It’s that time of year again. You know. The time of year when nicotine patches fly off the shelves and personal trainers are working overtime. I braced myself as I drove to the gym this morning, knowing what I would find there, and sure enough, there they were. The January Resolutioners.
They’re easy to spot for us regular gym rats. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m no health nut. I hate working out. I only do it because the only thing worse than working out is not being able to. For me, it’s Life’s daily price of admission.
Anyway, the Resolutioners are easy to spot, and we know just how long each of them is going to stay. The overweight guy who’s grunting and straining while pressing his maxed-out set of three? He’s done now because he just hurt himself. The lady sitting on the mat gossiping between her two sets of 10 stomach crunches? January 5th. January 8th if she’s with a friend. But the aging realtor in the power training class who ran out, vomited, and came back? She’s the one to watch. Ask her name. You’ll be trading recipes in July. Why? Because she clearly wants to be there.
The key word is “want.” The hard fact is that people do what they want to do. Period. Most resolutions are about “should,” and shoulds never pan out. I learned this when I quit smoking 20 years ago.
I was taking an aikido class where I was almost the only woman with a lot of hot babes, and none of them smoked. I did, and I found that, when faced with the clean-living martial arts Chippendales, I was ashamed of that fact. (No, they didn’t strip. Stop that. I just meant that they were gorgeous.) So I decided I needed to either quit or come to terms with my vice. Since quitting was difficult, and I didn’t like difficult, I chose to make peace with my choice.
Here’s what I did. I watched myself. I found that I first justified the cigarette, then I would light it and enjoy about a third of it. After that, I’d start beating myself up. . . . Why can’t I just quit? Those hunka hunka aikido guys would never want an ashtray- mouth like me. . . . Then I would vow it was my last one forever and feel strong for a while because, in the words of an old friend, “Junkie ahays strong afta he fix.” It’s called the addiction cycle. It’s the same from cigarettes to cake to *ahem* computer play.
My goal was to unashamedly smoke like Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not so I decided to short-circuit that cycle at the point of self-abuse and turn off the negative talk. Just smoke or not smoke. It worked, but not like I thought it would.
I found that, when I used smoking as a reason to think I was a loser, I used thinking I was a loser as an excuse to fail in my endeavors. When I removed that self-abuse baggage, smoking lost it’s appeal. It became nothing but a choice, and when you choose the action, you choose the consequence. I quit and never looked back. (Good thing since I could never afford it now.)
Since then, all my resolutions have been Reverse Psychology Resolutions. For example, I vowed to be a secretary as long as I wanted, and a year later, I started law school. I vowed to eat all the sweets I wanted, and I lost 30 pounds. I promised myself I would be ok if I never wrote a book, and now, I’m working on a second. So these are my resolutions for 2011. . . .
- I vow to eat all the donuts I want. Especially those old-fashioned buttermilk kind with the sweet chocolate frosting like they make at Lamar’s.
- I vow to sleep in instead of going to the gym any time I want.
- I vow to yell at my children whenever I want. (That should be fun!)
- I vow to buy every pair of shoes I want, even the ones that don’t fit me very well and that I have no place to wear.
- I vow to only write when I want. . . .
You get the idea. And as for you January Resolutioners at the gym? I’m rooting for you. I’m hoping you will only come to the gym when you want. I’m hoping you will want often, and that I’ll be trading recipes for carrot cake with each and every one of you come July.
If you could indulge in anything, what would it be?
Beme Alert: The Navy made and showed raunchy videos. An executive officer is even shown cussing. Gasp! Let’s see. . . . How does that saying go? Cusses like a nun? . . . No, that’s not right. . . . Cusses like a school teacher? . . . No. Doesn’t have the right ring to it. . . . I know. How about cusses like a sailor? Yes! That’s it!
Seriously, these people are humans. You cannot send people to war and expect them to maintain liberal, stateside, politically correct behavior 100% of the time, even if it’s in training videos. And does anyone actually miss those GE Health Films? This is manufactured news of no importance. While it might not have been the best political judgement to make and show these videos, even the reporter breaking the news would not go as far as to say they were offensive. This is a journalistic Beanie Baby. Click here for the story.
What are your resolutions for the year? What will you be indulging in?
All the best to all of you for self-indulging all the way to your goals.
Piper Bayard—The Pale Writer of the Apocalypse
“The only thing I’m willing to give up is abstinence.”– Holmes