Ambushed By the New Year
When January 1st sneaks up on you.
By Travis Grubbs
January 2010 — The coming of this season caught me by surprise. I always dread Its arrival because It plagues me with guilt, regret, and reminders of previous failures. This year It jumped into my face the way a cat jumps in front of a car. It was the week of Thanksgiving. I was walking into the break room at work (city hall) when I saw the sign posted on the refrigerator door that announced Its arrival:
NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS THINNER FEELS
These words reached out and stung me to my core! I gasped and recoiled in horror. I had forgotten the chain of seasons, and this notice was out of sequence! First there's Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and then the season of dreaded New Years Resolutions!
Immediately my mind was filled with failed attempts to improve my wellbeing, not fulfilling promises sincerely made each January 1st. I had to escape this painful reminder, so I staggered from the break room into the Water Department. As I regained my composure I asked "M" about the sign on the refrigerator door. She cheerfully informed me that she, along with a couple of other employees, was already making her New Years Resolutions. Weight loss was at the top of their list. I felt too weak and overwhelmed to commend or condemn their attempt.
I excused myself and made my way to my office, where I shut the door. I sank into my chair and stared out my window. So, the dreaded season of New Years Resolutions was again making its way back for its cruel annual arrival. Part of my revulsion toward this season is due to my habit of getting sucked into its promise. It's a brand spanking New Year so this time I will definitely lose weight, save money, learn to play the guitar, exercise more, etc.!
Maybe they would have worked if I had pledged something like "I, Travis Grubbs, swear before God (or Buddha, or Elvis, or submit your favorite Deity here, but I am going with God) that on this very first day of the brand new year, I will …" If I had made my promises that way, then I may have had a chance. But, no instead I made weak and wimpy promises that usually fell flat with in the first few weeks...ahem...days.
As I sat in my office, common sense started seeping back into my brain. I started thinking about one of the greatest victories in my life: actually losing a large amount of weight (approx. 45 pounds). And I didn't do it with a New Years resolution. That is one of the good things about getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes on May 16th, instead of January 1st. My type 2 diagnosis scared me so bad that I immediately took steps to reduce the size of the big butt that contributed to the diagnosis in the first place. I learned that every day can be "January 1st" when you are determined (and in this case, really scared) to make a change.
What changes do you want to make in your life? Are you really going to rely on January 1st to help you achieve a personal goal? Are you really that gullible? Screw January 1st, hunker down, and git'er done! (my apologies to Larry the Cable Guy). Now is the time to lose weight (I'm still improving), save more money (I'm getting better), learn to play the guitar (I at least bought one), and exercise more (I also bought a bike), etc. Believe it or not, you can do it, even if it takes several attempts.
Oh yeah, and Happy New Year!
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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