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kyle cassidy

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Go ahead and make a resolution - but make it one you can keep [Jan. 5th, 2014|12:38 pm]
kyle cassidy
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]
[music |the beatles]

I've been reading a lot of year-end laments from people on the Internet, and I've been hearing it at the gym too. People whining that Our Refuge is going to be filled with NEW YEARS RESOLUTION AMATEURS and we won't be able to get a rowing machine for a week until they all pull calf muscles and go drown their sorrow in cheeseburgers and things return to normal.

I almost have some sympathy for people who are complaining out of selfishness because they don't want the gym to be crowded, but I'm left baffled by people who just sit at their laptops wailing "YOU'RE GOING TO FAIL! DON'T BOTHER STARTING!"

So I wanted to say; there's nothing wrong with a New Years Resolution -- or any resolution. But for a resolution to work, you need resolve, which is a difficult thing to maintain.

I want to recommend the interview I did with Hanne Blank a year ago this month. Hanne's the author of (among many other things) The Unapologetic Fat Girl's Guide to Exercise & Other Incendiary Acts. In the interview Hanne says that when you promise yourself you're going to try something*, pick a reasonable number before you give up -- she suggests 100 days. If you're going to go to the gym, go to the gym for 100 days (this doesn't mean you get a three month membership, go three times and stop, it means you walk through the door and get on the exercise bike and you ride it 100 times) and this counts for taking French lessons too -- or whatever your promise to yourself is. Because the truth is you won't learn French in a week, and you won't lose 10 pounds in a week, though it's possible you will read Moby Dick in a week, so plan realistic time according to your desired result. If you go to the gym 100 times something will happen and it probably won't be insignificant, that's true for 100 French lessons too, c'est vrai. Also, I think it's also ok to have magic be a part of your plan.

I believe in magic.

Or at least I believe that talismans can be powerful if you let them. And I have a talisman that worked for me that I want to give away.

I recently came across this photo of myself from Readercon 2012 and thought what a long, slow trip it's been, and how it was motivated by magic things and kind people.

Clickenzee to embiggen!

The Magnum Connection
The gym kind of sucks, at first it especially sucks and eventually you get to this weird place where if you don't go you feel bad, like some weird drug that makes you hurt but you want it anyway. I can't explain it, but anyway, in between the "whee! I'm going to join the gym and lose ten pounds, let's go shopping for outfits! and "I haven't been to the gym in six days and I'm going freaking crazy! there's a lot of "why did I do this? this freaking blows" -- and those are the days that people stop going, and once you stop going, you don't really ever go back and your new years resolution is over.

In the early days of my experience with The Gym I realized that I'd never seen the last episode of Magnum p.i., a show which I enjoyed in my youth but didn't have a TV when it ended. So one afternoon I thought, "I'll just watch that on Netflix" but then I thought "Well, I shouldn't just watch the last episode because I won't know what's going on, I'll watch the last season". So I started watching the last season at the gym while I rode the exercise bike and this was perfect. Because I really enjoyed the show, and it was 43 minutes long, which is a good workout and I was motivated to go back every day to see another episode because there was the goal of the Last Episode just X gym days away.

And then a funny thing happened.

I started posting about my Magnum p.i. watching to Twitter and Facebook (because it's easier with the mobile app to post to them than it is to Livejournal (I mentioned this to them years ago)) -- anyway, people started to get excited about it. And there was much conversation back and forth about Magnum and my going to the gym and then every day I felt an obligation to people who were following along vicariously so I'd do updates about the Magnum p.i. episode I was watching....

And then a crazy thing happened.

People on the Internet started sending me stuff -- random strangers who'd been following along started sending me Magnum p.i. shirts, because somehow it had gotten that interesting. So now not only was I watching TV and working out BUT I HAD MAGIC CLOTHES, clothes made out of love & support and trust. And that was a big turning point. Once I had the magic-shirt of weight-loss I felt I couldn't stop.

Clickenzee to embiggen!!

I finished the last season of Magnum p.i., and then I went back to season 1 and started from the beginning. By the time I got to season 4 I'd lost a lot of weight and my heart and lungs had gotten stronger and I was able, for the first time, to run. That burned more calories faster and, well, we all know what happened from there.

So, I have this magic shirt, it's made of love and support and trust and motivation and I lost 40 pounds while wearing it and I want to give it to you because it's helped me as much as it needs to and it needs to help someone else.

I will wash it first.

So drop me an email, or post in the comments about how a magic exercise shirt will help you with your goal. Best story by next Friday gets the shirt.

This magic shirt can be yours

And if you want, you can keep it for 12 months and then give it to someone else who needs it. That's often how magic things work best.

Anyway, have a swell day.

