(Photo by Dose Juice on Unsplash)

All major life changes should be measured in minimal time units. It’s only fair after annihilating your comfort, stripping away your habits, and forcing you in completely different directions.

In AA and NA, you start earning your chips 24 hours in. Because, yeah 24 hours sober is a damn gobsmacking achievement. Ask anyone who just went through whatever got them to give up something like drugs or alcohol, cold turkey. What was the cost to get them there? What reasons did they have to fight through the next day, and the day after that? What’s at stake if they don’t succeed? This is not something you do just for the hell of it.

Every year, about half the US population makes New Year’s resolutions to change something they aren’t happy about in their life. And 25% of those people will have broken them within the first week.

…Because we are human.

…And I am one of the human-est.

For some reason, my OCD-obsessed brain always figures one bad play is worth throwing the entire game away. One day I didn’t get my 10,000 steps, or the time I ate that donut, is useless now, because I already failed, so what’s the point?

I am not alone in this.

…Which is why 80% of people who make resolutions in January have completely abandoned them by the end of the month.

…But the thing is, the people who DON’T give up at the first stumble…or even the first two or ten …those are the successes we hear about. Those are the ones who stay sober for 30 years, manage to lose 50 pounds, finish their diploma, get that new job, move on from that toxic relationship…and finally learn how to play that guitar.

To succeed is not about “perfection,” but about the staying-power against set-backs and stagnate moments, when success feels so freakin’ far away.

…Specifically when your “resolution” has a life-dependency rate attached to it.

It is week 5, and Charlie has reached a frustrating weight stalemate. Work stress is growling for comfort food, migraines from staring at too many computer screens, are pitching her brains and belly sideways, and Charlie just wants a damn taco plate and margarita from her damn favorite taco/margarita place.

…Not that that gets to matter when her new lifestyle comes with a requirement of “forever.”

It has been over a month of massive change in portion and food content control, and constant battling against comfort withdrawls, and diet-crashing seductions from every possible direction. Food courts are evil. Every fast-food chain sign and smell assaults as she passes on the way to work and back home again. Ten-dozen food commercials slobber slow-motion grease-porn all over every channel on her TV. Even drives out on a sunny Saturday need to be prepped and packed for ahead of time, “just in case.” There is an alarming rise of alertness and “knowingness” of food that is absolutely everywhere. All the time. And not in any of the old fun ways.

…Which means Charlie, a major foodie, can’t even watch cooking shows anymore. This isn’t to say she’ll never be able to enjoy British Bake Off, Nadiya Hussain, or Ina again, but for now, She’s had to release these are old friends for her own mental health. She eats meals in her office with the door shut, to keep from seeing and smelling the lunches of others. She’s upped her green tea intake by gallons, attempting to sip away her munching urges. She wonders if it’ll even be fun at the ballpark this year, surrounded by the historic smells she can’t partake in.

She wonders in loops now, in fact.

…”What will the holiday meals be like without — will it be just depressing now if I — how do I take a vacation abroad like this — what if the numbers don’t go down enough — will I ever hit a point where I can — is it ever going to get any easier…”

From where she sits at the moment, there seems to be an infinite sea of restrictions, and loss. Except for the scale numbers, which have been stagnant for days.

Week 5 is very hard.

There should be a chip for this.