Will the Year of Sweat perspire?
My New Year Resolution for 2013 was to embark on a Year of Sweat. Physical activity is a very big topic, so I decided on a gimmick to help navigate its vast terrain. I called them Sweat Cards – Clubs, Spades, Diamonds and Hearts. After the successes of the “Year Of” format in previous years, I was expecting similar this year.
Many things worked and many things did not. Finding a link between exercise and depression was a bonus, and finding an answer more so. But little has changed since the June review, except that Winter was a wasteland and Spring not much better.
The Sweat Card gimmick was useful, but the year was not an overwhelming success. Giving up on the “Year Of” format would be a short-sighted response to one not-so-good year. So, what are the options?
Options for successful resolutions
1. Overlay a seasonal matrix
As seasons were my biggest challenge, perhaps adjustments to the routine are needed prior to each season, in preparation. The adjustments would account for the particular difficulties each season brings – too cold, too hot, too much pollen. For example, I was told about a lady who hired a treadmill just for the winter months because she hated walking in the Canberra cold.
This option will work for many people but not for everyone. While some seasonal adjustment is necessary, I don’t think I can rely on just this strategy. I believe physical activity should be more than a walk in the park. It should be a way of life, an approach to living.
2. Set up a Perpetual Start Strategy
This one could be a blog post on its own, but I’ll summarise it here. It’s a strategy built on triggers and motivators that I use when life gets a bit bogged.
For example, if I haven’t watered the garden for a while, I pull up an image of my Mum standing with assorted shopping and sundries under one arm while dragging the watering hose around the front yard. This is the “There And Then Regardless” gambit for getting things done.
There is also the “Immediately Through The Door” manoeuvre. This one ensures the meat hits the frying pan straight from the shop, rather than languishing in the fridge until after the use by date.
The Perpetual Start Strategy has value if combined with something I saw in a newspaper recently:
3. Question everything
Anuj Krishna is a 16-year-old Melbourne High School student who scored very, very well in a set of exams usually undertaken by 18-year-olds. He got 99.95 out of 100. Anuj explains his approach this way:
“If you can find a way to question everything, then studying no longer becomes studying. Then you’re exploring, discovering new things because of your curiosity.”
Including more physical activity into my life started with exploring: what was available; how did it work; would it work for me; does it work for me; what had I enjoyed in the past but lost.
Unfortunately, when the activities became routine, movement lost its intrigue and I lost my curiosity. When that happened, no way was 2013 going to produce a 99.95 for me.
2014 will be the Year of Sweat Squared.
The Age, 2013, “The answer is to question” and “Quest to explore produces results”, published 17 December, pp. 1 and 4.