(* btw "something" doesn't necessarily mean weight loss -- you can be whatever size you want, it just happened to be one of my personal goals. This applies to writing a novel or going to Europe or whatever your resolution might be -- pick your goal, look for the magic, and find the thing that makes you work towards your goal every day.)

EDIT: It's 2015, if you're reading this now because it's getting shared a lot, the shirt found a home. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't start something. Finish something. Be fierce. Find magic.

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[User Picture]From: lawbabeak
2014-01-05 06:27 pm (UTC)
My goal: 20 half-crunches a day, every day in January. Goal to be reevaluated at the end of the month and perhaps added to.

Mid-February through December, my gym is full of positive, non-judgmental people who are mindful of how they use the space and generally aware of the people around them. At worst, they don't give a shit about you. The first six weeks of the year sees a flood of people who are not all non-judgmental and not necessarily mindful of how they use the space. The whole vibe changed, and made it very hard for me to exercise (in part, because there just was not the space to exercise).

I un-joined in September or October, because I wasn't going and that caused me undue stress. I will rejoin this year, but not before March.
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[User Picture]From: howlokitty
2014-01-05 06:35 pm (UTC)
I don't think having a magic shirt would help me, so please give it to someone else!

But, I think that watching you go slow and steady and get fit has really helped me in my own journey. I don't make New Year's resolutions, instead I take the time to reassess my goals. If I had made a New Year's resolution to run a 5k last year, I would have gotten discouraged because I never made it to the point where I felt comfortable signing up for it. I had a goal to run a 5k, and even though I didn't meet it, I could still see where I succeeded because at the end of the year, I reached the point where I could jog for 20 minutes at a time. C25k thinks that this means I'm running for two miles, but really I'm running half that in 20 minutes, and I'm fine with that. Last year at this time, I had a hard time jogging for 3 minutes at a time, so I can really see an improvement.

Last year I made the goal to travel outside of the US at New Year's, and I went to Britain and Mexico. If I hadn't quite made it, I would have at least had savings and worked towards succeeding at it this year.

This is the tactic that works for me. This year, I want to travel to Philly and Toronto and finally sign up for the 5k (there's a cool electric 5k that happens at night and looks really amazing; they set up neon light city that you run through). I also have a secret goal that I'm keeping close for right now, but so far it's been going really well, and I'm only a few days into the year!
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[User Picture]From: Rivkah Raven Wood
2014-01-05 07:00 pm (UTC)
this is a wonderful blog post... and it's so very true.
I'd like a magic shirt, though I think there may be others who need it more, and if they post here, I hope they get it and it inspires them.

I'll tell you why I'd like the magic shirt.

I have begun and stuck with boxing for the past 9 months -- it will be 9 months tomorrow, in fact. I began because i had a student who called me "cow" every day, and made nasty remarks about my body every time I turned my back to write on the chalkboard. this was something small I tried to shrug off, but it stung, and I finally really looked at myself - REALLy looked, and realized I didn't match anymore the image I had of myself in my head -- old me was gone, and she'd been replaced, during a horrible, stressful two-year relationship, by a fat woman.

so, I began boxing. at first, I did it for therapy. and I hurt so much I couldn't move, but I stuck with it. and now, I love it--and yes, If I miss a day , I feel pretty darned awful.

here's where the magic shirt comes in...

I have been so empowered by my boxing journey, I have decided I want to train women (yes specifically women though that could change) to box. Because often, we don't get to take up space--we are told from very young ages to be as small as possible, to speak sweetly, to curve gently around our man and basically be very small and dainty. when I box, I can take up as much space as I want. in fact, I HAVE to. I have to own the space and fill it as powerfully as I can, with no apologies. learning to box has helped me find my voice as a human being in this world, and helped me speak out - it's taught me to stand tall and to stop apologizing for who I am.

so I got in touch with Michael Olajide (who started this particular boxing workout that I am addicted to,) and my GOAL is to get good & strong enough to go train with him to be certified to teach this to others, as an addition to my health coaching business.

I have hit a wall with this--- I seem to have stuck at a sort of maintenance level, and cannot seem to get stronger. I need to get far stronger to be able to handle training with Michael... my gremlins have come up. these nasty little voices in my head tell me I am too old to get stronger, I am a woman so I can't... etc. But I KNOW that there must be a way -- I know I've just got to get in there and work harder, longer, smarter...

I'm a bit scared of the pain that is ahead of me, trying to do this--- and a magic magnum p.i. (my first crush!) shirt would help me pump it up the fifty notches I need to pump it up in order to do this crazy dream. freaking magnum p.i. shirt! yes! to be reminded of your story every time I put it on would help me immensely.

