|Go ahead and make a resolution - but make it one you can keep
||[Jan. 5th, 2014|12:38 pm]
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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