The parking lot at my fitness club was packed this morning. Its January 3rd. I've been a member there for a few years. For the next 3 weeks, there will be significantly increased attendance there. By the end of January, or maybe early February, things will return to the normal numbers of people who attend the rest of the year.
It's New Years Resolution Syndrome. Tons of people all over the country, vow to get fit and exercise like crazy, and most of them only last a few weeks.
Please. For the love of all that is good and moisture wicking, don't be one of these people.
Most new year's resolutions are doomed from the start. They suffer from being too vague, too ambitious, and/or too boring.
The most overdone resolution on the planet: "I am going to exercise every day in the new year". When I hear this, two things come to mind: 1. No you won't. 2. Yawn.
The second most overdone resolution: "I am going to eat healthier in the new year." My 2 thoughs: 1. So if you eat 1 more carrot this year does that count? 2. Yawn.
In the world according to Webmaster Mary, new year's resolutions should be about 3 things: 1. Modest changes that improve your life. 2. Challenging yourself 3. Trying new things.
New year's resolutions should NOT be about trying to be perfect. They should not be about making drastic changes. For 99.9% of the population, drastic changes have a life expectancy of about 3 weeks.
If your exercise routine was completely inconsistent last year, and you went weeks or months without any exercise, vowing to exercise every day is a recipe for failure. Instead, make a modest and reasonable goal of exercising 1 or 2 times a week. Better yet, pick a number for the whole year - 75. This allows you to have good weeks and bad weeks, and still meet your goal. If you only exercised 30 times last year, then 75 is a respectable improvement. It also allows you to improve again next year, and bump that number up to 100 or 150 - translating to 2 or 3 times a week.
For those that already are exercising regularly, perhaps even running, new year's resolutions should be about trying something new.
My new year's resolutions are simply resolutions. I resolve to do something, and I keep that same one year after year. And, I don't wait until January 1st if I think of a new one.
Here are my current resolutions:
1. Run a race in a new state every year.
2. Run a race in a new Wisconsin county every year (not countRy with an R... county. And I picked Wisconsin because that's where I live.)
3. Try a new recipe every month. Dessert, main dish, side dish, or appetizer: at least 1 new recipe every month. BTW - Lately they have all been cookies. I also like trying recipes with an ingredient I've never used before, or a method or technique I've never done before.
4. Try a new activity every year. I don't have to like it, or stay with it forever, but just give it an honest try. I don't know what this one will be this year yet, but recent past ones are:
Piano lessons - did this in my late 30s. Never learned to play piano as a kid, though I played several other instruments. Took lessons for about a year with a group of other women. Can successfully play a few songs that my family can recognize.
Played on a softball team - did this at the age of 40 - had never been on an organized team before. I can honestly say I never want to do this one again. But I stuck it out for the season, and didn't bring great shame to my family. When I got up to bat, I'd wait for a good pitch, swing with everything I had, connect with the ball, and if I was lucky, the ball made it as far as the pitcher's mound. Got on base once, and caught one fly ball. Glad I can check this off the list.
Yoga - tried this a few years ago, and still do it about once a week
Spin Class - last year's new thing - not very exciting, but I couldn't get into that space shuttle program
Bass guitar - didn't get very far, but was able to play a few recognizable bass lines.
New years resolutions should be about doing something new, and improving your life. They should be fun, and should challenge you a little. If there is something you've told yourself you've always wanted to try, make this the year you try it.
Wishing you new adventures in 2011,