January 01, 2015

New Year, New You? Let's Kick Ass in 2015!

photo upload via x-ray delta one
By Crabby McSlacker

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!
photo upload via x-ray delta one
I still face many obstacles, frustrations, doubts, and concerns about things I have limited control over. Crappy things have happened to people I care about, and I have plenty of personal challenges and inadequacies to deal with, and there are Big Questions for which I have no answers.

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?
photo upload via x-ray delta one

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.

photo upload via x-ray delta one

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.
photo upload via x-ray delta one

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?

photo upload via x-ray delta one

Alas, stomping out of the office and telling your boss to go take a flying, um... leap might have unfortunate consequences.

In fact, with certain life challenges it's all too easy to move from disappointment to frustration to avoidance, then to feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness, coupled with denial about consequences. The end result: resignation and abandonment of all effort, which is kinda sad. So don't do that with important stuff like your health, ok?

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.

photo upload via x-ray delta one

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.

photo upload via x-ray delta one

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?

42 comments:

  1. Good morning and Happy New Year! I am SO looking forward to a wonderful 2015. I have three goals, not resolutions, but goals for the new year. I managed to do the two I had set for last year, so the momentum is building! I am looking forward to the new crop of people in our weight loss support group for seniors. I always hope we will make a difference in their lives.
    Thanks for sticking with your blog Crabby. I know you've struggled, as have we all, but you keep coming back and we keep hanging with you. You're such a gem! hugs

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    1. Thank you so much Sherri and hugs backatcha! And you're 2 for 2 on last years goals? That TOTALLY rocks. Hope the momentum keeps building and that you have an awesome 2015.

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  2. Crabby, the very happiest of New Year's to you and the Lobster and all in your circle.
    Thanks for the mention.
    I love those old album covers.
    I shall be plugging along.

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    1. Happy new year to you too Leah!!!!

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  3. This reminds me of C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, where he talks about "The Law of Undulation." We go up and down in all areas. If we keep at it, even during the lows, we get better at things.

    Happy New Year!

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    1. I never read the Screwtape Letters but love the notion of a "Law of Undulation!" Thanks for that and HNY to you Messymimi!

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  4. I'm cracking up over those album covers.. some are even familiar. And I do remember Mrs. Miller!

    Fine post as always Crabby. Congrats to the winners and Happy New Year to you and the Lobster.

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    1. You've actually heard Mrs Miller Hilary? Damn, how did I miss that album? It sounds either horrible or hilarious or both. Have a wonderful 2015!

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  5. Thank you for this post. It has spoke to me on many levels. I am definitely going into 2015 with some items I can't quite knock off the list but either need to revisit my approach or remind myself that the struggle is part of the journey. Thank you thank you! Have a great day. Sam

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    1. Seems like you sure knocked off quite a few difficult challenges in 2014 Sam and accomplished a lot! So I'm hoping 2015 will be a great "payoff" year for a lot of hard work.

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  6. Love the album covers Crabby - but love you more! Your posts are awesome! I'm thankful I found you last year!!

    I'm with you - let's kick serious ass this year!!!

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    1. Aww, thanks Lucky Mama, I think YOU are awesome too. And I have no doubt you will indeed be kicking some ass in the coming year!

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  7. Happy New Year, Crabby and Everyone!
    Congrats to the winners, and may we all have fitness success this year!!

    Very, very good album covers! Even a perfect fitness one (Christy up top). My only question is how did you get photos of my record collection?

    I am maintaining my own positive attitude through the use of carefully-chosen pharmaceuticals. If anyone's interested, meet me out back. ;)

    All seriousness aside... Still working on keeping strong, but I'm on a big conditioning right kick now, which definitely needed shoring up. I'm doing Tabatas, so I get done really quick - fighting boredom and not taking up lots of time.

    All the best to you all,
    Tabby (Dave)

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    1. Tabby tabatas? What an awesome concept!

      I'm actually getting back to intervals myself-- which I loathe but they make me feel so badass. Have a great 2015, and, hmm, maybe I'll see ya out back for some of those pharmaceuticals!

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    2. :-) Adding more badass to your already considerable badassness... I like it! Yes, Tabby Tabatas with Farm-Raised Pharmaceuticals... my affliction is alliteration.

      Yes, intervals are crazy - I was doing zero-rest sets for awhile, but my volume got too low. I like how the scheme is easy to remember. To adjust intensity, I plug in different exercises. I'm doing 8 sets now, so I have loads of room for improvement to get to 32. I'm trying to decide whether to do 32 now with wimpier exercises and gradually ratchet them up, or keep with my nastier exercises and slowly climb the set "ladder". :)

      Tabata Tabby

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  8. Happy New Year Crabby and fellow followers!
    As always, a thoughtful post and for me, very timely. Working on some old goals and trying to figure out how to transition to some unfamiliar but necessary habits. Investing time in worthy blogs is part of the plan.
    Coaching with Crabby. Now THERE is an excellent idea!!!

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    1. Hope the new habits get some traction dlamb, and thanks so much for the plug! Always feel psyched to see you in the comments, and hope you have a wonderful year!

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  9. HAppy New Year Jan! A great message! Me, I am taking it a day at a time & as much as people like to say that is wrong, I am OK with it. Like you, too much crap has happened, I am losing another family member to cancer so I am just going to feel out life & see where it takes me - no huge expectations on myself... :)

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    1. Jody, I'm so sorry about the cancer hitting a loved one, it sounds like a horrible thing to deal with. And i have so much admiration for how you hang in there with the important stuff even when dealing with such tough challenges. But I know you are strong and resiliant and I think your one day at a time approach is a very wise one! Sending healing anti-cancer thoughts and hoping for a well-timed miracle or two.

