Before I became a full-time mom, I worked for many years in gyms, fitness centers and community recreation centers. Every January, without fail, we would see an incredible influx of attendees. People arrived in swarms, dressed in spanking new spandex, resolution-fever percolating in their blood and the latest energy drink in hand. People would have to wait in line for treadmills, there was a serious risk of getting kicked in the head in Step class and if one person fell over in Yoga, well, Namaste dominoes. As a staff we would sit back and smile knowingly. It wouldn't last long.
The thing about resolutions is, as you may know from experience (don't deny it), they are usually abandoned shortly after birth and never have a chance to stand on two feet and mature into permanent change. It is one of those societal trends we all laugh about. The most common January joke. We make promises we never truly intend to keep. Such is human nature. But sadly, when we abandon these chances for a positive life-change, we resolve only to stay in limbo and be stuck while never moving forward. In essence, we pull ourselves back into our familiar hole and say, "It doesn't matter. There is always next year." Another year of excuses and rationalizing and bad health.
Without fail, as soon as the first week of February rolled around, right around Groundhog Day, the weight room would fall eerily quiet and tumbleweeds would blow through group exercise classes. A yearly mass exodus of all those resolution-makers had occurred. As if, just like that groundhog, they poked their heads out for January, saw the landscape of commitment, witnessed the shadow of hard work and with a nonchalant shrug pulled back into the hole of out-of-shape and overweight. There's always next year, right?
So the challenge is this: don't be a fitness-groundhog. Persevere and keep yourself out of that mediocre hole. Yes, it takes hard work. Yes, it's not always fun and involves sweating. But it also involves self-satisfaction. Healthier habits. Possible weight loss. And most importantly, a better you. Fitness and health should not be something we try every January and give up on every February. It should be a lifestyle. Something that is as important as eating and sleeping. If you can feel yourself already turning and slipping back into that hole, shake it off. Turn your head to the sun, ignore the shadow. The spring of your life awaits.
Teri Harman is a writer, mom and fitness specialist. She has a bachelors in Exercise and Sport Science and ten years experience.