By Kristen Buchler
A little over a month into the new year, many people have likely abandoned their New Year’s resolutions, if they made them at all.
You know the ones: eat healthier, go to the gym on a regular basis, waste less time scrolling through Facebook, and so on.
While the new year certainly presents an enticing start date for new goals and habits (“the first page in a 365-page book,” or whatever niceties you want to attribute to it), why let it dictatewhen you commit to being a better you?
This past summer, I resolved to be one of those people who goes to the gym. Not necessarily one of those people who goes to the gym, runs 50 miles and bench presses 300 pounds, but maybe one of those people who goes to the gym, runs/walks a mile, gets tired, bikes a little bit and goes home.
I didn’t care about dropping 50 pounds overnight. I just wanted to live a little healthier and maybe lessen my risk for heart disease in the meantime.
Over the course of the summer, I maintained my goals. I went to the gym a few days a week after I got off work, tracked my caloric burn, drank a lot of water, and generally felt better about myself.
There would be days that I didn’t feel like going or had plans to go to the bar with my coworkers or was out of town on vacation, but I didn’t beat myself up about my shortcomings and instead focused on continuing to make progress.
Things got a little complicated, however, with the start of the fall semester.
I knew that sustaining my fitness goals while in school was going to be a bit of a challenge. Most nights, I had to decide between hitting the gym for an hour or making progress on my thesis draft due the next day. Typically and, I think, rightfully, the thesis won out.
According to my fitness tracker, I fit in just two workouts in October and one in November.
Disappointed in myself, but satisfied with my academic achievements, I told myself I’d pick myself back up when the chaos died down. This was a setback, not a precursor of things to come.
Still, various commitments prolonged my setback even after the semester concluded (most of them Christmas-related), pushing my goals to the back of my mind.
Finally, I’d had enough. I spent Christmas Day with my family, enjoying their company and indulging in as many cookies as possible. However, I didn’t want to spend the rest of the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day perpetuating the very problems I’d been attempting to rectify some months before.
So, I dragged myself out of bed on December 26 and plopped myself down on the rowing machine at Planet Fitness. Some of my endurance had withered away in the weeks following my hiatus, but it felt gratifying just to begin again.
This is not to say that the “start now” mentality suits every situation, but if you have something you’ve been itching to accomplish (or even dreading!) getting started as soon as possible can only benefit you in the long run.
The main benefit of a New Year’s resolution is encouraging you to start something that you otherwise wouldn’t, a noble and commendable cause made all the more enticing by the beginning of a fresh calendar.
But, opportunities for self-betterment present themselves year-round.
What are you waiting for?