New Year, Same Cal
I lived with a guy once, and every year we had a new years eve party we called the Facebook event “New year, same Cal”. I loved it! The sentiment that is - the party was fine (except the one time we played hide and seek, that was amazing). The thing with Cal was, he was and still is incredibly honest especially when it comes to making any lifestyle changes.
He was pretty open every time new year came around, he wasn’t going to suddenly become an olympic athlete - well, maybe in speed walking (he did actually do speed walking as a child because the teachers thought he was too slow for the running races). Sure he does dry January or similar challenges, but doesn’t (to my knowledge) set himself the outlandish goals of completely becoming a new human.
Has his situation changed since I lived with him? Absolutely, he is smashing it! He has had numerous promotions at work, has bought a flat with his girlfriend and is more physically active on the whole. Much like his racing pace, Cal is in it for the long run. Consciously or not, he is embodying long term growth over short term quick fixes. Which leads on nicely to what I actually wanted to speak about.
Fuck New Year’s resolutions. If you have made one and it is working for you, fantastic. I am pleased for you. Honestly, I should be trying to capitalise on all the guys who said 2022 is the year they try yoga. If that is you… click here and I will help - promotion done. As someone who has failed multiple times, set unrealistic goals and not met them, I can assure you that it really isn’t that useful and it certainly doesn’t promote the yogic ethos of non-attachment.
The main issues I have with New Year's resolutions are as follows:
People set too high expectations of themselves and either find it difficult to keep to them, or end up quitting them. This doesn’t help build confidence or a new healthy habit. “Insert douchey quote about overestimating what you can do in a year and underestimating 10 years”.
People will sell you shit, and sell you shit hard. Sometimes parting with money for something is a good motivator to keep doing something. Equally, it can also be a really quick way of losing money on a sub-par service or thing you don’t want or need.
Falling off your resolution can be harder to jump back on, to start with see point 1 again. Also, if you are setting and reviewing goals annually, you have 11 months (assuming you make it to the end of January) before you start again.
Points 1 and 2 are true of goal setting in general, but point 3 is such a big one for me. I was chatting to a colleague in October about a habit they want to kick. “I think I will do that as my New Year’s resolution”. Why not just start now? If you want the positive outcome of the change, start now. Start small, just do something. Then review it regularly with compassion. If you set your goal and review it weekly, at worst you crack on day one and then have 6 days before you start again. If you start in January and fail in the second week you have 50 more weeks, 350 days.
Yes, the new year is a chance for a fresh start, lots of people are making positive changes and I really like that, but what should we take from this? Things are easier when everyone is collectively trying to make positive changes. Dry Jan is much easier than Dry March because most of your friends are back on the sauce by then. When we have a community supporting us towards our goals we are capable of so much more. We have a collective network of people cheering us on… Why do you think Crossfit is so popular? I will let you into a little secret, there are communities that are running all year round to support you to achieve your goals. I run the Brotherhood, there are local sports teams, local climbing centres, pub quiz teams. Whatever takes your fancy, people will support you, if you look for the community.
I wish you all the best for 2022 and may all your resolutions come true. Make sustainable choices, stay authentic and have a laugh. This is something I never thought I would be saying, but if you are setting New Year’s resolutions… be like Cal.