It is funny how two words can look and sound so much the same, and yet they are worlds apart. A resolution (according to my trusty Oxford dictionary) is a firm decision. This is the kind of things we do to ourselves at the beginning of a new year.
“I am going to loose weight.”
“I am going to go to the gym again.”
“I am going run a marathon this year.”
“I am going to...” and so the list goes on. Unless you have already started training for that marathon, it is not going to happen. And you knew that already.
Even when we put action plans in place, and commit to holding ourselves accountable to a friend or on Facebook, we fail.
And we don't just fail, by day three the resolution is gone and we are back to our old tricks...we fail miserably.
So why do we fail at these firm decisions?
Because we don't understand what we really want to accomplish. We need more than a decision, we need a revolution of the mind.
My trusty Oxford defines revolution as a dramatic and far reaching change. In the opening of his book From Dawn to Decadence - 1500 to the Present: 500 Years of WesternCultural Life, Jacques Barzun states that “revolutions change more that personal habits or a widespread practice. They give culture a new face.”
You might rightly think about the Religious revolution instigated by Martin Luther, or the Industrial Revolution some time later, amongst others. While we think of modern day revolutions as a wartime activity involving violence and death, a revolution is much more than that: it is a change of thinking, giving human existence a new face, if you like.
So how do I apply that to myself? I am after all a single person, with only the intention of changing something for or by myself.
You start by nailing your list to the church door - figuratively speaking of course.
If you really think about it, you know what needs to be changed. Do you really need to loose weight, or do you need to change your lifestyle? Or deal with the emotional issues that caused the weight gain in the first place. Just going on a diet, has never solved anyones problems, and neither did it solve the problem of being overweight.
You need a new face; a new way of looking at yourself and the things that you want to change. Jumping in and snap, snap, snap, making changes may not be the best way to tackle the problem.
Neither is waiting until a new year rolls around.
I used the weight problem, since I also need to look at my weight. I am not so young anymore and losing weight becomes more difficult the older we get. While I know that going on a weight loss programme, of any kind, is not going to help me, I decided to change tactics. As a diabetic Type II I know that my diet is already adjusted, so I need to look at the other side of weight control, exercise.
To be honest, I hate going to the gym, so that will never work. Trust me, I have tried. I liked playing squash with a friend, but our schedules had changed to the extent, that it simply became impossible to continue our weekly games.
I also travel a lot for work, making it impossible to have a routine where someone else, or sport facilities need to be part of my exercise routine. While I admire the runners I see on the road every morning on my way to work, running is not for me.
Thinking out of the box? I decided to take up Tai Chi Quan. I can learn by myself, practice by myself and need only a little space and comfortable clothing. No gym, no running, no dedicated equipment needed. Just me, and a quiet place.
It was the beginning of my revolution. On 15 December 2014, I started my first lesson, and until today I have learned and practiced at least twice everyday.
A new year's resolution, perhaps, but a new me revolution, definitely! This new face of me will be more visible in future posts about the course I chose, and how I am getting on with my training and my experience of the lifestyle adjustment that is Tai Chi.
Let 2015 be a journey, not a quick fix plan doomed to failure before it even started. The start of a journey to the you you want to be!
Happy New Year everyone!