Are Ads Setting You Up For Failure?

January 21, 2013

Head in Hands

By Lauren Berger, MSW, RSW

Since January 1st, every time I turn on the TV, there seems to be another commercial advertising this gym or that gym, this fitness program or that fitness program, this diet or that diet.  It’s felt like a flood!  As I sit waiting for How I Met Your Mother to resume, I think, “Boy, these companies are really riding the New Year’s Resolution tidal wave!”  But when I stopped to think about it, I wondered if there really are more of these “Change Your Life!” commercials playing now that it is January, or if it is my perception that there are.  Whether you make formal resolutions or not, most people find January to be both a time of reflection and a time to become motivated to make changes for the future.  Watching all these fit people climb mountains, have a laugh with their family, and pick out healthy groceries, I find I am sucked in.  Great job, marketing department!  When I stop to think about it, I know that while I would like to become more fit, I have no desire to climb a rock wall.  So why am I sucked in?  Would these commercials get to me the same way if it was April or October?

Advertising is meant to make you think: “I can do that!  I want that!”  When it comes to ads focusing on your wellbeing, it’s the same story.  “I want taut thighs!  I can rock climb!”  I easily become tempted to pick up the phone, call Goodlife, and take the first step to living life in spandex leggings.  Thankfully, by the time How I Met Your Mother resumes, I have put down the phone before I signed my life away to a gym membership I know deep down I won’t use.  Does this mean I’m giving up on my goals?  Not a chance!  But by sitting down and doing a bit of soul searching, I know that I can get to my goal by taking steps that are more practical for me in my life.  Rock climbing?  Meh.  Pilates DVD in the comfort of my own home?  Yes, please!

The moral of the story is this:  DON’T allow yourself to be sucked in by adversing that has a business’s wellbeing at heart.  DO use your responses to such advertising to tap into interests that you have or goals you want to accomplish.  Then tailor these interests and goals to you, your personality, your schedule, your life!  This is one key to setting yourself up for success instead of failure when you work on a goal — make it work for you!

For assistance with making desires into goals, goals into plans, and plans into habits, check in with your counsellor to make a plan that sets you up for success.  Come visit me at the Integrative Health Institute, and together we can discover if you’re a rock climber or a Pilates homebody.  No matter your end destination, together we can find your path!

Lauren Berger is a Registered Social Worker providing counselling and psychotherapy at the Integrative Health Institute.  Check her out at or drop her a line at

Image via Creative Commons License Alex Proimos via Compfight

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