 

Sync in progress. Do not disconnect.
Another way of saying behave like a normal human being, you crazy person.

 

So, on the first Monday of 2016, I made myself wake up at 7 am. I spent the whole day in a zombiefied state doing useful tasks I’d put off for years, such as opening mail that’s been sitting around since 2013 and filing them away neatly. It was a very successful day.

But my triumph wasn’t to last long. At 9 pm, my throat suddenly became quite sore.

At 10 pm, I started sneezing uncontrollably.

The next morning, I woke up with a bad cold and promptly went back to sleep. And that was the end of that resolution, may it rest in peace.

Well, there’s always next year.

 

 

Suddenly, my life has no more purpose

I woke up this morning feeling a sickening emptiness inside me.

Out of habit, I bounced out of bed to wash up so I could quickly have some breakfast to replenish liver glycogen.

But, as I was brushing my teeth, I found myself asking, “Why?”

I completed my California Fitness BodyAge Challenge yesterday, so there is no more reason to be obsessive over my diet anymore.

Groceries

I mean, I still recognise that a good diet is important for general well-being but, in the last two months, there was a purpose to my rigorous dieting.

I pushed myself way beyond comfort zone and was able to keep myself going with the promise of acing the challenge. (I am very inwardly competitive and derive great satisfaction from surpassing my limits.)

For the last two months, with the help of Dr Evil (my personal trainer Eric Goh), I made drastic changes to my diet and lifestyle.

  • I woke up mornings and ate breakfast.
  • I totally gave up desserts and junk food.
  • I went grocery shopping three to four times a week to ensure I was eating enough every day.
  • I started cooking my own meals.
  • I read endless nutrition articles every other day to perfect my diet.
  • I worked out at the gym twice a week and went running once a week.
  • I went to great lengths to make sure I ate the right things at the right time to maximise my workout gains.

I was even stricter on myself than Dr Evil was on me, diet-wise.

In contrast, two months ago, my lifestyle went roughly like this:

Wake up after 12 pm. First meal of the day is potato chips or salty crackers. Sometimes, first meal of the day happens after 7 pm. 80% of diet consists of fried food, junk food, soft drinks. Zero exercise.

The important thing to consider is that, even with such appalling lifestyle and diet, I was still slim and looked pretty much okay, outwardly, so there was no reason to do anything different.

But, with the California Fitness BodyAge Challenge, which measured my insides, I had to make changes to get results.

And I did make the changes and stuck to them rigidly.

Sandwich

I was even obsessive over it, but that’s how I tackle challenges and projects. I go all out and put my whole body and soul into it.

Maybe that’s my drug.

I feel a heightened sense of fulfillment from successfuly completing objectives over and beyond expectations.

There was purpose to my waking early every day. There was purpose to my eating lots of plain hard-boiled eggs and throwing all the yolks away. There was purpose to enduring the twice-weekly gym trips to torture my muscles. There was purpose to waking up at 6 am to run.

I even looked forward to every day with excitement.

Sheylara

The purpose was to get a good result for the BodyAge Challenge and also, very importantly, to not fail Dr Evil, who had dedicated his time and energy in helping me achieve my goals.

And, suddenly, now, it’s all over.

I won’t tell you my results yet because the challenge is not officially over. The other participants have yet to complete their sessions.

But it’s over for me and I feel very lost and empty.

I had a feast last night to celebrate. We had a buffet dinner at Curry Favor and I went crazy with the curries and rice and fried stuff. Even plain white rice has become a luxury for me because I haven’t been able to eat carbs after 6 pm for two months.

After that, we had the most amazing alcoholic ice cream at Udders (separate post on that to come).

Ice Cream

It was nice but, even then, the emptiness was already starting to build up within me.

There was a fear that I would wake up the next day feeling lost.

The fear was founded. I woke up today filled with dread.

After going “clean” for two months, I suddenly feel reluctant to stuff my body with salt and fats and other evil things. I feel at the same time repulsed and attracted to them.

I feel directionless. To eat or not to eat? I have the freedom to eat anything I want now and I find myself plagued with conflicting thoughts, instead.

Half

And, in fact, thinking about eating all the favourite foods I’ve been deprived of makes me feel even worse because I’d be undoing everything I’ve worked so hard for.

I realise I can still carry on with my “healthy lifestyle” and continue a clean diet (but being a lot less obsessive over it), and I will still continue an exercise routine.

But it’s not the same anymore.

There is no D-Day to look forward to. There is no prize at the finishing line. There is no Dr Evil to answer to. There is only the promise of a fitter, healthier, sexier me in the long run, but that’s not really something tangible or exciting to look forward to, so it can’t invoke the same kind of discipline.

Especially since I am already slim by nature without having to diet for it. I can eat Big Macs and fries every day and still look the same.

Sheylara

What I’m feeling now is akin to withdrawal. I was on a high of pursuing a goal intensely and now I’m crashing.

For two months, I was literally intoxicated on the excitement of reaching a goal. Now, the goal is gone, the adrenaline is gone, and I am on a total, devastating down.

I know what I’m feeling is temporary and I’ll get over it as I find new challenges and goals for myself. I get this all the time, with post-production blues.

But, in the meantime, I’m a sad little lost ghost and it’s not a good feeling.

Sheylara at the gym