I never did. I figure that the dark and cold of winter when all I want is comfort is a lousy time to start a new habit, and up until recently, my January was full of conferences and budget concerns (at work) and nasty weather and other interruptions. Then, three Lents ago, instead of giving up chocolate or alcohol or meat on Fridays, I decided to try something different. I gave up worrying about things over which I had no control*.
And it worked.
It wasn't a permanent fix, unfortunately, but it was immensely freeing to be able to catch myself at the beginning of a fret and say, "Can I do anything about that right now? No? Well then, I'm not allowed to think about it for another three weeks. No, really, stop that right now. Is there anything I can do something about? Right, let's work on that for a while. And so it was that my Lenten season that year was far more serene and productive than usual.
Since that worked so nicely, I swore to myself to make a permanent change last New Year's, inspired by a really great pedicure that I got on a girls' afternoon out with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law at Christmas: I stopped biting my nails.
My fingernails are fragile and flimsy (an unfortunate legacy from my beloved paternal grandmother), and I've bitten them since I had teeth. I've tried to stop many times over the years, using various strengthening potions and nasty-tasting concoctions, but I always relapsed after a month or two. Last year, however, I finally broke the habit**, and I've been nibble-free for one year. A minor thing, perhaps, but something that's frustrated and defeated me for too long.
|This represents a major triumph, believe it or not.|
So this year, I'm upping the ante and going for something more important. This year will the be the year I get off of my tuckus and get in shape. We already eat fairly healthily, so this isn't about changing diets, it's completely about exercise. When I worked at Large State University, one of my colleagues in the Humanities Department taught a Pilates class three days a week, and I was really dedicated about going. But then I changed campuses and discovered that Pilates isn't quite as much fun on your own. In Boston, we lived right in the city, so there were tons of terrific places to walk, so in anything resembling decent weather, I was out wandering the streets of Cambridge for an least an hour every day. Here, on the other hand, we live in a very nice but extremely boring subdivision, so walking has lost much of its appeal, even while listening to my NPR podcasts. I need something else, something that I enjoy enough or that makes me feel good enough that it will pull me away from the computer or the TV and get me moving.
I'm tired of being tired. I'm tired of my clothing not fitting properly. I'm tired of not being able to sleep at night. Most of all, I'm tired of feeling lousy about myself. Also, I'm 40 years old (believe it or not), and if I don't get off of my duff and do something right NOW, I will start looking and feeling 40, which is something I would like to avoid as long as possible.
I still like Pilates enough to keep doing it, maybe as my rainy-day routine (and if I'm being honest with myself, I really do feel good afterwards), but I need something else. Jogging, maybe? I have several good friends, roughly my age and older, who recently started jogging and haven't hurt themselves yet. This lady, in particular, is both incredibly inspiring and incredibly guilt-inducing***.
I do not have an excuse.
So please help keep me honest here, people. If you know me or see me in person, ask me if I've been working out regularly, and holler at me if I haven't been. Tell me what works for you. Cheer me on if I've been good. This is going to be harder than stopping my nail-biting habit, and I'm going to need all the help I can get.
So, what's your New Year's Resolution? And how can I help you with it?****
* I am phenomenal worrier. Professional grade, even.
** By keeping them sort and bribing myself with fun nail polish colors. Don't bother with either biotin or gelatin. Totally ineffective.
*** And awesome. Let's not forget awesome. Faboo colleague, too.
**** I have nail polish you can borrow.
|Liquid incentive. Can't paint my nails blue if they're all chomped on, can I?|