Are You Stronger Than Your Resistance?

About a month ago, a ton of us made proclamations to lose weight, kick a bad habit or become an all-around better human.

The dawning of a new year always seems like the most opportune time for making personal commitments we hope to keep.

An estimated 40-45% of American adults make annual New Year’s resolutions, yet studies show only 20% of us actually keep those proclamations. That means four out of five people fall flat on their (oversized) keisters.

Keen to this reality, my gym recently unveiled a motivational campaign inviting its members to make public declarations of the personal demons we wish to squash.

Several “Stronger Than…” banners appear around the gym, accompanied by markers beckoning people to fill in the blank with a personal answer.

The disclosures are quite touching – and telling.

As expected, some are straightforward and food-related.

Stronger than…  

…Steak ‘n Shake.

…Wine and beer.

…A 400-calorie two pack of Pop-Tarts.

Many are light-hearted and clever.

Stronger than…  

…The snooze button


…Mitch’s crazy workout sessions.

…I smell.

A few of them, however, allude to deeper, more serious issues.

Stronger than…  

…The crazy ex-boyfriend.

…The 47 pounds I gained since my birthday.

…How I feel.

In a building filled with barbells and weight machines, the “stronger” theme is a natural. Most people who join a gym aspire to pump iron and strengthen their bodies — which only comes through resistance (as anyone who’s followed a rigorous fitness program will attest).

I think we forget this principle, however, when we step outside the gym. If we’re honest, ANY attempt to strengthen yourself — whether body, mind, spirit, or character — demands strength through resistance. That resistance may come in the form of doubt, temptation, mind games, or others intentionally standing in your way.

So New Year’s resolutions are not for the faint of heart. That’s probably why the vast majority of them fail. We think mere desire is enough to propel us to success — and sustain us indefinitely.

It rarely is.