“This is the year I finally get into shape and also read more and also stop smoking and also quit social media,” said 34-year-old Karl Curt Gunderson as he slapped a nicotine patch on his forearm and packed a bento box full of string cheese and kale into his newly purchased lunchbox. The junior accountant decided that unlike previous years’ goals of eating better, practicing better hygiene, and working on that novel he tells people he is writing but has never really made much progress on, this year he is going to succeed because he has a plan.

“I ordered loads of cool gear on Amazon to help me on my journey,” explained Mr. Gunderson as he modeled a new pair of sneakers he plans to break in Tuesday morning, assuming he can wake up early enough. “The shoes actually measure my pace electronically and send the data directly to my phone and watch!”

“The trick to changing your behavior is setting a schedule and sticking to it,” said Mr. Gunderson about how he plans on becoming a completely different human being with vastly different interests, proclivities, and habits all of a sudden.

“Starting tomorrow, I’m going to wake up every morning at 5:00 AM and immediately drink a protein shake, then I’m going to run a light 5K, shower, drive to work, have a handful of almonds at 10:15, my bento box at noon, 6 walnuts at 3:00 o’clock, hit up the buffet at Whole Foods for some brown rice and vegetables for dinner, do a P90X Lean routine at 8:00, have a scoop of cottage cheese and another shake at 9:30, shower, read Infinite Jest for an hour, then fall asleep by 11PM,” explained Karl who then started watching Before-and-After weight loss videos in his bed until 2:00 in the morning. “This is going to be so easy,” he said to himself as he fell asleep to a documentary about the harms of refined sugar.

I never said this was going to be easy!” howled Mr. Gunderson as he rushed to get ready for work after oversleeping his runtime by three hours. “I’ll make it up by running a 10K tomorrow,” he told himself as he stormed out the door. By the time he got situated in his car he realized that he had forgotten his premade bento box lunch and Ziploc bag full of almonds and walnuts on his counter. “That’s okay, I’ll just hit up Whole Foods and have some veggies for lunch. Still clean,” he told himself as he lit up a cigarette. “This is going to be my only smoke of the day, for sure,” he said to himself as he sat in traffic for forty minutes. 

By the time he got to work he was starving and made arrangements with his officemate John, who was also starting a diet, to walk with him to Whole Foods, but both were enticed into eating at a new Greek restaurant by a very pushy employee offering 20% off their meal. “The Mediterranean diet is actually very healthy,” Karl said to his friend as they decided to split an order of Spanakopita before their Gyros came.

By the time he returned from lunch and inputted his meal into his new calorie counting app, Karl had fallen behind on his actual work assignments and needed to stay late at the office to catch up. When he did leave the office at 7:45 he decided he would get a very healthy Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese soup from Panera Bread and also a free whole-grain chocolate chip cookie that he earned with his My Panera card that he knew he shouldn’t eat but didn’t want the free pastry to expire. He had one more cigarette on his way home, which isn’t so bad, he thought. Unfortunately, by the time he finished eating his cheese soup and watched Top Chef he was feeling a bit unenergetic and decided that instead of doing a full P90X set he would just do about 6 push ups and 11 sit ups in his bedroom before tiring himself out and flexing in the mirror for several minutes.

Resting a high-caloric protein shake on top of an unread copy of Infinite Jest, Kurt watched a documentary in bed about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle as he searched through Before-and-After testimonials of people who adopted an all-raw, plant-based diet, which he decided he would start tomorrow. “This is going to be so easy,” he said to himself as he fell asleep without remembering to set his alarm.

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