Happy Turnback Tuesday: Has your new year's resolve broken?

Today is the day ‘researchers’ predict our resolve to change is most likely to break

‘Of course, Turnback Tuesday is just a makey-uppy date on the calendar – next year it might be Waddleback Wednesday, and the year after Throw-in-the-towel Thursday’

‘Of course, Turnback Tuesday is just a makey-uppy date on the calendar – next year it might be Waddleback Wednesday, and the year after Throw-in-the-towel Thursday’

 

How are those new year’s resolutions going? If you’ve made it this far into 2017 without breaking any, you’re doing pretty well.

Apparently, today is Turnback Tuesday, the day when our resolve is most likely to break. Researchers have found that about 3½ weeks into the year, our willpower begins to wane and our weight-loss plans encounter a huge wobble.

We’ve been trying gamely to stick to the game plan for three weeks now, but it feels like three years and when we go back to the weighing scales and see how little we’ve come along, we feel pretty disheartened. Is it any wonder so many of us go back on the snacks?

A couple of my own diary excerpts hint at this universally sorry story:

Sunday, January 1st: Time to make my new year’s resolutions. No morning coffee, no mid-morning muffin, no lunchtime crisps, no dinnertime wine, no bedtime emailing. Recharge the Fitbit, run 10km every day, take the stairs and endure the stares while out in public in full Mamil (middle-aged man in Lycra) get-up. Swap the six-pack for a six-pack tummy and the cheesecake for a beefcake body.

Tuesday January 24th: To hell with that. Pass the coffee and muffins and throw those resolutions in the bin – I’ve had enough of this getting healthy malarkey. Time to crawl back into my man cave, open a giant packet of Doritos and reset my Fitbit target to zero steps. The sedentary revolution starts here (no actual movement required).

Get-fit gestapo

But this is not a one-man revolt against the get-fit gestapo. It seems I’m not alone in wanting to give up all this giving up. For gym owners, Turnback Tuesday is a godsend. Suddenly the hordes of people who signed up at the beginning of the year will stop showing up, leaving the fitness machines free for another horde of hapless healthseekers to huff and puff their way into 2017. Gyms will have 1,000 paying members, but only 200 actually using the facility. Kerching!

For Ireland’s food and drink business, it could signal the end of a three-week drought as people fill their shopping baskets again with comfort food and guilt-suppressing gargle.

Of course, Turnback Tuesday is just a makey-uppy date on the calendar – next year it might be Waddleback Wednesday and the year after Throw-in-the-towel Thursday (Can’t wait for F*** that Friday).

The key is that this is the week when our pie-in-the-sky resolutions come back down to earth with a sickening thud, and we realise that promises made in the fuzzy haze of a New Year’s Day hangover are a little harder to keep in the cold half-light of mid-January.

It takes hard work to break bad habits of a lifetime, which is why most of us will be going back to our old ways before the month has sputtered to a halt.

But is there any way of flipping the day around and turning it into Tenacious Tuesday? You’re in luck. Counselling psychologists Aisling Curtin and Dr Trish Leonard are holding a public workshop in Dublin designed to help you keep your chin up, hold firm to your good intentions and get through this short period of self-doubt and despair. It’s at the Grand Canal Hotel on Tuesday from 6.30pm.

Comfort zones

Curtin recently wrote a piece for The Irish Times about the importance of trying to break out of your comfort zone, even for just five minutes a day. According to Curtin, people who push themselves out of their comfort zones, and are willing to experience the attendant discomfort and anxiety, will actually become less anxious and will make a greater impact in their work, sport or other pursuits.

Keeping your new year’s resolutions requires breaking out of your comfort zone but once you do break out, the big challenge is how to remain out of it and reap the rewards of the greater world beyond.

When you think about it, throwing your hands up in the air after just three weeks seems a bit like surrendering without a fight. In her recent column in The Irish Times, Ruth Field aka the Grit Doctor cited a University College London survey which found that it takes a minimum of 66 days to break a habit. That’s just over two months, folks, so if you’ve already done three weeks, you’re nearly halfway there.

So, I’ve changed my mind. I won’t retreat into my comfort zone just yet, and I won’t drift back to my old bad habits. I’m going to give my new year’s resolutions another chance – but if I’m not Daniel Craig by St Valentine’s Day, I’m gonna kick those resolutions right into the middle of next year.

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