BUT ... if there's someone who posts who has not gotten to the gym yet at all, let them have it--because I am already healthier and stronger than I've ever been -- people! I'm telling you! Kyle Cassidy is right on here-- make no mistake, it's gonna hurt like hell, but if you just GET there and make a habit of it, and just keep going, it will change your life. absolutely freaking guaranteed.

thank you for this post :o) you're a superstar!
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[User Picture]From: kdsorceress
2014-01-05 08:37 pm (UTC)
Your goal sounds utterly amazing, and completely inspiring. The idea of teaching girls(women) how to take up space is incredibly appealing to me. I know I'm not Kyle, and don't really have a vote, but I would so be sending that shirt to you if I could.

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[User Picture]From: xtingu
2014-01-05 10:51 pm (UTC)
It never, ever occurred to me that as women we're told from a young age that we should take up less space. You're totally right. It's got to feel simply amazing to take up physical space like boxing demands you do. (I'm a rock/Broadway singer, so I both have to be dainty and small, but I also need to produce a huge sound.)

Reading this was a major "HOLY CRAP!" moment for me.

Thank you very much!
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[User Picture]From: rhondaparrish
2014-01-15 09:57 pm (UTC)
I think you're awesome. I'm totally cheering you on!
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[User Picture]From: livejournal
2014-01-05 08:34 pm (UTC)

Here is an idea of something I would like to make happen or at least see happen.

User ms_violet referenced to your post from Here is an idea of something I would like to make happen or at least see happen. saying: [...] is not a fitness blog, but sometimes he posts some inspirational things about physical movement [...]
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[User Picture]From: damonbuxton
2014-01-05 08:58 pm (UTC)

I will use it to help me win a Grammy

Love it. I would use the shirt to help motivate me to do the promotion necessary to win a Grammy. The shirt would hang proudly in the hallway of my studio where I would see it daily. I could then say "HAVE YOU SEEN MY GRAMMY THAT KYLE CASSIDY HELPED ME WIN?!"
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[User Picture]From: klwilliams
2014-01-06 01:34 am (UTC)
There are four phases to every new thing anyone tries: Phase 1 is "This is so cool. I'm going to do X. X is very easy. All I have to do is Overly Simplified Idea of X." Phase 2 is "OMG I had no idea how hard this was. Everything I try is Made of Fail. Why did I ever do this?" Phase 2 is when most people quit. Phase 2 is when you need the Magic Thing. Phase 3 is when you're starting to Get It, and Phase 4 is when you're Super Wonder Woman Man. I always try to keep in mind Phase 2 when I'm in it.

I have MS. In the two years since I was diagnosed (and started eating more every time my legs started doing less) I've gained 40 pounds. In the last couple of months I got a Fitbit, and have started upping my daily steps. I also go to yoga class. That helps the MS, but doesn't do much for the actual weight loss. I'm starting Weight Watchers again on Monday. I've done it before, and I'll do it again. Even if I'm still in a walker, being 40 pounds lighter will help.
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[User Picture]From: skreidle
2014-01-06 01:37 am (UTC)
I recall reading an article a while back about resolutions, and why so many people fail to keep them -- not merely resolve, but resolutions that are too vague. "Get in better shape"? "Eat healthier"? Too vague, no benchmarks! Possibly too ambitious, but hard to say!

Now, "20 half-crunches a day for every day in January", as lawbabeak shared above? Excellent! Concrete! Easy to see progress! :)
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[User Picture]From: elsewhereangel
2014-01-06 02:23 am (UTC)
I continue to maintain that you are thoroughly awesome. Keep at it!
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[User Picture]From: verlise
2014-01-06 03:15 am (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this.
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[User Picture]From: dampscribbler
2014-01-06 03:48 am (UTC)
I've been writing, finally, and I have a goal of a finished first draft in late March, and a meeting with someone particular to discuss it. I was going to ask for the shirt, but then I read the boxing lady and thought "I want her to have the shirt." Then I went back to see her name -- Rivkah Raven Wood. My character's name is Blackwood. I want Rivkah to have that shirt. With your permission, Kyle, I'll print a photo of it and tack it to my wall. That's all the magic I need. Rivkah is paying it forward in a big way.
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[User Picture]From: trishalynn
2014-01-06 02:55 pm (UTC)
I don't want the shirt, but I do want to let you know that through diet alone, I've lost about 14 pounds since mid-November and this is including holiday meal eating. I know that if I add in exercise, not only will I lose more weight faster, but I'll be able to get some of the foods I love back into my diet (but not all of them, because I'm watching sodium, potassium, and carbohydrate intake as well). However—and this is even including that fantastic conversation you and I had a while back regarding running—I'm still not uber-excited enough about getting up to exercise. I mean, there's a gym in our building and for a while I was walking on the treadmill for 30 to 45 min. at/around 2 to 2.5 mph three days a week, but I can't remember why I stopped and I have no idea why I haven't gone back down to it. On a day like today where the windchill is making it feel like it's 40 below, I don't have to go outside to exercise. I could go to the gym in my building and I'm still not going.

