Coming into February, I realize I’ve probably “Out Resolved” at least half of the New Year’s enthusiasts. Maybe more than half. How did that happen? Why am I still busting my ass in the gym when all the other Lu-tards and Homers are back on the couch drinking beer and hating themselves?
I remember when I used to frequent the Y instead of my current grungy hole in the wall gym. I remember January being the absolute worst time to bother going. The classes were all packed, all the cardio machines taken and the weight room reeked of good intentions (and AXE and feet and curry…). But by February 1st, every time, that number would dwindle to half, then 1/4 , then mid month, probably right back to the same people that were there in December. Leaving all the regulars to huff and puff in peace. Every year.
I decided a long time ago, New Year’s Resolutions were stupid. If you want to make a change in your life that lasts, make it for any other reason than “because it’s January First”. You may as well say “Here’s a thing I intend to fail miserably at- I’ve been saving it for the new year because I hear that’s how we’re supposed to do it”.
I look at all the lu-tards, and I see new pants, new shoes, new bag, new water bottle, and Christmas pie and too much nog pooching over the waistbands. Maybe next year they’ll figure it out. Next year they will resolve to stop making stupid resolutions that are unsustainable, and maybe they’d have more success if they didn’t have half a bottle of vodka in their BPA free grownup-sippy-cup.
What’s the difference? How am I still there? I really am lazy. This is somewhat “out of character” for me, especially to tackle on my own. I don’t even know how I’m pulling this off. But there are a few likely answers…
1. Using the SMART goal model (I wrote about it here )
2. Keeping it small. One thing. Baby steps.
3. Making sure I had all the moral support I would need (LEEEAAAHHH)
4. Not getting in over my head- If I was desperate to try anything new, I made sure to look it up or ask about it first.
I did not go and buy new shoes and pants and water bottle and and and…
I did not go and sign myself up for a year of Preauthorized withdrawal of membership payments.
I did not set myself up for likely disappointment by having a “goal weight” or Ideal measurments.
I did not go and blow any dollars on supplements, shakes, or quick-fixes.
All I did was go down to the gym closest to my house and on the way to work. I signed up for one month and told myself I would go every day for 30 days. Period.
I’ve stopped fixating on my weight, and I’ve told myself that my diet is something to tackle in the next 30 days. One thing at a time.
So far, 19 days in- I’ve disincluded the days I was sick *no, disincluded is NOT a word but I like it*- I’ve thought of a few extra things I’ve gained and lost as a result of this endeavor.
1. I sleep better. This is in part due to the getting up early every day, but the exercise is definitely helping.
2. I have more “me time” than I did before. Up early, and to the gym before work, I get to do something for MYSELF that doesn’t have anything to do with Momming or Wifing or siblings or friends or anything. It’s just for me.
3. I can enjoy the evenings. I used to get to the end of the day after work and feel genuinely resentful that “So far, all I’ve done is work today, and I still have to feed these guys and clean up and then what? Sit on my ass in front of the TV and Rot? yay.” Now, I can say “hey, already did some writing, kicked ass at the gym, kicked ass at work and still have some left over to kick ass at home, and then Kick Back! I’ve earned it!”
One thing at a time. One reasonable, small change. I can do something for 30 days. Anyone can do something for 30 days in a row… that’s how we build most of our bad habits anyway!
I realized at some point in the last 21 days, that it wasn’t the END of this 30 days I was looking forward to- no mistake, I’m not going to get to the end of this and STOP! I discovered I had started thinking about the NEXT 30 days. What will I add to make this more challenging? Should I get some help and try out power lifting? Couch to 5k? Switch the gym for the Martial Arts studio for a month? (ooh, that just occurred to me… appealing!). It’s addictive. No kidding. Feeling good feels good (and I snicker because that’s my go-to excuse for drinking too much).
If I’ve learned anything over the last 31 years, it’s that the only thing I really have the power to change is myself. The rest is dominoes. I can’t change you, I can’t change that guy over there. I can change my attitude, I can change the way I do things, and I can maybe inspire someone else to want to change… but it all starts right here with me.