Resolutions and The Newness of the Year


If you stand silently in the corner of the gym and focus, you can almost hear the collective sound of the diehards rolling their eyes at the swarms of fresh faces heading eagerly towards the treadmills.

Then, seconds later, you can hear the melodic almost rhythmic pushing of buttons by the same swarms.

A broken symphony of neophytic proportions.

Why do we judge?

The very first time I stepped inside of a gym was just shortly after my younger brother Andrew passed away. I’ve spoken about him a few times in this blog, but for those of you who are new, or are joining us for the first time — Andrew died of a massive heart attack in his sleep at the age of 22. It was obviously a massive blow to each of us in the family, and we all reacted differently.

I chose to do what I had always done, and that was eat it away.

Shortly after his passing I went through a battery of testing to ensure that I was all tickety-boo. And luckily, I was.

Over the course of the next few months I began putting on weight. And by the following Christmas I knew something wasn’t right. I had gained a significant amount and knew that something had to be done.

So for Christmas that year I had asked my loved ones to get me a gift certificate to a local gym.

When I stepped inside said gym, for the first time, I was immediately struck with this crippling sense of anxiety. A feeling that I just did not belong.

It’s like when an unsuspecting family buys a house in some suburb, and they move everything in, and then one night they hear coming from the walls “you must leave, now!”

It was just like that.

Like a poltergeist lying in wait inside the kettlebell rack.

Point being, it took every ounce of courage I had just to sit through the assessment. And then touring the facility I caught the looks of people as they watched another fly by night 3-week warrior fumbling his way through the equipment.

And, ladies and gentleman, that right there is some bullshit.

And let me tell you why.

Cause it’s all fucking hard enough, man.

I’m sick and tired of hearing people shit on New Years resolutions like they’re meaningless.

They’re not.

Sure it’s awful how companies are using our own guilt against us to sell us things like gym memberships, sneakers, energy bars, and fucking spandex. But that right there is about media literacy and not the crux of what’s actually going on.

Once upon a time my life was all about patterns.

I would get scared. And eat.

I would get sad. And eat.

I would get happy. And eat.

I would get angry. And eat.

I would fill the void inside of me — quite literally — so that I didn’t have to feel anything. And nothing, and I mean nothing, could break that pattern. I had that shit locked down like the Mona Lisa. Behind the glass, armed guards, laser alarms — the whole nine.

We all have patterns — no matter what our respective vice is.

New years resolutions are a break in that pattern. It’s a cosmic shake up that rattles your sense of normality. It makes you vulnerable in a world where you would do anything to avoid that sensation.

And sure, for some of us it may only last a week, a month, a quarter — but you know what, it happened. It’s proof that it can happen. And if you start stringing those wins together, well lo and behold one day you might just find yourself with an entirely new pattern to draw from.

There’s power in a resolution.

So, the next time you’re at the gym and you see a crew of ne’re-do-wells fumbling their way towards the elliptical machines. Why not smile and nod as if to say, “I know”.

Because you do. And because you can.

And that’s one resolution that can go a hell of a long way.

Happy new year, everyone.



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