I am not resolving…

I am not resolving to lose weight this year.  I’m not resolving to quit smoking, learn another language, reach out to old friends, or drive less antagonistically.  Among other reasons (for instance, I don’t smoke, so how could I quit?), I’m not resolving to do anything.

I have a project set up for this year.  A 365-day project that involves going to the gym one hour a day five days a week.  It involves a little black book and a pencil, the means by which I’ll track my progress.  At the end of the project (which won’t begin until mid-January), I expect to be several pounds lighter.  I expect to be able to do consecutive pull-ups.  Because I’ve got a goal that is not, ultimately, to lose weight, though it’s definitely a part of it.

No, I have a project.  Like 2010’s 365 Days of Color and 2009’s Self Portrait Challenge, it’s another full year commitment.  This time, though, it’s to the gym.  No, actually, it’s to me.

But it’s not a resolution.

With the New Year, many people resolve to do many varied things, and without doubt some will succeed.  Most, however, will give up inside two weeks.

I read somewhere that it takes 21 solid days to develop a habit.  That means, if you do set a resolution, in order to keep it you’ve got to focus on that thing every day for at least three weeks.  You’ve got to think about it, re-visit it, renew your commitment, daily for most of a month.  You can do it.  I know you can.  I also know you probably won’t.  I’m not here to judge.  I’m here to suggest that you can, and you should, but you have to pay attention to it.

By setting up this 365 day project, I’m building right into it the idea that I’ve got to think about it daily, that I’ve got to consider what I’m writing in that little book and why.  I’ve got to focus on the things I’m doing at the gym.  Yes, technically, I can go to the gym for an hour and spend the whole time sitting at the chest press machine and watching all the pretty people running through their work-outs.  My guidelines say I must go for an hour, not that I have to do anything while there.  But those same guidelines also say I have to write down what I do.  I’ve got to be accountable.

And that, I think, is the secret.  Accountability.  I’m not accountable to anyone but myself, but that should be plenty good enough.  It’s not like I’m going to welsh on my own deal.

It’s not a resolution.  It’s a project.  There’s a reasonable and reachable goal.  There are side effects (like the weight loss I expect to experience).  Daily consideration and accountability are built right into it.  And further, since I’m also doing a weekly self portrait photography project, you ought to be able to track my physical results with me.

Wish me luck on my project.  Whether you’ve got a project or a resolution, I wish you luck on yours.

Happy New Year!

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