I think it's back to therapy for me, first. And I definitely doubt a magic shirt is going to help me there.

Also, I think that if it were my shirt to give, I'd give it to Rivkah Raven Wood.

Edited at 2014-01-06 03:14 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: deililly
2014-01-06 05:54 pm (UTC)
I went and bought the Hanne Blank book, thanks Kyle. I am getting married in September and want to make myself sleeker. Not thinner but sturdy and streamlined like an otter. Ottering myself sounds like a much better goal. Me but looking my best.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2014-01-06 06:44 pm (UTC)
september is plenty of time to otter!! you'll do fabulously. congrats on everything!
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[User Picture]From: deililly
2014-01-07 02:58 am (UTC)
Thank you :)

It took a long time to like myself enough to let someone love me. This will be a big year!
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[User Picture]From: rhondaparrish
2014-01-15 09:59 pm (UTC)
I <3 the phrase 'ottering myself'. It's fantastic :)
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[User Picture]From: rhondaparrish
2014-01-08 07:22 pm (UTC)
Oh dude, I could totally use a magic tee shirt.

I've been struggling with my weight for just over a decade now. I though I had a handle on it a couple years ago -- I was working out on my stationary bike every day, living a more active lifestyle over all and starting to run (with my whole family). Then, as part of that 'active lifestyle' thing we decided to go backpacking for our family summer vacation. As we were walking back down the mountain, with heavy packs on, I rolled my ankle. There isn't even a fun story to go with that, no root tripped me, no rock snuck under my foot. I was walking along fine and them POW my ankle was so not working anymore. Of course I still had to get off the mountain, borked ankle and all.

That injury took a very long time to heal, and by the time it did I was unmotivated, uninspired and out of the habit and.

But then, eventually, I pulled myself out of that hole and started back on the path to my goals (which are both fitness and weight-loss related). I was doing well, again. As a family we were eating healthier (because I'm the primary cook, what I make/cook/eat doesn't just effect me, it effects my husband and daughter as well), and going out and doing more. Again I started with the stationary bike but then I moved on to running (couch to 5k) and brought my daughter (who is also overweight) with me. Whether she wanted to or not.

Then, on a run, I turned my ankle. Again.

It wasn't terrible though, and within a few days I was able to run again... at which time I tripped and sprained my other ankle.


Right. So, once that healed I was scared to go running again. I was like, 'I dunno if I should even be allowed to walk, I'm so clumsy' but I wasn't willing to give up on becoming more fit. Not yet.

So, I bought P90x and my husband, daughter and myself started doing that. My daughter started out hating it (as did we all LOL) but eventually as we got into better shape it became fun. Challenging. A thing we could all do together that was making us healthier. We were only a few weeks away from completing it when my mother died. It was very sudden and, as you can imagine, threw our lives (inner and outer) into turmoil. With my routine broken I stopped working out, worse, I feel into a slump and gained back all the weight I'd lost.

So did my daughter.

Now I'm at it again. I started on the stationary bike, and buying a treadmill next month to start running again (I live in a winter city and I'm a wee bit paranoid about turning my ankle these days so I figure inside is probably a better place to build up my confidence).

I could really use a magic shirt to keep anything from happening that will force me to have to start all over again from scratch in 6 months or a year, or two years. I really, really want to be able to make some permanent change in my life. Not just for me (though that too) but also for my teenage daughter. I need to set a positive example for her to follow, and so far I feel like I haven't been very successful with that. I don't know if a magic shirt is what it will take to help that happen, but at this point I'm pretty desperate and I'll take all the help I can get.

And after twelve months have passed, I'd be sure and pass the shirt on to the next person who needs its magic, because you're right--that's how magic things work best.
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[User Picture]From: vicious_wench
2014-01-09 09:37 pm (UTC)
As someone with stupid ankles, I highly recommend doing some basic ankle stability exercises. Here's a link that describes some balance and theraband exercises (and some plyometric that I wouldn't recommend just yet): http://www.active.com/fitness/articles/12-ways-to-build-ankle-strength-for-top-performance
Yes, it'll add 5 minutes of exercise time to your day -- but you can do them in little increments...
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[User Picture]From: rhondaparrish
2014-01-12 09:34 am (UTC)
That is a great link, thank you :)
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From: antsswarm
2014-01-08 10:47 pm (UTC)
Wow! This magical Magnum PI t-shirt is EXACTLY what I need to succeed in the gym! I would like to enter to win your gross gym Tshirt, which will be freshly laundered.
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[User Picture]From: i_love_tazzus
2017-01-05 11:09 pm (UTC)
I remember reading this. I moved near LA for about a year shortly after this post dropped. Didn't work out for me over there, but I have a few pals from that area now. :)
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