The Irrational Mind

New Year, New You?

It’s January 31st: Do you know where your resolutions are?

Is the sun setting on your resolutions?

Is the sun setting on your resolutions?

The new year always begins triumphantly with bright promises of a shiny new you. You will finally start that side project you’ve been thinking about for months, you will finally start eating healthfully, you will finally start training for that 5K….

Sound familiar?

I gave up New Year’s Resolutions (TM) a few years ago. I found they were bad for both my mental health and my own self growth. As a perfectionist and a high achiever in other areas of my life, if I couldn’t follow a diet/workout routine/writing project precisely the way I intended to, I quit. The resolution became the sole focus, rather than the lifestyle improvement itself.

I began what would have been my past life’s “resolution” in November, as I began to aim for 100 minutes of exercise each week. Have I met that every week? No. Have I exceeded it some weeks? Yes. Most importantly, for the first time in a few years, I have a record (spreadsheet, actually) of intentional exercise minutes for nearly three months! The only weeks I did zero minutes of exercise were the weeks of Thanksgiving and the Christmas/New Year’s holiday. And I was ok with that.

Why diminish this accomplishment for its lack of perfection? This is a big deal for me as I reincorporate fitness into my life. I have been to the fitness room in our apartment building this month, and what started with ambitious people there at all hours of the day has now reverted to me being the only person in there, plodding along on the treadmill. I haven’t given up on my resolution, because I never made a resolution. By never making a resolution, I never gave myself the chance to give up…on myself.

If you find that your shiny new exercise equipment/Rosetta Stone account/pile of books you intend to read is gathering dust as we move into February, pull out your dust cloth and polish up your skills. You’re not a slave to the calendar.

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