And yes, I haven't forgotten: this is the post in which the Plus Sized Exercise DVD winners are announced! So please stay tuned; winners names below.
Also, for no reason in particular, this post is illustrated with random weird old album covers. If you are a fan of such things, this is perhaps another reason to suffer through the usual bloggity blah blah blah as I share the strange contents of my brain.
But, you may be wondering: given my reputation for whining, pessimism, and general cantankerousness, why on earth would I be filled with optimism and energy and annoying perkiness as we reach an arbitrary date on the calendar and a new year begins?
I have NO FREAKING clue why I'm in such a happy state of mind about everything!
Must be the Tunes!
But, nonetheless: totally psyched about this year. WTF?
I think it has something to do with the notion of Natural Cycles of Human Accomplishment and Lameness. Or possibly multiple cups of coffee. But let's go with the Natural Cycles thing.
So I'm increasingly coming to appreciate something wise Cranky Fitness commenters have sometimes pointed out (Leah and Mary Anne come to mind but I'm sure others have mentioned it as well):
Long-term, sustained effort and achievement on all fronts is not natural human behavior. Energy ebbs and flows; circumstances and attitudes change over time. For every thing (turn turn turn) there is a season. And sometimes, it just ain't the right season.
Jump suits, boyboobs, and shaggy locks... coming back any time soon?
Yet many of us cannot seem to accept that periods of stagnation or confusion or just plain obstinate avoidance are human nature. We hold ourselves to higher standards. We expect to be firing on all cylinders, all the time. We beat ourselves up over natural cycles, forgetting that they come and go. And that sometimes, times are tough and optimism is hard to come by.
Anyone Else Ready for a Change?
I think maybe I'm feeling all bouncy and enthusiastic about life because it feels like time to shift into a new cycle, with slightly different priorities that feel shiny and fresh.
Seasonal or cultural cues like New Years day, or "back to school" ads, or the first signs of spring can often trigger these shifts for me, helping provide motivation to shed some old habits and explore new ideas.
Reinvention is a good thing, right?
OK, so maybe not always.
And so what if some of these new priorities are actually old priorities I let slide before? They feel more intriguing again with some shifts in emphasis and attitude and approach. And I've got some new crazy ideas that may never come to fruition, but I'm enjoying the plotting and scheming and brainstorming parts of the process.
Of course there's a downside to approaching things in cycles: Unless you are superhuman, you cannot periodically take on new challenges without letting go of a few old obligations, many of which are not time-wasting or trivial.
Ouch, right? Having to make hard choices sucks.
Sink into Sloth, Start Over, or Change Things Up?
So I'm not saying that just because important priorities like healthy living, family obligations, work demands, creative projects or whatever might be stressing you out, that you can realistically just drop them outright.
Going through a predictable cycle of Hating Your Job?
Alas, stomping out of the office and telling your boss to go take a flying, um... leap might have unfortunate consequences.
But... there are varying levels of attention you can slather on life priorities, from bare minimal life-support, to full-on obsession. Given the number of things that need at least life-support, you simply can not give obsession-level attention to the very many interests and obligations in your life.
So sometimes the answer is to acknowledge burnout, and put nonessential projects on the shelf for a while and see if the energy around them changes.
Other times, the best approach may be to come back to a stubborn challenge with more commitment, more patience, and more enthusiasm until you blast past the frustration and stuckness and break new ground.
Most often though, I think the sweet spot is in between: to honor the priority in some way, but be mindful of how much energy it needs and deserves. And to approach it with new ideas, a new attitude, and a fresh perspective.
Starting Over Isn't About Failure
This time of year, many people are making resolutions to make changes... for the gazillionth time. And sometimes part of the failure to follow through each year has to do with an accompanying sense of doom and pessimism. If previous efforts have all eventually fizzled out, why should current efforts yield results? What's the point?
For me, I feel I'm learning a lot from my inept and frustrating attempts at meditation, which are very, very slowly getting some traction: Wandering away and losing focus and getting distracted are natural! The power to change body and mind and heart comes from returning, with a sense of forgiveness and equanimity, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.
Eventually, effort tends to pay off. And you build a better brain and body and soul by trying, again and again, to be your best self. Even though often it's tempting to say screw it, I'm outta here.
Want Some Help? An Important Message from our Sponsor ... Um, me!
Because it is a Season of New Beginnings, and my business marketing sucks, it might be a good time for a reminder: life and wellness coaching can be a very helpful resource to help explore exciting new possibilities! It's also pretty handy for keeping you on track and motivated as you tackle changes you've been wanting to make for years but keep losing steam on.
The cool thing about coaching? YOU get to decide what's important to you. And you get to approach your goals in whatever way that feels most natural, with no judgments or eye-rolling.
But coaching also provides structure, accountability, encouragement and support, whether you're starting something brand new or starting over, for the umpteenth time, on a stubbornly difficult but important goal.
There are lots of coaches out there, not just me! Google away! But if you want to give it a shot I'm doing a New Years special:
Sign up for coaching by January 15th and mention Cranky Fitness and you will get a 25% discount over usual life coaching rates. Current or former clients are eligible too on their next package. For more info about me, and about coaching generally, visit my life coaching site. Thanks!
OK, finally on to the DVD winners!
The winners of the physical, mailable dvds: Kimberly and MBBTP
The winners of the online downloadable version are: Morgaine, Cindy, and Jenny
Congrats! Please check back with your email address and if you got a physical copy, your mailing address. Email me at crabby mcslacker at gmail dot com.
Winners, if I don't hear from you within a week or so, I'll redetermine new winners based on totally arbitrary and possibly unfair criteria.
Thanks everyone, I wish you all could have won!
So are you guys ignoring arbitrary calendar dates and trucking along as usual? Or are you Changing Things Up Entirely or Tweaking a Little or Starting Over Again?