December 2, 2011

Hitting the 25 mile mark of the year

Yesterday, a friend sent me an article about New Year’s resolutions that I found rather odd. I know that it’s now December – though it’s hard to believe that 2011 has passed so quickly! Reaching the twelfth and final month of the year always seems to trigger various retrospectives and “best of the year” lists, which I see as a good thing. After all, how can you improve if you don’t periodically reflect on your progress and achievements? But this article wasn’t the usual reminder to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions; rather, it was the somewhat strange suggestion to “give your New Year’s Resolutions a 30 day trial run in December” before committing to them as your resolutions for the coming year.

As longtime readers know, I absolutely love New Year’s resolutions – and usually put together a whole list of them. (Update to come later in December for me, but I’ve actually done a pretty good job sticking to most of my list of nine!). However, I hate the idea that New Year’s Day is the only time you can vow to improve your life. Why not today? Why not tomorrow? Why do people insist on waiting for an arbitary date before making the changes they want to see in their life? And what happens if, let’s say, you get food poisoning on New Year’s Day, the day your diet and exercise plan is supposed to start? Do you wait a whole year to restart your goal?

I am nothing if not anal and Type A, so I understand the appeal of waiting for the beginning of a certain period. On Mondays, we try to make this the week we stick to our diet; at the beginning of the month, we try to make this the month we hit our running distance goals every week. But these periodic “starts,” to me, are reasonable – they are close enough together that you aren’t procrastinating your goals away just waiting for the right day to start them.

I have been reflecting on my New Year’s resolutions by keeping them in an electronic sticky note on my desktop – where they stare me in the face whenever I am on my computer. I know that I have really gone above and beyond for some of my New Year’s resolutions well (instead of visiting just four new countries this year, I visited five new countries and two new continents), while others took a backseat (I think my posture has actually gotten worse this year, and I don’t think I’ve taken a dance or yoga class every month). But just because the year is ending doesn’t mean that it’s time for me to let my old goals slide for a whole month until I make new ones.

Take a look back at your New Year’s resolution(s) from 2011. Is there anything you didn’t accomplish but still think is a good goal? Let’s spend December making every effort to call 2011 a success. Think of it as mile 25 of a marathon – it would be easy to conclude that whether you run your last mile in 8 minutes or 12 minutes is inconsequential at this point, since you’ve already logged 25 miles behind you and that four minutes is just a tiny percentage of your overall time. But if you’ve ever run a marathon, you know that logic doesn’t fly; when it comes to the last mile, that’s when we give it everything we’ve got and push right up to the finish line to do the best you can. I think it’s time we did the same thing with our resolutions.

While I have a few goals that I didn’t quite reach this year, I’m going to pick one as my focus for December: my posture. Lately I feel like I have been slouching more than ever – probably in part due to the fact that the offices where I’ve been working on my laptop don’t have great ergonomic setups (vs my old airline job where I had my own desk and desktop computer and could adjust the chair, keyboard, monitor height, etc). But since I can’t change my environment, I need to work on changing things I can control – like thinking about my posture more during the day and correcting it when I notice it’s off, taking dance/yoga classes to help me get into proper alignment, and incorporating some stretches and strength training moves that help me keep my shoulder pulled back.

To get me off to a jumpstart, one of my favorite blogs, Greatist, recently put out an ultimate guide to good posture. Since Greatist is totally awesome about creating cool infographics and encouraging you to share them on your blog, I’ll post it right here for you all to see:

I’ve already taken the test halfway down the infographic, and found out that my posture isn’t horrible… but isn’t stellar either. It’s time to work through the rest of the chart, as well as doing some of my own research into exercises to help get me aligned! Of course, any tips you can offer would be much appreciated as well.

So there’s my December goal – what’s yours? Let’s work together to end the year with a strong sprint to that finish line!


4 thoughts on “Hitting the 25 mile mark of the year”

  1. This is weird, I just took that posture test last night! I didn’t really understand it though. You’re supposed to measure the curve in the back of your neck?

  2. Lee – I think it just meant that you take stock of how much gap there is between the arch of your back and the wall and the arch of your spine and the wall. I certainly didn’t do anything fancy like measuring, but I could feel the difference between when I stood with perfect posture in that position vs my normal stance.

  3. I’ve never seen such a detailed guide about good posture, but it was definitely very helpful! I could use some good posture myself đŸ˜‰

    I think my goal for the month of December will be to not mindlessly snack before and after dinner… I’ve gotten into this bad habit and I don’t like it!!

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