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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Year in Review


We are about to say goodbye to this year (not to mention, this decade) and usher in a new one. 

A fresh start.  A new beginning.

In 2010, I ran +/- 2,000 miles (I'm still trying to pin down a more exact number.  Cyndi's not really a detail person).

I started and finished 17 road races:  four 5K's, two 4 milers, one 5 miler, one 10K, two 10 milers, three half-marathons, one 16 miler, one 30K and two marathons.  I received age group awards in four of those races and set PR's (Personal Record) in four others. 

Not too shabby.

There's been some ups and downs, physically and emotionally, many of which have been talked about in this blog, but nothing I couldn't handle, even if I didn't quite realize it at the time.  Nothing is permanent.  Nothing lasts forever.

This too shall pass.  And it always does.

Yup.  It's been a very good year.

As we bring in a new 365 day segment, it's customary to make "New Year's Resolutions".  It's kind of like waiting until Monday to start a diet.  We decide that this particular January 1st will be the time when we finally decide to lose weight, start exercising, save more money, quit smoking, etc.  We put all our eggs in that proverbial basket, filled with hope and resolve.

I'm sure you've made more than one of these NYR's.  I know I have.

And, chances are, you haven't kept very many of them.  I know I haven't.

Remember, I work in the fitness industry by trade.  January 2nd, dozens of "would be fitness hopefuls" come to our facility in droves.  I call this time of year "tourist season".  They approach exercise with vim and vigor.  They come every day for the first week, or even two.  Then, gradually, you see them less and less.  All of a sudden, Valentine's Day is here and you don't see most of those new faces much, if at all.

I've observed this pattern every year for the past 16 years.
What's the problem, then?  How can we go into this endeavor filled with such optimism and positive expectation, only to crash and burn in a few weeks?

My personal experience with resolutions has taught me this:  anything that feels like work won't work.  If you approach change as something you SHOULD or HAVE to do instead of something you WANT to do, you set yourself up to fail.  Plain and simple.  I think we set these lofty goals for ourselves because we feel accountable to society at large for our behavior.  Sometimes, we impose these expectations on ourselves, but the motivation is the same:  approval.  From the time we were little, we have been conditioned to seek acceptance from our friends, family and peers.  We bought into the lie that what others think of us is more important than following our own instincts.

And that is why our resolutions go up in smoke.

We human beings are meant to be happy.  Granted, we sometimes forget this and can, at times, feel pretty awful.  But, even the hardcore masochist needs a reprieve from time to time.  We cannot punish ourselves indefinitely.  It's not our nature.  It's not what we're meant for.

Having learned this first hand, I have decided that there is only one New Year's Resolution I can be sure of keeping.

Not making any.

If I decide to learn a new skill, change my financial circumstances, or modify my behavior in any way, shape or form, well then, I'll just do it if, and only if, I want to.  I don't need to wait until the calendar tells me it's time.  If my desire and my intention match, taking inspired action is easy.  It just flows, effortlessly.

If it feels like work, it won't work.

Trust me on this one, friends.

Happy New Year!

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