Go to the GYM? Who am I fooling?!

Power to you if you can resist the New Year’s Disillusion. My hat’s off. Kudos.

Purely hypothetically, if, say, you had no New Year’s resolution, but a strong wish to have someone to kiss as the ball drops next year, you’ve probably wondered what’s between you-now and you-then. Just Time?

Ads tell you you should work/buy your way there.

Your local gym doesn’t tempt you, but for the sake of example, we can suppose it did. You can substitute “gym” for anything about which you’ve momentarily thought: “that’s the ticket!”

Even though, underneath it all, you know you just need better self-esteem.

You’d supposedly “Just Do It” and get dressed because you pay to be around others who Just Do It (but not the It you want). You’d shower because you’ll supposedly get sweaty. You’d eat healthier from working up an appetite.

Theoretically, you’d start feeling more attractive over time, and hell, maybe that’ll help you meet someone special, or at least let you practice meeting people in a low-stakes, no-expectations context.


But You’re Not So Easily Fooled

Realistically, you know you’ll be in bed or at your screen when your alarm reminds you to Just Do It. You groan knowingly, or blink in surprise, if you notice it at all.

Push come to shove, it’s not at all matter-of-fact that you’ll be around people, get sweaty, and work up an appetite. And you most certainly don’t feel fit to practice meeting people.

In fact, just dressing, showering, and eating well without tacking on the resentment about the gym membership is like 3 Project Management jobs right there!

Surely there’s not that much more in the way of you finding and feeling deserving of love?!

On Feeling Attractive

The gym can be therapeutic or cosmetic.

If you go because you love going, you can feel your body, and it brings you satisfaction, you can feel grateful you go. No need for a resolution. That’s therapeutic.

If it’s cosmetic, though, watch out!

Cosmetics can make you think you’re going to be more attractive, but if you hate the gym, it’s going to flop as a resolution. You’ll resent it. With good reason.

This is way worse than it seems on the surface.

Forceful ‘fixes’ flop precisely because they lack substance. They’re not inherently rewarding at the depth that fosters self-respect. It puts you out of touch with yourself – the very self that’s trying to feel loved.

Cosmetic New Year’s resolutions are damning. Damaging. Unkind.

Kind girlfriends want kind guys.

Good women want good guys. Guys who’ll be kind to their kids. Guys who don’t force themselves or others to do things.

Partly we’re trying to avoid marrying what will inevitably become an obstinate, crabby old man who dies of what he refused to see the doctor for and makes us miserable and gossipy with worry on the spiral all the way down to his grave.

We don’t think of these things. Your kindness actually factors into our bodies’ response to you.

Being kind to yourself

Please don’t make being kind a resolution or a ‘should.’

Might I suggest, instead, that you build it into a million tiny habits you only take on ONE AT A TIME?

In this mindset, dressing, eating well, and getting some kind of movement in your day are 3 separate projects. Hell, eating well is at least 4 separate sub-projects: deciding what to buy, buying it, committing to prep, and not being surprised there’s cleanup.

One. At. A. Time. This means imagining what you would buy for a few weeks before ever following through. Eating what you ate before the whole time. I’m serious.

As if it weren’t you

If you were paid to write the code to get a bot to do it, you’d see the use, and probably take significant pleasure in taking the time to wire or teach it how to cook. You’d might do it with pleasure, love, and patience – for a bot.

If you were rewarded for reminding a gifted, highly sensitive girlfriend to wash by heating up the bathroom in advance, sticking a clean towel and bathrobe in the dryer for after, and running the shower long enough that the floor isn’t over-stimulatingly cold, you’d do it with glee.

Accepting that bots and beloveds require time, care, and patience, I hope you can accept that your own nervous system is learning, and is sensitive, for better or for worse.

Bullying yourself into eating, showering, etc. actually costs you the love you feel you have a deficit in.


Small successes are not only so inherently rewarding that gamification is a million-dollar industry. Small successes are easier to cultivate, get confident about, and trust. More reliable. Easier to adjust as necessary. And less major to reboot when you falter, which, you know, is inevitable.

It’s absolutely possible, when you break stuff down small enough, to enjoy the process of habit-development itself.

Habits developed with playfulness can be fully savored and enjoyed, rather than executed numb. Eventually, there’s intrinsic joy left over, which you can put towards a new small habit.

I warn against resolutions.

Small yields foster fresh cravings for new challenges.


With love.

Pep-free Support

For a fresh dose of love without the saccharine/hard-ass “ra-ra-ra,” please attend my late-February event “First Aid for Heartache — How to Stop the Bleeding.”

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