Positioned right after the gluttony and outrageous spending of the holiday season comes the season of resolutions. This year I will not, eat the entire sleeve of cookies, I will not buy dresses to events I have not yet been invited to, and I will certainly not waste the majority of my downtime online looking at vacation pictures posted by people I went to high school with.
Sadly, all things that will probably end up happening.
But these are also all things that I am resolving not to do, and I have found that breaking a habit is much harder than simply replacing it. I came across a great article recently featuring Olivia Munn, which deals with the issue of fitness as a lifestyle.
Personally, I am never going to log long hours on the treadmill.
I don’t have the patience and no television show is interesting enough to make me forget that my calves are burning. I enjoy running as a warm up, or a quick workout, but year after year I resolve to run a half marathon and year after year I “fail”. What I really love, and what I could spend hours doing, is dancing. Nothing professional, I mean dancing around the house, preferably with the shades drawn because I am not the most coordinated when it comes to physical activity. Yes, I love to dance, and apparently so does Olivia Munn.
So this resolution season, instead of the marathon I’ll never run, I’ll focus on fun. Because there are only so many hours in the day and I am never going to be happy spending them pounding the pavement. If you are really expected to spend a good chunk of your free time doing something athletic, at least make it something that you enjoy. Sage advice that I know I’ve heard before, but that I actually plan on taking to heart this year. So instead of that extra mile maybe I’ll devote a little extra time to a cardio dance session after that next Girl Scout cookie slip up.
As a culture we are obsessed with the idea of new beginnings, and this creates a clearly demarcated calendar of ups and downs. Watching the ebb and flow at the local gym is the best way to get a handle on this unspoken oscillation between who we are and who we want to be. Anyone with a gym membership before the holidays soon longs for the relatively quiet days before New Years hits. Then there is a nice little interval after the overzealous resolution makers exit and before the equally determined spring breakers arrive. Clearly we want to be in good shape, we resolve to workout year after year, so why does that determination fade by the time February hits?
I know that I have always been part of the guilty party, exercising and eating right in short lived jags, and clearly I’m not the only one who suffers from this all or nothing mentality. It may be easier to see things in terms of good or bad, but most days fall somewhere inconveniently between the two. You might want to decide you have failed, and set into motion the next round of self indulgent pity and new found resolve. But what if we decide not to pass judgment in the first place?
No one is perfect. Accept it.
How many times have the women gathered around the dessert table joked about the diet that starts the next day? No, the diet should start as soon as you finish that cookie.
Right now. Not tomorrow, not next week, and definitely not next New Years.
If you accept your failures and still decide not to give up, then you will never allow yourself the opportunity to backslide. My hope this spring I will forgive my missteps and continue to move (however slowly) towards the good.
Popcorn. Apples. Peanut butter (occasionally eaten with an apple). Almonds.
That is more or less what my daily diet looks like. There are inevitably some additions, but it is far from varied, and is not all that nutritious. I tend to take the easy way out and stick to what I can eat without too much, or any, prep work. I’m always tired, and constantly struggling to make it past the mid afternoon slump. I know, I know. My diet needs a makeover. So I’m planning to start “eating real”, or as Micheal Pollan, author of Food Rules and In Defense of Food so eloquently puts it,
“Eat food. Mostly Plants. Not too much.”
Giving up my daily diet coke(s) sounds daunting but I’m excited about the prospect of making it past the four o’clock mark without more caffeinated beverages than I’m willing to admit. So here goes nothing…