Photo: Tim Hamilton
So, it’s almost January 1… are you getting all psyched to change your entire life in a few days with a whole slew of earnest and optimistic New Year’s resolutions?
Or perhaps you regard the whole resolution routine as a futile and somewhat amusing cultural exercise in self-delusion? No worries! Either way, what with a fresh new year almost upon us, it does seem a handy time for a bit of reflection and self-assessment.
However, before we all start running around figuring out how we can be fit, slim, well-rested, courageous, non smoking debt-free vegan triathletes with clean closets and abs of steel, might it first make sense to do a little celebrating of all the things we DID manage to tackle and triumph over in 2011?
Wait, what do you mean there isn’t much to celebrate?
Of course there is!
Even if you’re one of MizFit’s Honest 82% who didn’t technically ‘succced” on last year’s resolutions, and may be recycling them again this year... I bet there are all kinds of awesome things you did this year that you deserve a pat on the back for.
So, wanna find out How to Find and Celebrate This Years Accomplishments, Cranky Fitness Style?
1. Make it easy: Celebrate the Obvious
Did you accomplish something big and meaningful this year? Or even last year, what the hell, we’re not too picky here. Did you graduate from something, give birth to someone, win an award, launch something new, break a personal record, lose a bunch of weight, celebrate a Big Anniversary, finish a novel, or otherwise Succeed in Doing Something Hard You Weren’t Sure You Could Manage? Well go ahead, revisit your triumph and celebrate all over again! The end of the year is a great tme to recall your ass-kicking triumph and bask in the warm glow of smug self-congratulation.
All too often, people who are conscientious and hard-working will finally achieve a long sought after goal… then immediately jump to the next thing on the list and start pressuring themselves without ever stopping to wallow sufficiently in their own awesomeness. Sure, if you do it frequently and out loud, others may think you’re an egotistical asshole. But there’s no law against jumping up and down in your own head and shouting “No wonder I won Widget Salesperson of the year, I did an incredible job selling the crap out of those stupid freakin’ Widgets!”
2. Aim Low: Celebrate the “trivial”
Here at Cranky Fitness, we’re big believers in Baby Steps. Did you dig out the exercise bike out from under the pile of crap in your garage and start pedaling 20 minutes a week? Hooray for you if that’s 20 minutes more than you were doing before! Did you lose a little weight, or discover a new vegetable you don’t hate this year? Did you compete in a race, start biking to work, finally repaint that ugly guest bedroom? Break out the champagne and noisemakers, no doubt you did some damn thing or another this year that you can feel proud of. Spend a few minutes recalling even the little triumphs, it's far healthier than ruminating over the Stuff that Sucked.
3. Make it subjective: Celebrate Effort, Courage and Endurance
As you may have already have discovered: Life is Not Fair. So there’s no use letting arbitrary, superficial external measures of success govern your own sense of accomplishment and self-worth. Did you do an amazing job starting a new exercise program and yet the scale didn’t move? Did you make a huge contribution to your workplace and still end up with a pink slip when budgets got cut?
If you worked hard this year, tried new things, endured scary or ugly or unfortunate situations with grace and good humor, and just generally made lemonade (or margaritas) when life handed you lemons… then give yourself huge amounts of credit.
External success will come later... when life is finally good and done f#@cking with you.
4. Ditch jealousy: Celebrate the Successes of Others
If an acquaintance, friend, coworker or family member achieved something impressive this year, we all know what we’re supposed to do: smile and cheer and hug them and wish them our sincerest congratulations. And yet… sometimes the success of others can trigger a subconscious feeling of jealousy or inadequacy. (Or heck, sometimes the feeling isn’t subtle and subconscious at all, sometimes it’s a big seething stinky pile of nastiness that’s hard to ignore, especially if the party is all gloaty and obnoxious and the “success” was via good luck rather than merit).
So, how to be sincere in your happiness for this other person and thus garner more happiness and celebration for yourself? Well, unless the person is truly an undeserving dickhead, the answer probably lies in decoupling your own sense of self-worth from comparsions to others and to superficial measures of success. There is actually enough joy and happiness to go around for everyone, and YOU are the one responsible for your own feelings of self-worth. If the triumphs of others are getting you down, spend extra time looking for your own strengths and achievements and congratulate yourself. And then take that little smidgen of unpleasant resentment and repurpose it as motivation to set some realistic achievable goals you’ll feel proud of yourself for completing this year.
5. Have fun! Celebrate Continued Existence
Made it to the end of 2011 alive? Hooray for you, celebrate just for the hell of it, and have an awesome New Year’s Eve Weekend!!
So, anyone have anything to celebrate in any of the above categories? Here are a few off my list:
1. The Obvious: Dusted off underutilized but perfectly serviceable psychotherapy experience, reactivated MFT license, and retrained as a Life & Wellness Coach. Started a practice, found awesome clients to work with, and semi-resurrected the formerly deceased Health and Fitness blog you are now reading.
2. The “Trivial”: Lost a bit of belly fat, and regained the ability to do unassisted pull ups and chin ups. (Am now up to 4 chinups, yay me!)
3. Effort and Experimentation: Recovered from a broken arm and a hysterectomy, which meant having to bust my ass in order to get back to where I left off before I got sidelined. I’ve been playing around with spinning class, bicycling, stair steppers, body weight exercises, tabita intervals and a bunch of other random (and quite possibly stupid and dangerous) cross training moves. Also, I revamped my eating plan to ditch a few more refined carbs and include way more weird, ugly, and extraordinarily healthy foods.
4. Other’s successes: I’ve genuinely enjoyed seeing fellow fitness bloggers and tweeters gain increased recognition with their inspiring books, panel presentations, magazine articles, awards, tv interviews etc. Charlotte, Carla, Joyce and the FBG's leap immediately to mind, but there are many more! And family and friends have given me lots to celebrate as well… marriages (especially the gay ones…and yeah so sue me, I’m a bit biased), births, new ventures, anniversaries, exciting relocations and happy travels... all good stuff and made me very happy and vicariously proud!
5. And Existence: Hey, I'm alive and not even incarcerated or anything! Hooray! I’ll drink to that!
How about you guys? Anything you’re celebrating this New Year’s, whether it’s a little thing or a huge amazing accomplishment?