Every year, I spend approximately as much time considering my New Year’s Resolution as I spend committed to it after Jan. 1. This week in our home we discussed heavily what ought our resolutions be. Thus, we can estimate a month-long commitment to whatever life-altering change I fervently entertain come the new year.
I made the mistake of including my 8-year-old in the conversation, something I regretted the moment she suggested I give up swearing and Facebook. I could live without social media, but swearing?
As far as I can tell, the history of a New Year’s Resolution is based solely on the justification of gallons of eggnog and no fewer than 831 cookies consumed between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This would explain why the forests fill with bloated runners slogging out miles on the first of January with more of a grimace than a joyful smile.
I find myself on this run of shame nearly every year, my bits jostling and jiggling in all directions as a sloppy reminder that the first 800 cookies were probably enough.
This year, however, I have organized a preemptive strike on the gluttony, laziness, and fruit cakes that could define the month of December. I’ve decided to prime myself for my resolution by overcommitting to outdoor activities – instead of Christmas parties. It is quite possibly the best idea I have ever had.
I have declared December a month of foundational work to prepare myself for the actual resolution. It involves me racking up a credit card bill on new running and cycling gear, reflective things, shoe spikes, and training books.
Mostly, however, it involves me drinking all the alcohol in my cupboards (an eclectic selection of apple vodkas and vanilla schnapps that I typically collect for baking projects) so that when I actually go on the wagon, I am not tempted by a bottle of Orange Patron.
I know that stuff is far from palatable, but when you’re the single mother of a 4-foot-tall diva with more flare for drama than a drag queen with a broken nail, it’s a short hop to Betty Ford behaviors.
In the interest of maintaining my annual resolution to support mental, physical, and social development, this year I’ve decided to give up alcohol (until I get through the training season), run a 50K trail race, and contribute to a volunteer organization that supports outdoor activities.
Whatever your resolution might be, it is never too early to start. Maybe you’re giving up smoking – so start reducing now. Perhaps you want to get outside more – go buy a local trail guide and some boots. Maybe you want to eat healthier – start restocking your pantry.
Our propensity to binge on all things (stress, compulsive shopping, truffles) over the holidays is a strange phenomenon created by a belief that after the first of the year, all of the cookies in the world will forever be destroyed.
Just because there are cookies everywhere now and the weather is cold doesn’t mean we have to stay inside and eat them. We can put them in our coat pockets and eat while we hike.
Be kind to yourself through the holidays. Get fresh air. Prepare for some exciting resolution adventures. And trust me, there are still cookies in 2016.
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