Give up the resolutions

Joey Garcia

My New Year’s resolution is always to lose weight, exercise and get into shape. I start out focused and committed, but soon I am making excuses and giving up. Any ideas?

Give up resolutions. Instead, pick a goal and devise a plan to reach that goal. Yes, there are apps for that, but before you download anything, exercise your brain. Here’s how: Ask yourself why you want to lose weight. If the reason is external (you think you will be more attractive, your partner or doctor says you must drop pounds or people make rude comments about your size), it’s harder to shed weight and keep it off. If the reason arises from inside you (you recognize excess weight as a symptom of eating patterns that maintain denial about emotional pain, or you simply chose to feel healthier), it’s easy to lose weight and maintain your new shape. So, clarify your motivation, set the goal and create small, manageable changes to accomplish the goal in a reasonable time line. For example, let’s say you want to lose 20 pounds. Adjust your diet, add in consistent exercise and give yourself at least six months to exit the cocoon of your current body and embody your new self.

I’ve been divorced for 15 years and have not met a man with qualities that are right for me. I’ve had “boy toys”—fun, well-groomed and good-looking men who were not capable of connecting in a deep and lasting way. I have read that you have to love yourself before you can love someone else, but lots of people with low self-esteem are married, so that can’t be true. I know my childhood has affected my choices, but I have been to therapy and changed. Still, I don’t meet men who are attractive, intelligent, worldly, financially stable, reliable, spiritual, giving and ready for commitment. What do I need to do?

Why not trust that you’re on the right path? You have stopped dating men with whom love is not possible. You are reflecting on the qualities you desire. You have been to therapy and incorporated what you learned. Now the task is to accept that some things happen on a schedule you cannot control. In the meantime, keep your heart and mind open. Sometimes, love does not appear in the way we expect.

My parents have been married for 39 years, but their marriage is a sham. When I lost my job three years ago, I moved home so I could get back on my feet financially. My parents are great to me, but they hardly ever talk to each other. My dad moved out of the master bedroom when my youngest brother graduated from college. My mother buys gifts for herself and tells everyone they are from my dad. She does other things to keep up appearances, too. The problem is that my siblings have no clue and are bugging me to help plan a 40th-anniversary party and renewal-of-vows ceremony for my parents. I don’t want to be the one to tell everyone the truth, but I don’t know what to do. Please help.

You are fearful of relieving your parents of their burden because you think of yourself as their child. See yourself as you are: an adult, equal to your parents. Failure to admit reality keeps you as stuck in appearances as your parents. So tell them the plans. But don’t discuss options with either parent. Let them decide what to do. If your parents continue living as roommates while also honoring the facade of a perfect marriage, that’s their business. But telling them the truth is an act of love, and that’s your business.

Meditation of the week

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor,” wrote Truman Capote. Can you accept that everything, absolutely every experience, contributes to your spiritual evolution?

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