Early in 2013, I shared with you, beloved Globe readers, my New Year’s resolutions.
I went all in with it, too. Go big or go home, I figured, resolution-wise. I promised a whole “Nuevo Dave-o 2013” who would “eat less, drink less, weigh less, exercise more,” and “generally make hair-raising improvements to every facet of Old Dave’s character.” I also vowed to take a page out of my real estate agent’s book and be “incredibly friendly yet unbelievably persistent” in my business dealings.
In retrospect, I’m thinking it may have been a tad foolish, even a soupçon jejune, to proclaim my resolutions in a national newspaper. Because, of course, the year whizzes by, and suddenly the question becomes: “Well, Dave? How’d it go? Were you able to be as disciplined and full of self-denial as you claimed you would, or (smirk smirk, snicker snicker) did you lapse pathetically back into your old degenerate ways, as we secretly suspected you would all along?”
Well, I am pleased to report the news is not all bad. According to at least one study, less than 10 per cent of us keep our resolutions. It’s a process of attrition. Twenty-five per cent are out by the end of the first week, by the end of January almost half have dropped out, and by June for most it’s back to their old ways.
For me, it went the other way. After a rocky start, I gained momentum – on some fronts, at least. Take physical exercise (please). I was going to the gym across the street – yes, there is a gym across the street from my house, I really have no excuses – almost every day, but then it closed for repairs. Suddenly I did have an excuse, and, ladies and gentlemen, I lapsed.
But the story does not end there. After months of lassitude and atrophy, trying to joke my way around it (“Hey, people talk about being in shape: Well, a pear is a shape, too”), I decided, no, I’m not going out like some lump, and signed up for an online exercise program. And I actually stuck to it – in part, I think, because it’s dead simple: just four reps of four exercises (squats, rows, push-ups, curls) performed four times a week. You can do it almost anywhere.
Also, you get an exhortatory e-mail every day, and the supporting materials can be very encouraging or very harsh, like an intense personal trainer or drill sergeant. One instalment, for example, asks whether you want to grow old “narcotizing yourself with alcohol, cigarettes, American Idol and Doritos, so you don’t have to face your own grim existence as a slowly rotting Jabba the Hut” – or do you want to get in shape? Well, which is it, soldier?
Career-wise, I have managed to be “incredibly friendly yet unbelievably persistent” in the pursuit of my goals – with mixed success. Some have knuckled under from my pressure, said: “Uncle! Okay Dave, we’ll give you what you’ve been pestering us for.” Others, though, have proven tougher nuts to crack, and think by not getting back to me I will be deterred.
Wrong! What they don’t realize is, like an incredibly friendly version of the Terminator, I will keep coming at them until I’m little more than a human torso.
In some arenas, I’ve flat-out failed. I promised to be in better touch with far-flung siblings and that hasn’t happened. Bro, sis, I promise to call in 2014! Nor have I been a calmer, more centred, less anxious version of myself. I still toss and turn in the middle of the night worrying about everything and am not quite sure what to do about that, though the exercise has helped.
In 2014, I vow to continue to build upon whatever improvements I’ve managed to make. This year though, it’s going to be more spiritual than financio-physical. I am going to follow the example of my youngest son, Adam, who is very loving, always tries to make peace, and above all, when and if there is friction, is very quick to forgive. Basically, he believes in love above all. “Why fight with people you care about?” is his unspoken but unmistakeable mantra.
I want to be more like him this year. Please join me, dear readers. And this year, let’s vow to, as the support materials of my exercise program emphasize, “Be strong until the end” and “Go to failure.”
In other words, in 2014 let’s do the all the heavy lifting of living and loving we can, like a series of squats, until we just can’t do one more rep.
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