New resolutions: Cleaning up our act for 2012

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By Robyn Belt

Is a New Year’s resolution a promise to better oneself, or a blanket statement of what we hope to accomplish?

A year has passed. We have watched the curtain fall on 2011 and have seen the ball drop on 2012. How will your year shape up differently from the last? Are you in the same place, a better place, or have you regressed into old habits?

As you ask yourself these questions and hopefully find some answers, remember that a new year is a new opportunity. Though opportunities can sometimes be oversimplified, be wary, because they can also bear promise or hazard in our journey to self-improvement.

I am trying to improve for the year 2012. My journey began during the late afternoon of New Year’s Day. After a late start to my morning, likely due to some heavy celebrating the night before, I slipped on the sneakers and dusted off the cobwebs on my treadmill.

As I began my jog at moderate speed and incline, I experienced a strange sensation of déjà vu. Wasn’t it this time last year, under very similar circumstances, that I had done the exact same thing? In fact, exercising more and getting in shape had been on my mental checklist of “Things to do in the New Year” since 2008! Yet here I was, nearly four years later, making the same empty promise while breaking a sweat. What began as a resolution gave way to revelation. There was little personal growth in what I was trying to achieve, only the same goal soon to be broken by habits of laziness.

As opposed to limiting myself to a physical goal, I sought to achieve the metaphysical by transcending to the path of the enlightened. The inner yogi in me began to think of improving myself on a greater scale. As my workout reached the 10 minute mark, a question emerged in in my mind that seemed relevant to the theme of inner resolve. What can I do in the year 2012 that will make me proud on the eve of 2013?

I propose that we reflect on what our resolutions truly mean to us. My goal for better fitness has intrinsic value on the quality of my life. Similarly, a resolution to eat healthier or to procrastinate less cleans up the clutter in our lives that can take a toll over a year’s time.

Rather than set a resolution in concrete terms, such as weight or a grade in a course, strive to accomplish goals that will challenge your emotional status quo or leave you beaming in pride. After all, there is no greater reward than the reward you give yourself.

As opposed to telling myself to “exercise more,” a vague statement in and of itself, I reevaluated the underlying purpose of my initial goal to jive with my new mentality. So, my new resolution? To feel better in body and mind come the year 2013. “Better” as defined by me, and “mind” as in positive reassurance that we give ourselves.

I didn’t get off the treadmill. In fact, I extended my run by an extra 15 minutes with a sense of inner peace that I was doing myself proud. And afterwards? I fed my inner peace with a leftover slice of holiday cheesecake just because I deserved it.

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