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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Buddy system could hold key to keeping fitness resolutions

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By Tanya Bricking
Advertiser Staff Writer

I planned on making slacker New Year's resolutions this year, but my guilt is getting in the way.

Surfing more and practicing my guitar were tops on my list, under the theory that it's best to set goals that are not too ambitious.

In the back of my mind, though, I'm plagued by the same panic that hits me every year: the idea that I should reform my unfit ways.

I started 2002 going to the gym every morning, drinking protein shakes and cutting carbs. By May, I was still going to the gym but back to a not-so-healthy diet. By December, it all fell apart. I was sleeping in and eating Christmas cookies for breakfast.

Compounding my guilt is the invitation from one of my girlfriends to join her Diet Nazi Support Program for 2003.

It sounds worse than resolving to pay off my credit-card debt.

I'm supposed to e-mail all of the women on the list my workout schedule and/or diet plan so we can remind one another to stick to our promises.

It's group guilt that I should be comfortable with, considering my Catholic upbringing. It's kind of like Lent. Maybe worse.

The organizer (we'll call her Hitler) has vowed to keep the pressure on for three months. I wonder if that means she's already expecting us to give up?

My fitness resolutions tend to fall in the same category as my pledge to stop hitting "snooze" when the alarm clock goes off. That's as inspired as my resolutions have been since I vowed to move to a vacation destination in 1999 and landed here.

I could come up with more altruistic intentions, like teaching people to read or volunteering for a worthy cause. But there's a certain something about making resolutions that makes me feel pretty selfish and even a little narcissistic.

Not many words strike more fear in women I know than "exercise regimen." Yet, I am among the thousands who will once again promise to shape up.

It's been on my list every year since I was in high school, and each year I have rationalized my failure to live up to my goals as more of a healthy embrace of a leisurely lifestyle than of defeat.

The benefit of perennial fitness goals is that a little progress seems like a big improvement. If I can figure out a way to sustain my willpower, I'm set.

That's the same thought process I go through every year. It's more like a compulsion than a tradition.

New Year's Eve always fuels my optimism that this year, things might be different. I might actually keep my resolutions.

Despite my attitude that people should lighten up about lightening up, I have decided to join the Diet Nazis. Because when it comes to guilt-ridden resolutions, I really am my own Hitler.

I'm already anticipating pre-dawn phone calls from my friends asking whether I'm on my way to the gym or our favorite surf spot. Maybe the buddy system will work better than going it alone.

Or maybe being nagged by half a dozen women about whether I'm living up to my promises will persuade me to come up with a better resolution next year.

Reach Tanya Bricking at tbricking@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8026.