Resolutions Aren’t For Liars

It’s not that I believe that New Year’s Resolutions are inherently bad in and of themselves. It’s just that I think we are really bad, as people, at keeping them, and they seem to only serve as fateful and dreary reminders that we completely fail at keeping promises even to ourselves. How’s that for a motivating start to a new year?

Only once have I actually kept a New Year’s Resolution, and it wasn’t even one that I publiclyproclaimed from the virtual rooftops of my Facebook page or committed to in front of a support group at a church or  local bar. It wasn’t one that I told my wife I needed her to hold me accountable to, and I didn’t seek out others that were looking to accomplish the same, or at least similar, goals. I simply told myself at the beginning of 2012 that I was incredibly too overweight and unhealthy, and that I needed to at least take small steps, just at least one step at a time, to correcting that. My first step was to get active, because I decided that my love for food wasn’t going to go away immediately or even in the near-term. I knew that facet of my problem would eventually be the hardest part of this journey to overcome, so why start there and discourage myself immediately? I “got active” by joining a local martial arts school that taught the practical self-defense method of Krav Maga. There I was, a 350 pound frumpy white boy in a class full of fit, mean, and lean people who could kill me for looking the way I did if they so wished it. I wasn’t exactly “at home” when I showed up, but I pushed forward through at least 3 classes per week and ended up with a skillset that would make Liam Neeson at least give me small nod of approval. Look, I’m not saying that I’m a certified badass, but I have two certificates that say I’m a certified level two badass that can, at a minimum, cause substantial damage requiring hospitalization or a good coroner to anyone who attempts to cause harm to myself or a loved one. That wasn’t necessarily the goal going in to learning Krav Maga, but it was a nice little side effect. The biggest impact it made on me was the fact that I began to look forward to engaging in some kind of physical activity on a regular basis – it got me up and out of the house and created a routine of exercise without the shocking realization that I was actually doing so. This version of fooling myself resulted in more energy, more muscle, and better fitness. Suddenly, an urge to do more began to grow.

With that step taken, I took another. I began restricting my diet based solely on calories because I couldn’t fathom just totally giving up a specific type of food. Except cold turkey – I could give that up tomorrow. Rimshot, there ya go. As I was saying, I started counting calories in conjunction with the new physical activity that I was getting in, and suddenly my New Year’s Resolution of weight loss and fitness began to (literally, in some terms) take shape. I was losing weight, feeling better, and wearing clothing sizes that I hadn’t since junior high. Imagine my surprise after losing nearly 70 pounds and discovering that I, in fact, did not have “big bones” like my mom always told me – there isn’t even such thing as a stomach bone! And I’m still looking for the bones responsible for my moobs. But the progress made me excited enough to take yet another step, where I entered the world of something the Ancient Nords termed “jogging”.


“I believe it’s ‘jogging’ or ‘yogging’. It might be a soft ‘j’. I’m not sure but apparently you just run for an extended period of time. It’s supposed to be wild.”                  – Ron Burgundy


I take you through that journey to bring you to this point – here it is, the beginning of 2014, and I’m still on it. I’ve had great successes, some embarrassing failures, made some new friends, lost some old ones. Thus far in my journey, I’ve lost 100 pounds, but if I’m being honest, I’m feeling a little disappointed in myself at this current juncture that I’ve gained a small amount of my weight back. I’m still leagues beyond my previous status, but I would by lying to myself if I thought for a minute that I have achieved the end-goal and am fine to rest. I still got my moobs, bro, and this gut isn’t getting smaller the longer I just sit around. And herein lies the crux with most New Year’s Resolutions that people seem to forget whilst they drunkenly slosh their plastic champagne cups together and vow amongst their slovenly peers the greatness and achievements they will muster in the coming year – you actually have to keep working at things like this, and there’s a very real danger in thinking that you have accomplished all there is to it, whatever it may be. Experiencing the setbacks, failures, and difficulties are the point at which most of us give up and make excellent liars of ourselves by foregoing our own resolutions in the interest of something more comfortable, something that requires less effort, and less investment.

So why the moral lesson? Why the words of wisdom from someone who can’t follow his own advice at times? We here in the River Valley are entering 2014 much the same as we have in the past. There’s nothing outstanding that is setting this year-beginning apart from much of the rest of them. Some folks are doing what they can with what they’re given, while others are complaining about what they were given or what they don’t have or what they can’t do because they don’t have what they think they should and aren’t really interested in doing what they can to get what they think they should have in order to do what they want. Whew. As I’ve attempted to show in my own personal example of making resolutions, each one starts with a simple step. It may not be in the direction you think it should be, and it may not be a step that makes you particularly comfortable. It may not be the easiest step, but it might be easier than others that you’re going to have to eventually take. And then, just when you think you’ve achieved what you set out to do, there are going to be issues…problems…roadblocks that make you stop and set you back. And that’s ok. If it’s expected, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, and you’re much better equipped to handle it and move forward as a result.

All this to say this, folks – let’s put on our game faces in 2014 in an effort to make Fort Smith a truly great and reputable place to live. With the above mindset in place, let’s move forward together and resolve to get up and out of our houses in an effort to actually do something about the perceived and real issues, problems, and roadblocks with our community. Let’s take one step, one that takes us out of our comfort zones and forces us to stop relying on others to hopefully, one day, do whatever it is that we want done. Then, when we feel good and see progress from that step, let’s take another. And another. We’re gonna stumble, we’re gonna have setbacks, but the journey is a constant and consistent one, and we’re more than capable of doing this together. See you out there, Fort Smith!

-Thad Crawford


Want to get involved in something now? Head over to and check out one example of an awesome initiative underway that was thought up and is now moving forward thanks to the vision and initiative by a couple of locals who decided to get out and do something.