Here’s a serious question: is there any point in putting weight loss on my list of goals this year? I lost 20 pounds in 2013, and I’ve gained back 16 of them. In fact, like many Americans, I put weight loss on my goals list every year and either fail to lose the weight or gain weight.

What does it do to have a goal I know I’ll fail at?

There are two ways to look at the question.

First, has anything changed since the last time I tried? I think it has. I believe that over the past two years I’ve become less hedonistic about food, have internalized the Evil 6, and have become content with a meal of fish and salad. I’ve also gone from 2-3k steps per day to 5-7. I understand the current thinking on obesity and have given up the myths I used to believe — myths which have resulted in an epidemic of obesity in the U.S.

My old habits are there still and it’s easy for me to go astray, but I have new patterns to follow.

Second, are there advantages to giving up? Probably not. I gained thirty-seven pounds the first year I worked at home, and ten more in the six years since then. I suppose if I didn’t have a goal of losing weight I would have gained more than that.

Plus, the way that I plan to lose weight is healthy and good for me, whether or not I lose any pounds. There is no downside apart from my knowledge that I will probably end the year having failed again. I can probably handle that.

Coming back a year later to say that I lost 60 pounds this year and am confident that I will end 2026 at a healthy weight. There are things to be said for persistence.