Monday, October 19, 2009

New Year's Evolution

I know it's early to talk about the new year already, but I think it's a good time to start for a few different reasons.

I have a problem with New Year's Resolutions.

The word resolution itself comes from the word "resolve." When we resolve something it is finished, right? How can we be starting a new habit by finishing something? I can see it in one sense---quit smoking to start being healthier, start exercising to stop being unhealthy....but the wording doesn't totally seem to fit for what we're really trying to do. If I'm resolving something by finally starting an exercise program (quitting smoking, losing weight, managing my stress, etc.), doesn't it sound like a last resort?

I know last year I talked about how busy the gym was after January 1st, and I'm sure it will be again this year. It's great that people try to start an exercise program, but aren't you sick of trying and not having it stick? This leads us to the question of why it doesn't stick. WHY? Because we don't change anything except saying we are going to force ourselves to go to the gym. Who are we kidding? Does that ever work permanently?

Not very often.

The society we live in forces us into survival mode much of the time, whether it's about money, food, health, time, or something else. We are also fed the idea that we can find a magic bullet for reaching our goals, and also that we should be able to change our lifestyle instantly if we decide to.

The fact is, we are really bad at doing that....and there are no magic bullets. So maybe if we just look those facts in the face, we can deside not to resolve something this year in January, but to begin our evolution in the positive direction. We are always evolving, whether we try to or not---but whether it is going in the right direction or not is a different story.

Evolving in the right direction is up to you to plan. Your wellness coach (or friends or personal trainer, etc) can help, but you have to really decide for yourself where you want to go. Once you do, you can begin to take the steps to get there. What if your New Year's Evolution plan is to lose 20 pounds in a year? Can you break that year into months, and then begin to take small steps leading you to that goal? All of a sudden, 20 pounds (although the end goal) is not the entire focus. The focus is on what would you do today if you were going to work toward weighing 20 pounds less. You are not just trying to reduce a number with this approach, you are trying to change the type of person you are---you are evolving into a person who weighs less, not acting like a person who already weighs 20 pounds less than you do.

My direction after I leave RIT is going to be on evolution, not flip-flopping or resolving bad habits. You could start thinking about it today----figure out what your long-term evolution would include, and then break it down into smaller pieces to figure out what to do today. I hope you stay in touch with me and share what you're working on.

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