Monday Miyagi 010410

This week’s Monday Miyagi is c/o of Mark’s Daily Apple. Enjoy!

It’s a Journey, Not a Race. The scent of desperate, hopeful sweat is in the air, and everywhere you look, folks sporting brand spanking new exercise gear and a list full of resolutions lie to themselves. They keep up the charade for a couple weeks, perhaps even a month, after which point the gym crowds taper off, the farmers’ markets stop looking like a mosh pit set to NPR, and people begin thinking about next year’s changes. Yep – it’s the New Year, and this is the entirely-predictable-and-requisite post on New Year’s resolutions.

Did you make any? Jokes aside, not all resolutions are created equally – or with identical purpose of mind. Your average PBer, for example, actually intends to make good on his or her resolution. I dunno, but I just have a feeling that’s the case. You tend to get things done. I’ve seen the amount of progress you guys have made using nothing but your own impetus (and maybe a book or blog or two) (no holiday required), and it’s impressive. With a little motivation, though, MDA reader progress seemed to increase exponentially. Still, people are weird about New Year’s resolutions. Since the New Year is paradoxically famous for both motivating resolve and inspiring cynicism about the whole “making positive changes” thing, I figured a small post by yours truly to buttress your resolve and undercut the cynicism might help. I’m a big proponent of making positive changes in one’s life, and I can’t help but get misty-eyed when people decide to enrich their lives.

A big part of making positive changes, especially regarding health and fitness, is being realistic about your goals. I think unreasonable expectations actually explain why so many New Year’s resolutions crash and burn, and why the whole idea of a resolution has essentially become a joke. I’d say the vast majority of them expect too much in too little time – they want to go from belly fat to washboard abs in time for summer, or they pledge to lose a hundred pounds by year’s end. I mean, these are technically doable for a subset of the population, but for the vast majority of folks – especially the people who need to make these resolutions in the first place – such drastic results require slow, steady going. People don’t like that, though. They want instant results. More importantly, they seem to expect them, and unreasonable expectations almost unerringly result in disappointment.

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