Ghosts of New Year's Past

Ghosts of New Year's Past

It’s a New Year filled with lots of possibilities and potential.  There are goals to be set and grand expectations to be met this year, but sometimes starting something new or setting new goals can be riddled with ghosts from New Years’s past!!  


Is this the year you will get in shape, lose that baby weight (that has been hanging on for 10 years), or set all kinds of new personal records??  After surgery, a divorce, crazy work schedule or a barren and prolonged loss of self-recognition, it can be overwhelming to think about starting over.  Even if you are currently in a fitness routine, sometimes things change - maybe your body is letting you down a bit (getting older stinks!) or you don’t recover as quickly as you used to and let’s not forget those darn responsibilities (i.e. children and jobs) that just make it so difficult to squeeze in a little “me” time to reach those lofty goals you set.      


So, here is a piece of critical advice as you forge head first into 2017 - Forget the past!!  Forget the person you were (or wanted to be) last year, five years ago, back in high school, etc.  Forget about it!  You owe nothing to a prior self, no debt to goals you once had or things you could once do.  Baby, you are born again! 


Celebrate this liberation, because now you are free!!  You are free to redefine yourself and lay your plans for your new self with reckless hope.  Leap the fence with imagination, and worry about the practicalities only after you have landed in a heap on the other side.   


The danger of starting over is that you probably know more about life and your body than is good for you. This is because our memory is both a treasure and a curse.  It won’t let you lie to yourself, because progress is measured in workouts completed, pounds shed and goals accomplished.  Your memory of past experiences prepares you in the most practical ways for what lies ahead, especially with the business of setting goals and organizing workouts that deliver results.  But the ghosts of past accomplishments, (smaller pants sizes, injury, big and small failures and just plain old life getting in the way) also linger in the brain, sucking the lifeblood from your new goals before you’ve even taken any action.  


Do you listen to or ignore all of this chatter?  You really have no choice, so there is no need to fight it, though finding ways to quiet it down does wonders.  Head games that try to deceive memory are a fool’s errand.  Better just to simply use what you can.  Starting over requires the courage of working with what you already know about yourself and choosing to act regardless of that knowledge.  


Muscles have memories of their own, and not just the kind that nag at you when you are walking up and down the stairs.  There’s even some science, however sketchy, that people who have been away from fitness for a long time return to peak fitness faster than beginners.  Perhaps this is because the memories in your muscles and those between your ears work together to propel you in the most efficient manner, to signal the onset of fatigue to remind you that however much you are hurting at the moment, there is still a little fuel in the tank.  


Never mind how all of this works.  Even if your last attempt at fitness went up in flames, memory is your uninvited ally in starting over.  Sure, it takes courage.  But there’s also the prospect that with new goals, you will scare away old ghosts.  Don’t delay, start today and become the best version of yourself that is possible right NOW!

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