So, it's 2014 and you've pledged to go to the gym eight days a week and eat around 200 calories a day.
The only problem is, you ate your 200 in leftover pizza breakfasts (first pizza breakfast, then a nap, then second pizza breakfast), and you forgot to go to the gym for the last seven of those days. You have lost weight since New Year's, but only if you take your shoes off before you get on the scale. You start going to the gym a little less because you don't want to over-train, and it's annoying to work out when there's a polar vortex outside.
You revert back to 18 beers a Saturday instead of your 12-beer resolution because that 12-pack was weak and light beers just aren't your thing. They're not my thing either.
Wait, so what happened? The goals that were so vividly written in your new planner/journal/diary/2014 Workout Log are already slipping from your soon-to-be-frail grip. What happened to the triple-figure bench press? Or the thrice-a-week yoga with that cool instructor at the TREC? What happened to your goal of being the manliest Zumba participant the world has ever seen?
Maybe it was just rough moving back into the cold cinderblock cells of Morrill Hall, forced to live above a kitchen that serves all-you-can-eat pizza and french fries that you can top with an assortment of delicious ice creams and fried rice. Maybe you're just taking the road of the Great East Tennessee Black Bear, putting off all diet and exercise for when you wake up and remember you have to go outside again.
Or maybe it's just you.
The most important question to ask yourself is why you made goals in the first place. It shouldn't be because the earth has assumed a similar place in orbit that it had 365 days ago. The New Year is irrelevant. The position of the earth in space is irrelevant. The only thing that is relevant is you, body included.
Let's get to work.
Going to the gym should be a joyous occasion fit for the blowing of trumpets and the shortest of shorts. The gym is the gathering of everyone on campus/in town/with a gym membership who looked at the mirror and decided that they wanted to better themselves. If you aren't in shape, going to the gym is not shameful, or embarrassing – it's putting on a name tag that says, "I care about myself."
The Schwarzeneggers by the free weights aren't judging your skinny ankles. They themselves see the same ankles they once had in their youth. Inside every overweight person is a fit human being waiting to be chiseled out. Don't be upset that you have more marble to start with.
Defeat every soul-crushing bit of negativity that's lingering in your head. Make a grocery list before you go to the store. Realize that your new cells are created from the only input you give them – your diet. Realize that you're a track star in the making. You're one week away from losing the first few pounds. The hundred miles you want to run starts with tying your shoes.
Don't be overwhelmed by the task at hand. Rejoice in the youth and health your body is capable of. Sweat. Then sweat more. Then sweat more. Sweat until your skin is saltier than the Dead Sea and your body odor wakes the Great East Tennessee Black Bear inside you. Stay in the creepy, organic corner of Kroger where Hostess products shrivel up and die sugar-coated deaths. You are, in this moment, both the oldest you've ever been and the youngest you will ever be. It will never be easier than right now. It will never be more convenient than right now.
Go forth. Run far. Lift heavy things.
Andrew Fleming is a junior in neuroscience. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.