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  10. Wheeeeeeee!!! I won! Thanks, Crabby!

    Let me see…I am glad to wave goodbye to 2014 and am looking forward to 2015. No resolutions, no big changes, nothing that requires a drum roll…changes need to be made, but I am doing a lot of sitting back and waiting to see how things unfold without my interference.

    I have been meditating again, so that is a start over.

    Love the album covers!

    All the best for 2015 and I look forward to more funtastic posts!

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    1. Yay on the meditation Kimberley!!! (And sorry I misspelled your name!)

      And I'll be curious what develops; sometimes waiting patiently and attentively to see what unfolds is far wiser than random flailing just for the sake of motion!

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  11. Am typing on Myphone on the way back from an awesome holiday trip, so may have to delay individual comment reply, but just want to say this: you guys are so funny, inspiring, encouraging, and all around kick-ass that I can't wait to hear what you all get up to in 2015! A heartfelt happy new year to you all.

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    1. Myphone, sheesh. Kinda like an iPhone only without autocorrect?

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  12. I always ignore arbitrary calendar dates. (Even, or perhaps especially, if they predict the end of the world.) Nevertheless, Happy New Year, Crabby (and Lobster) and fellow Cranketeers.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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    1. Wait, is the world ending soon again? If you hear any updates Mary Anne please let me know, I do NOT want a single piece of the xmas box of Sees candy I got to go unconsumed if the world is gonna end!

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  13. Happy New Year to you and yours--my usual toast to all: May it be a better year!

    LynM

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    1. Happy new year to you too Lyn, and may it be even better than better!

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  14. Happy NEW Year, Crabby! As for change, just do one thing, like stop eating fast food, or drink more water, etc and that single step will begin your journey!

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    1. Wise advice Dr. J and happy new year to you too!

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  15. Death Ride GrandmaJanuary 2, 2015 at 11:44 AM

    Happy 2015 to you, Crabby, to Lobster, and to everyone here! I guess one of my goals will be (sigh) to finish that darned Death Ride. I think giving the goal some perspective, as you suggest, is absolutely right, and we have decided to try the minimalist version of the training plan this year. Last year there were a few moments when I was not exactly in love with my bicycle. But no matter what, it is a beautiful ride & I plan to enjoy it. Those album covers are terrific. I do not remember Mrs. Miller - but when I looked, I thought for a moment I was seeing my geometry teacher. Then I remembered her name was just a bit different. Phew. Because I can hardly begin to articulate just how improbable it is that she would have/should have been singing in a public forum!

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    1. What a great way to tweak the Death Ride goal, DRG! Love the idea of going a little easier, but with more joy in the process and who knows what may happen?

      Too funny about your geometry teacher. But maybe she'd consider singing in a public forum if she had a few of those green brownies?

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  16. Hey awesome! Emailed you my details.

    Those album covers are epic.
    I am not sure what I am going to do - I know I got rid of a bunch of clutter in my life, including my very neglected blog, clothes that don't actually fit, and people who make me a crabby person. I am definitely going to be more compassionate towards others and myself. That is my biggest focus.

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    1. Congrats MBBTP and those sound like great goals! (And while you're getting rid of the crabby-making people, could you stop by and take my downstairs neighbor with you? She complains to our condo board every time we walk across the floor or flush a toilet.)

      Um, oh yeah, the compassion thing... perhaps I need a reminder on that myself!

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    2. Ugh, those people are the worst. I think you should go balls out and give her something to complain about, like your new found love of clogging or interpretive dance to dubstep remixes.

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  17. Happy Healthy New Year!

    This time of year I avoid media like the plague with all the resolution talk and the "You shoulds" and list of things I need to do written by some stranger. It just pushes my buttons!
    I cut out extra sugar about 4 weeks ago and I regained my sanity almost right away so I am continuing with that. I want to increase my walking but that is going to require some work as cold icy weather is a great deterrent.
    Hmm I do have to work up some magic fool proof plan that will get me blogging again.

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    1. Yay for the sugar thing Cindy, that's a tough one! And I totally hear you on the blogging/not blogging thing... obviously. Blogslacking is the new black I'm thinking, and there are a lot of us wearing it these days!



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  18. Had to pipe in here as this is one of my favorite quotes from one of my very favorite movies and it ties back to your "Big Questions" theme: "It's the question that drives us, Neo". Now, if that doesn't sum up life, I don't know what does. For me, knowing what drives me which is the infinite possibilities, the intrigue, the curiosity, search, discovery and exploration...all there is to know, and being okay with not ever finding or knowing "the answer". It's always about the questions....not the answers. That's the journey...and there are so many questions, so much to learn about and so many pieces of the puzzle. That makes me, and I hesitate to say this: happy
    Happy New Year!

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  19. Happy New Year, Crabby!! I hope that you and the Lobster started the year off on a super happy note!!!

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  20. Resolved for 2015: Actually post to your wonderful blog. Up till now I've been reading and then thinking of clever posts but never getting around to it. So here ya go. Not that I'm all that clever but I enjoy reading your blog so much that you deserve to have me at least make the effort.
    New life-tweaking includes no junk food on Mon, Wed and Fri (and no fair making up for it on the other days!). More strength training for January.

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  21. my RESOLVED is tiny. and huge. PUT ME FIRST FIRST FIRST over all other biped in the house.
    xo

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  22. I am planning on getting started on a new me on Monday. Tomorrow is my last day not watching what I eat. I guess it is a Resolve!! but really important to me. I'll be checking back Crabby to see what's new

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  23. I'm right there with you about the arbitrary posting for New Years, and I believe that changes should come about by more natural means year round rather than once a year when everyone else makes their empty promises to themselves. I think they're more likely to stick if they're made at a time that it's needed rather than the one day during the year that people use for reflection.

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