While walking through UTM’s athletic facilities this week, I made it a goal to ask students, trainers, and staff about their New Year’s resolutions. I took pictures of them and put their quotes and photos in this week’s sports section. Some accepted, but there was an emphatic “No” from many. Why do so many people find New Year’s resolutions so cheesy and intrusive? And when some did answer, they had to think about it for a little while. Either these people just didn’t want their photo taken while sweating like a pig on level 10 on the treadmill—which I don’t blame them for—or they knew that New Year’s resolutions don’t work or they wouldn’t follow them through, especially during the busiest time of year. I thank the students, staff, and trainers who did give their New Year’s resolutions, but I also thank the students who said “No”, because they inspired this article.

Do you want to lose 10 pounds for the summer and show off those luscious abs that are currently sitting in your imagination? Well, there’s a reason why your abs are sitting there and not on your physical body; it’s because you created a goal to lose weight but don’t know how to do it. You’ll go to the gym whenever you feel bloated because, well, bloated equals no abs. But there’s no consistency or healthy driving force in your workout plans. To lose 10 pounds, it’ll take more than going to the gym a few times; you need to create healthy habits. This all sounds scary, but seriously, these words could change your life.

Some mystical guru probably once said, “It takes 30 days to create a habit,” but since mystical gurus haven’t been shown to truly exist, we’ll go with “research”. If you want to lose 10 pounds, you’ll have to exercise every day for 30 days straight—this way, you’ll naturally program your body to get addicted to exercise and be unable to live without it. I’m not saying go to the gym and do 400 push-ups; I’m saying take the dog for a walk or instead of bailing on skating plans with your friends, go and skate—do something once a day for 30 days. And no, walking to the kitchen to get Doritos doesn’t count.

Your next challenge is to cook something every day for those 30 days—why does this make sense? It allows you to control what you eat. Skip the morning lineup at Tim Horton’s . Even if you’re getting the breakfast wrap, you’re not putting any good nutrients into your body because fast food items are processed and fake. There are many ways to cook a healthy breakfast in the morning. Doing this will promote better health, focus, and mood, and even improve your sleeping habits and sex life. Students overestimate the amount of time it could take to either make or prepare a meal. You’re in line at Tim Horton’s for 10 minutes; take those 10 minutes and save your money. Scramble some eggs, burn some toast, and blend a protein shake in that amount of time at home.

Remember, there are 11 months a year that consist of at least 30 days—why not set yourself up with 11 or 12 habits this year? In January, start off with the cooking—you could lose the 10 pounds with better nutrition alone. In February, incorporate the exercises. In March, you could make it important to read every day for 30 straight days—don’t read a textbook; read that sci-fi novel you’ve wanted to pick up since grade 10. There are no limits to the healthy habits you can create for yourself.