Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Old Year's Resolutions

DECEMBER is always the best month to go to the GYM
December has always been one of my favorite months to go to the GYM. 

Why?

Because there aren't many people who go to the gym in December; and it's sooooo nice! Not only is it quieter and more peaceful in December, but the smaller crowds make waiting times a rarity. 

January, on the other hand, is a different story—and especially the first two or three weeks of a New Year. The reason, of course, is because everyone and their Aunt Suzie is there trying to make good on their New Year's Resolutions to lose weight and get in shape.

Fortunately—for me (and unfortunately for everyone and their Aunt Suzie)—things start quieting down again by late January. Things then ebb and flow (but overall ebb) gradually into an inevitable annual decrescendo into December, and so it goes year-in-and-year-out.  

The older I get, the more disenchanted I become with the idea of "New Year's Resolutions." The reason for my discontent is two-fold. 

First, New Year's Resolutions rarely last, even for extra-motivated SAL-guys like me. And second, January first may—or may not—be an ideal time to set a new goal for self-improvement in a given life arena, which is one of the reasons New Year's Resolutions rarely last.

At Freedom Focused, we believe GOALS should not be held hostage to a calendar. They should be spontaneously, flexibly, and consistently set based on your own unique circumstances, needs, and desires for improvement and growth.

In other words, it doesn't really make sense to arbitrarily set goals just because the calendar reads "January 1st," or to not set any goals because the calendar reads some other date. Doing that is kind of like being nice to people at Christmas time while being a Scrooge the rest of the year.

There is really only one viable assessment of that approach...

Bah... humbug!

To us at Freedom Focused, it makes a LOT MORE SENSE to strategically and flexibly set goals whenever and wherever we need to work on a given area in our lives.

The calendar should have nothing to do with it.  

For Example: About six weeks ago I recognized I needed to make a BIG change in my physical fitness. Earlier in the year, I had trained diligently for seven months in preparation for an Ironman 70.3 Triathlon scheduled for early August in Boulder, Colorado. Unfortunately, like so many other events during the COVID-19 Pandemic, my triathlon got cancelled. 

Then, in mid-August, I lost my two ace babysitters when their virtual schooling started back up again. With my big event passed and my babysitters gone, my training went downhill fast. As a result, I started to lose the fitness I had worked so hard to earn. I also began to gain unwanted weight. I'm not gonna lie; it was a pretty discouraging situation with limited options for resolution.

But then... out of the throes of frustration, I got an idea.

I could ask my wonderful wife if she would be so kind as to buy me a treadmill as an early Christmas gift. That way, I could make an "Old Year's Resolution" to begin the long, gradual process of getting back into top shape several weeks before the New Year dawned.    

OLD  YEAR'S  RESOLUTION  Defined: A "New Year's Resolution" set in November or December (or any other month besides January) of the previous year, instead of January of the New Year, thus enabling you to get a head start on your goal before the New Year even arrives.

By setting "Old Year's Resolutions" instead of New Year's Resolutions, you will have already made significant progress on your goal by the time the New Year rolls around. Then, instead of having to grit your teeth and painfully re-engage your willpower from ground zero in early January, you'll already have momentum going into the New Year. This approach makes it easier to continue pursuing your goals long after January is over. It also provides you with extra motivation to continue to persist until you have succeeded in achieving your goal.

Now I know what many of my readers are probably thinking right now...

"Well Jordan... that's great that your wife can afford to buy you a treadmill to help you get back in shape. But neither me nor my significant other can afford that kind of purchase. So what are we supposed to do?" 

GOOD QUESTION!

All I have to say is: welcome to the majority of my past life!

Indeed, for most of my life, my wife and I were relatively broke, middle class kids, teenagers, and then young adults. We have only more recently gotten to the point in our lives and careers where we can afford to make purchases like a quality commercial treadmill for home exercise. I have spent most of my life working out at/on public schools and gyms, city streets, country trails, high school or college tracks, and otherwise exercising "on the cheap." 

And that's okay!

In fact it was good for me as a younger self-action leader to be creative and proactive in finding affordable ways to work out. My past experiences also led me to value my new treadmill far more than I would if my wife and I had not "paid our dues" for many years before obtaining such a luxury.

You always appreciate something more if you have to work for it.  

If you are creative and proactive, there are always other options that can fit into any budget. Self-action leaders find a way to pursue and achieve the goals they are serious about regardless of the difficulties, limitations, and obstacles they face along the way.

I had to "pay my dues" by being creative and proactive for many years when my budget was leaner. And even though our budget is not as tight as it used to be, I still had to be creative enough to successfully frame my new exercise machine as my wife's kind-and-loving early Christmas Present! Fortunately, my wife—the CFO of our family—really is very kind and loving, and she willingly acquiesced to my healthy desire. Plus, it was a pretty easy sell since I know she'd also like to see me lose some of my recently gained weight!

My new treadmill in our garage on which I have already
logged 11 workouts since its arrival on December 1st.
A New Year will be here in a little over two weeks. That gives you a few more days to consider what Old Year Resolutions (GOALS) you could start NOW, instead of waiting til January first to half-heartedly drum-up some arbitrary aspirations that are likely to fizzle by the time Martin Luther King, Jr. Day passes. 

And in the meantime, you can be absolutely assured that I'll be running on my treadmill (or exercising outside) 5-6 days per week up through December 31st and well beyond. As a result, I will be well on my way to getting back into top shape by the New Year, rather than just starting from ground zero on January 1st. And it will give me something more to celebrate on New Year's Eve than the mere fact that the calendar has changed.

I am really looking forward to my Ironman 70.3 Triathlon in Boulder, Colorado on Saturday, August 7, 2021. I am going to be even more ready next year than I was this year when my event got cancelled. And I am going to wear my new treadmill out in the process!  

That's my fitness goal for 2021.

          What is yours?  

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Tune in NEXT Wednesday to learn one of my favorite Emily Dickinson poems, why I love it so much, and the wisdom it carries for all of us. 

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