Wednesday, January 1, 2020

On Resolutions

I used to work at a healthcare practice that had an attached health club facility. Not only was this handy for the patients who needed physical therapy, it was also available to employees for use during free hours and even lunch break. And one of the things that made the biggest impression on me was how insanely crowded the health club would become after the first of every year. There would sometimes be lines of people waiting to use the various Stair Masters or elliptical machines, and the exercise classes would all be filled to capacity. The crowds would last for, oh, four to six weeks after January first, maybe a little longer, and then they would melt away. I’m guessing that was about as long as some New Year’s fitness resolutions lasted.

Some years ago, I joined Weight Watchers (now called “WW”) and watched the same phenomenon. Meetings (now called “workshops”) would be almost standing-room-only starting the first week of January, and this also would last maybe through March? April? So possibly a little bit longer than the health club thing, but not as long as six months. Again, was this a resolution fade-out?

People who know me have long given up on asking me what my New Year’s resolutions are, probably because I never have any. Not that I don’t think I need work (sometimes heavy-duty work) in various areas of my life. Of course I do. But I never bothered with resolutions simply because trying to pick up a new self-improvement habit, or change a behavior, never coincided with January 1, for me. If I was going to try to make a change, I figured I ought to do it when the thought of that change occurred to me. I mean, if I thought about it in March, why would I wait another nine or ten months to put it into practice, right?

But this New Year is a little more special. It’s not only a new year, it’s the beginning of a new decade, isn’t it? (Or is that 2021? I can never keep this stuff straight.) At any event, to me it’s the beginning of a new decade, and accordingly, it does seem as if there are a few things I ought to try to straighten out for the next ten-year period.

For one thing, I’m still trying to figure out how to make my muse work with me a little more productively, i.e., with more speed. I not only have BPC book seven to finish, I have at least one other novel running through my head. Possibly two others. That’s pretty crowded in there, even for me. The least I can do is try to get these things down on paper.

For another, since I’m currently the youngest right now that I will ever be for the rest of my life, I probably should be doing more to cultivate healthier habits. And I’d like to do it on my own terms, not because I have all these voices in my head (from the news, from Internet articles, from whatever sources) trying to guilt me into doing this or not doing that. I think I’m tired of all these strangers telling me what to do. I think I know enough by now to figure out what I am actually capable of doing, and what changes I know I can make and stick with. Surely by now, I ought to be capable of that, right?

And lastly, because of what’s happening in our world these days, I do resolve (as I think I did some time ago) to be as kind as possible, because kindness seems to be struggling to survive at this particular time. And I think kindness can become contagious, if enough people take the time to do kind and decent things.

I don’t know if you make resolutions every year, and if you do, I congratulate you. It means you’ve given thought to what’s going on in your life and decided to take control over some aspect or aspects of it as you see fit. And that’s always worth a pat on the back, not to mention admiration on my part. Maybe the one thing I’ve finally realized after all these years on this planet is that any resolution worth keeping has to be renewed on a daily basis. I need to get up every morning and make a conscious decision to keep my resolve for at least that day. For me, those resolutions don’t need a fixed calendar date to be set into motion. On the other hand, making that decision every day can kind of make each day the start of a new year. Or decade. Good luck to all of us!

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