Saturday, December 27, 2014

New Years Resolution? Whats Wrong With This Year?

I've never been one to make a "New Years Resolution."  The turning over of one year to the next new year has held little sway over how I decide to change habits or decide to tackle a new skill, however I can see the appeal from a mindset point of view.  Its a new year, after all and all 365 days of the last year, whether they were full of procrastination or success, are over and the slate, at least mentally, can be clean.  Which is total bullshit.

Hear me out;  there's nothing new about the new year except for a new calendar, one different digit and the last time a new year held sway over the public in any meaningful way was 1999, everyone was partying like Prince and come midnight there was going to be a global computer failure or something (that was a long time ago, so I don't remember all the things that were supposed to happen but fixing it was part of the plot for Office Space, so I can at least thank Y2K for that.)  In reality, the new year means you are still you, your plans, habits and behavior is largely the same from 2014 into the first few minutes of 2015 and beyond.  The calendar doesn't hold such a monumental sway over your dedication that the passage of one year to the next can drastically change the way you think; these things don't happen so suddenly unless you have a Jamestown level of devotion to a moment, which is admirable unless you like poisoned kool aide.

You are the sum of all your mistakes and successes, bad habits and good, the lies you tell yourself and the truths you celebrate and a simple ticking of the clock isn't going to suddenly change that because if it could, you wouldn't wait for a new year to make it happen.  Changing your behavior isn't like changing a diaper, you don't have to wait for a reason, you can do it right now, any time you wish.  The idea of a landmark to wait for change is appealing because it gives us time to continue doing exactly what we want to be doing versus what we think we should be doing instead.  Thats right; if you think you need to change your habit of watching 8 hours of TV a night and instead get in the gym, think about why you watch 8 hours of TV a night.  You do it because its what you want to do.  If you wanted to be in the gym, you would be.  There is nothing so pressing on TV to keep you from that goal, even binge watching an entire season of House of Cards is no excuse, and may actually be the reason Kevin Spacey still has a career (great show, shift fire).

Think about it, when you want to do something, anything, you have all the motivation you need to do it.  From running to the store for a new thingymajig to starting a family, the motivation is reason enough to make it happen.  Oh, the more complex the want the more difficult the path to making it happen but it all starts with honest motivation, which shouldn't be calender dependent.  Is there some ethereal force in December, some chronological specter that will suddenly not be there in January?

Motivation is nice, discipline is better.  We need motivation sometimes to get us to discipline, which is why the idea of a resolution appeals to some people, hell, a lot of people.  In January of 2014 the gym looked like a Roman Ludus; hundreds of extra bodies exploring gym equipment for the first time, getting a feel for the tools used to sculpt themselves into whatever image they had in their mind.  They had all the motivation, nothing could stop them, with resolution in mind they set forth to become something better.  As January fell into February, the motivation was gone and all that was left was those who had found discipline and discipline does not emerge from the cocoon of motivation, it something you have to forge yourself with sweat, time and resolve.  The idea of what you want has to be powerful enough for you to suffer adversity (no matter how difficult) to achieve your goal and the closer you get to that goal, the less the goal matters.  The goal falls away and the lifestyle is all that is left; instead of getting a new version of yourself to fit into your existing patterns and habits, you change the way you think about those patterns and habits, you toss out the patterns and habits that don't fit with what you want.  Its not just a gym thing, its a way of life thing, an approach to all things.  Training to finding a new job to writing a novel or building a bird house.  The more difficult the task we have in mind, the harder it will be for us to find a reason to start it.  We are comfortable in routine, in what we know; the new and what we think of as hard leaves us with all sorts of reasons to not start right now, to wait a while, to set a resolution to begin soon.  We are creatures of habit, after all and those habits allow us to make excuses, to bemoan not having enough time or energy to do something, but the time is there and if it isnt, we can make the time.  We can stop filling an hour or two each day with sedentary entertainment and instead devote that time to our goal; nearly everyone has that time if they are willing to either move some things around or give up part of the time they spend doing other unimportant things.

Training is what we do to become what we want to be with a skill or a physical way of life.  Its an idea that appeals to us enough that we make a plan to achieve it and that plan shouldn't be calender dependent.  Setbacks are coming, excuses for skipping a day or a class or to not even start are coming; be ready for the lack of motivation or the crunch of time when other life activities threaten to steal some of your time.  Every second spent working for a positive goal is better than letting that second go to waste.  Be it 15 minutes or an hour you can give each day, its going to be better than saying some day.   If you want to wait for January 1st to begin, thats fine, but just like January of this year, dont be the guy or girl who has given up before the month was over.  Grind hard, make time and crush all the excuses until that goal isnt as important as your new way of life.


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