New Years Resolutionaries

9 Jan

2012 is here.

New Years Resolutions are being made and broken all across the nation.

If you crane your neck and turn your ear to just the right angle, you can pretty much hear it happening. It’s not unlike the sound of baby birds taking their first chirps after hatching from their shells, only to be discovered and savagely ravaged by the neighborhood predatory creature, probably a feline of some sort.

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Hope and promise, met with swift and certain demise.

I can also hear the collective chirp of New Years Resolution-makers from atop their elliptical and treadmill perches, as they extol their virtuousness for engaging in this novel thing called cardiovascular exercise.

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I see smiles spread across their faces as they bask in the faint red glow of the inflated calorie expenditure calculations on the exercise machine panels.

I sense their smug grins as they stop at the smoothie bar on the way out of the gym to suck down a sugarific and workout-negating slurpable meal.

And in case it’s not readily evident, let me just state for the record that I’m not into the whole New Year’s Resolution thing.

I’ve had nothing but unmitigated disdain for New Year’s Resolutions ever since I was in college and all the Johnny-come-lately January exercisers usurped my beloved ellipticals and treadmills at Holy Cross’ grievously under-equipped gym. The exercise machine to exerciser ratio was skewed so much during the months of January and February that a struggle muffin had but two choices: wait in line to nab a machine for longer than the desired workout would last, or brave the Worcester wind and cold to run outside. Frigid temps be damned, I ran outside.

So strong is my contempt for NYR’s that I’ve assigned a special nomenclature to its adherents: New Year’s Resolutionaries. Not altogether unlike a revolutionary, a resolutionary is compelled and empowered by a cause.

Cool.

Neat.

I get it.

But the difference between the two is that Resolutionaries’ causes are predicated on little more than widely-embraced yet somewhat shallow cultural customs. Make changes, make improvements, cultivate healthy habits. Because the clock struck 12:00am on January 1st and/ or everyone else is doing it.

There’s no meaning in that.

Sure, making resolutions does confer the benefit to participating resolutionaries  of being able to tap into the feverish surge of energy and enthusiasm that accompany the rampant behavior modifications happening near and far.

Ride that wave. Skirt on the coattails of collectively sought-after self-improvement.

What’s worked well for me is treating resolutionaries as I would zombies. Once encountered, they can’t be avoided. I try to dodge them as best I can but it’s not always possible. When accosted by one on the street, in a store, on the train or in some other public place, I find it serves me best to activate my Go Go Gadget Glassy Eyes, rendering myself dazed and confused, leading the resolutionary to lose interest and seek another soapbox from which to soliloquize.

Chances of running into both zombies and resolutionaries at Starbucks are good to quite good.

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Stay quiet. Stay still. As lifeless as possible. Don’t even take a sip from your skinny vanilla late. If you can’t be detected, you can’t be mutilated/ forced to hear about about the wonders of  Weight Watchers’ new flex points system and what it can do to whittle a waistline. They’re pretty much the same thing in my mind.

Pessimism aside, I do see the value in making changes. Being open to change. Adapting to the undercurrent of change that flows continuously, like it or not, realize it or not.

Change is good. And wise is the person who can recognize this and respond accordingly.

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So here’s what I’ma do about it. I’m adopting a mantra. A simple phrase that reminds me of what I want to work on in 2012. Of what’s important to me as a whole human being, not as a body trying to wedge itself into too-tight jeans.

BE CALM.

That’s my mantra.

Wait a sec…

Be calm.

That’s better.

So yeah, mantras.

We’re only a few days into 2012, but so far the mantra method has served me well.

I think it’s easier to commit to a fairly subjective goal. Something that can be qualified instead of quantified.

I find myself getting worked up and over-thinky and tell myself, ‘self: be calm‘ and then I be calm. Or get calm. Find calm. You know what I mean.

And it’s pretty neato because you can make it as simple or as specific as you want. Open-ended or situational.

Be brave.

Be confident.

Brake for animals.

Back away from the donuts.

The possibilities are endless!

I’ve also taken to asking myself, in the heat of a frenzied moment, would I want to be friends with me right now? If I weren’t me, that is. Would I like/ tolerate/ respect the person I am right now, in this moment, in this situation? And if the answer is no, I make some tweaks.

If I wouldn’t want to be friends with me, I wouldn’t expect anyone else to.

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And that’s what’s working for me. Though it’s clearly not my chosen path, I respect the New Year’s Resolution route if it truly provides the accountability needed to make lasting and effective changes.

How do you approach change in the new year? Mantras? Resolutions? Ultimatums? Aspirations?

5 Responses to “New Years Resolutionaries”

  1. Al January 10, 2012 at 6:54 AM #

    Hi Megan,
    As usual another great blog!
    I usually start the New Year by reviewing the year past. What I’ve accomplished and what I haven’t. What I wanted to do and what I haven’t. I move on from there and make a rough plan to lead me into the New Year.
    I agree with your mantra of “Be Calm’. That in my opinion is the best way to start. We’ve learned that the breath is critical to being calm as well as improving our overall health. I reference the book “The Yogi Science of Breath”.
    I also agree with your statement, “Would I want to be friends with me?” But you also have to bear in mind that it can have an adverse affect if we are too critical of ourselves. Again we have to accept ourselves as we are but we also have the ability to make changes. Even the most subtle change can allow us to evolve into a better person in our own eyes as well as others.

    • Meghan January 10, 2012 at 8:03 AM #

      Al, as always, your feedback is insightful and valuable. Good call about being too critical and yes – I definitely give breath a lot of credit for helping me stay calm. They say ‘we teach what we need to learn’ and I focus on breath as a means to find calm quite a bit in my classes.

  2. Joe Murray January 10, 2012 at 10:43 AM #

    New Years Suggestions !!! More Struggle blogs-please.

    • Meghan January 10, 2012 at 9:31 PM #

      Ask and ye shall receive, Joe! Hope you’re having fun in Florida :)

  3. True Alisandre, E-RYT January 26, 2012 at 4:37 PM #

    I searched: Smoothie Mantra Muffins, and found your blog. I have a book out you may be interested titled Pictures of Health to Breathe & Move with, on Amazon, CreateSpace (better for me if you order here) and in several bookstores in Arkansas where I returned from S. Cal where I was on sabbatical from April 2010 to June 2011, finishing the book.
    I’ve taught yoga since the 70′s learning from Ananda Marga Yoga Society which emphasized meditation and not just a fitness program of asanas. I gather you teach yoga too? “be calm” is a great mantra, and I just mentioned to one of my apartment mates that I was “taking to heart” slow down as a practice in my life, and allowing my cells to ‘use more time to smell the roses.’
    I thought it was funny that our local statewide paper, and the Women’s Health mag. both emphasized only the pretty body aspect of New Years Resolutions, and led a drum circle activity early into the new year that asked people to pick something that: Resolves Our (or ONE) American Mind (ROAM) cause I think it’s in need of an overhaul.
    So, yes ditto to your “changing your mind” not just upgrading your physical fleshly equipment. Marianne Williamson stated something like you in one of her presentations (paraphrased) — “If you don’t want to go out with you, who else do you expect will want to?”
    I appreciate your thoughts, and attitude of gratitude, and would like to hear your thoughts about my book, 163 short breath practices inspired by my 20 years of massage and 40 of yoga, doable in 1 – 2 minutes. Peace/Namaste

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