I started working out when I was 16. I could not have possibly hated gym class more (see my detailed rant on gym in When It Happens), but I liked my dance lessons and badminton and the idea that I could do things that were actually fun for exercise. We only had a few TV channels in Middle of Nowhere, New Jersey. Channel 13 was PBS. Channel 13 ruled for two reasons: Degrassi Junior High and these random 15-minute science shows that came on in the morning. Oh, and The Write Channel, this instructional writing show for kids. Check out this ep for some 1978 flavor. I obsessed over those shows whenever I was home weekday mornings. The next channel after 13 was 52. Channel 52 was a bootleg public broadcasting station that had an aerobics show called It Figures. I forget if it was on after school or if I taped it on the Betamax (you read that right – no fancy VHS for us!), but that’s when I started working out on my own. Pounding around in my leotard in front of our little TV.
After I left for college, I started taking gym classes that were awesome. And by awesome, I mean classes in which dodge balls were not maliciously whipped at me. I took step when step was hot. I joined a gym when I was 20 and have had gym memberships continuously ever since. Which means for the past 20 years, I’ve been a dedicated gym member. And for the past 20 years, I’ve observed the same phenomenon every January. Right on schedule the first week of January, the gym gets packed. So packed I can barely find a space if I don’t get to class super early. The gym is back to normal by March. Because March is when people usually give up on their new year’s resolution to work out more.
New year’s resolutions come with a lot of pressure. You want to make your life better. You’re riding on that renewed surge of energy the first few weeks of January. But by the middle of February, we’re all dragging. February is gross. Of course you’re craving pasta and nights in snuggled up with a mug of tea and a good book. Those new year’s resolutions are more daunting than ever now. Especially if you got smacked down with that nasty cold everybody had where all you want to do is sleep and watch Felicity for two weeks. You know, The Worst Cold Ever? The one I caught when I was saying how everybody had it? Getting sick or being otherwise impaired right when you’re starting to make a change in your life is depressing. I don’t want you to be depressed. There’s a way to achieve your goals without confining your efforts to a small section of the calendar.
For those of you who are still sticking to your new year’s resolutions, congrats! You go with your fine self. But for those of you who are having a hard time, I want to offer some inspiration in the form of a new resolution. This kind of resolution involves a change in lifestyle. The premise is that, rather than being chained to the calendar or only motivated to make positive changes every January 1, you can take steps to improve your life every single day of the year. You can start anytime you want. Like right now.
My biggest challenge is finding balance. For example:
These are some of the 300 Christmas cookies I baked in December. It took me a total of 13 hours to bake and decorate the cookies. Which, don’t get me wrong, I love doing. Most of my friends aren’t into baking. They really appreciate the love that goes into these cookies. I don’t usually make such a large amount. The increase is to include my BF/soul mate and instafam. Will I bake 300 Christmas cookies next year? Will I be up all night decorating them again?
I don’t know. This is all part of the balance thing. Baking Christmas cookies is something I absolutely love doing. Maybe I’ll decide that I want to keep this tradition alive. Or maybe I’ll decide that 150 cookies is enough. Time will tell. In the meantime, I will be working on achieving balance every day. I will be mindful of times when I should say no. Saying no is really hard for me. I want to accommodate everyone’s wishes. But I have to accept that it’s just not possible to say yes to everything. I have my priorities and those are the things I need to make sure receive the most time and attention. Balance is something I must be aware of every time I make a decision. Once I get used to that routine on a daily basis, my lifestyle will include a better sense of balance.
When we work towards achieving our most important goals every day, we are creating a permanent lifestyle. A lifestyle in which there is no need for resolutions.
Every single day is a new opportunity for change. Screwing up is okay. Don’t be discouraged by a bad day. One step backward today can easily be erased by two steps forward tomorrow. The key is to make positive choices in the Now that will shape your ideal future. Visualize the life you want. Then take steps every day to move toward achieving your goals. That is the way to turn dreams into reality.
You can do this thing. And if you get sidetracked? Today is just as good a time as January 1 to try again.
You always have the power of today.
You always have the power to change your life.
You are the architect of your own destiny.
Let the change begin.