2011 is officially over, and I imagine there’re more than a few of you who’re glad to see the back of it.
So now that we’ve all recovered from our hangovers, it’s time to take a bleary look around the tattered remains of our lives and/or living-rooms and take stock.
Now, I’m not a big fan of New Years resolutions.
In fact, I think they’re pretty worthless. Everybody makes ’em when the future is bright and shiny and full of endless potential, but within two months, more than 80% of you will have forgotten all about them.
But this year? Yeah, this year can be different. Because if this is the year you want to turn your love life around and start being the person you’ve always wanted to be… well, for once you’ve got a plan.
It isn’t going to be easy.
It sure as hell isn’t going to be quick.
But if you’re willing to make the effort, you can make 2012 the year you’ll never want to forget.
What Do You Want?
The first thing you need to do is determine just what it is you want. I’ve touched on this before, but if you’re going to be making resolutions, you need to sit down and put some thought into exactly what it is you want, especially when it comes to dating or meeting women. Just throwing vague “I want to get better with women” is frustratingly vague and makes it difficult to narrow down or even progress towards whatever it is that you are hoping to achieve.
Are you hoping to find that one special person, or are you more interested in no-strings-attached sex and finding new partners? Are you interested in losing your virginity or are you planning on saving it until marriage? Are you a serial monogamist or do you want to be more of a player?
The key is that you need to be honest with yourself; there are no wrong answers… just answers that don’t necessarily fit. And frankly, you may not know what it is you want. You may think that you want to be a player until you try living that lifestyle only to discover that it just isn’t really who you are. And that’s ok. That’s how we learn.
You also need to think about the type of women you’re interested in.
Not just the broad archetypes – nerd, party girls, driven corporate types, artsy creatives, athletes, earth mothers, etc – but the physical type as well.
It can be difficult, especially for younger men, to be honest about who and what they’re attracted to. Many guys tend to look for girls that their friends would be jealous of, rather than the ones they’re really attracted to. This is especially true for guys who are attracted to women who don’t necessarily conform to the popular standards of beauty. For example, men who are attracted to larger women but don’t have the maturity or confidence to own up to their interest will often date a big woman on the down low but refuse to be seen with her in public for fear of what his friends would think. As a result, they end up hurting and insulting both the woman they’re actually attracted to and the ones they’re using for cover.
The heart (and frankly, the cock) wants what it wants and this can often be at odds with what the head thinks it wants. You may think you should be attracted to the quiet bookish types but find yourself inexplicably drawn to the outgoing party girls and social butterflies. You may think you want a slender model type but find yourself lusting after more zaftig figures in the privacy of your own fantasies.
The sooner you can reconcile your heart vs your head and own your attraction, the better off you will be.
Get In Shape
I’m going to toss this out there: physical fitness is an attractive trait, in both men and women. It not only offers outward, visible indicators of general health and reproductive capability, but it triggers the reptile part of our brains; being physically fit means one is better equipped to survive and therefore produce and provide for more offspring. Now this does not mean that you need to look like a Men’s Health cover model, any more than it means that a woman is only attractive if she’s a size four or smaller. It’s worth remembering that most people you see on the magazine covers and billboards have the benefit of an occupation devoted to being in shape – along with flattering lighting, professional make-up techniques and the odd touch-up in Photoshop.
Being fit doesn’t mean six-pack abs or being so cut up that you look like an anatomical model. But it does mean that you should spend some more time working on getting in shape and your physique.
This is one of the most common New Years resolutions… and consequently, one of first that gets tossed out the window. Gym owners love these sorts of New Years resolutions; they tend to mean people signing up for year-long gym memberships from people who then never actually use them past the first or second month. Most of the time, the resolution is too vague – after all, what does “get in shape” really mean? – or else it’s too unrealistic. It’s nice to think that if we were to really discipline ourselves, we could lose 45 pounds by March, but when you’re only losing one to two pounds a week you’re going to quickly get frustrated with your perceived lack of progress.
The other problem, of course, is that most forms of exercise are… well, kinda boring. Now speaking for myself, I’ve learned to enjoy running outside, and when weather forces me to run on a treadmill, trashy TV at least helps me turn off my brain long enough to make it through. But if it were just me, the elliptical runner and the blank wall in front of me, I’d either go nuts or – more likely – find an increasing number of incredibly valid no really excuses as to why I couldn’t possibly work out today.
If you want an exercise routine that you can stick to, you need to find a way to keep your brain engaged while you learn to enjoy the endorphins and tolerate lactic acid buildup. If you’ve joined a gym this year, look into some of the group classes; the variability of the workouts and the sense of community from your fellow classmates can keep you motivated and interested. And as an added bonus, it’s a great place to meet new people. Just sayin’.
If you can afford it, consider working with a personal trainer; a good trainer will help you develop the routines you want and provide motivation and encouragement. Plus, there’s nothing quite like being held accountable by someone – especially someone you’re paying. Just make sure to do your research. Not all trainers are equal and certification for physical training is unequal at best.
Getting in shape doesn’t have to automatically mean joining a gym, nor does it have to be expensive. A jump-rope – one of the best cardiovascular exercises out there – will only set you back $20 or so, and you can find training programs online. I’ve known people who’ve achieved great succcess with nothing but a pair of running shoes, a yoga mat, a pair of five-pound hand weights and yoga workouts from Fit TV. There are also home programs like P90x and a number of free cross-fit routines available via YouTube.
Don’t underestimate intramural sports leagues or pick-up games; an hour of basketball or rugby three times a week with your buddies from work will still provide the cardio you need.
Sometimes having a goal that’s not directly related to weight-loss can help. The Couch-to-5k program gives you a concrete goal – finally being able to run a continuous five kilometers – and the training program you’ll need to help get there. Alternately, you may want to sign up for a race or a marathon. If you’re the sort of person who insists that they only run when chased, you may be interested in trying the Run for Your Life events; after all, what better motivation do you need than to try to outrun an oncoming zombie horde? Get fit and learn how well you’ll survive the coming zombie apocalypse!