I learned in church yesterday that my pastor will be talking about the kinds of New Years resolutions people make, and how to keep them. He's doing that IN FEBRUARY.
My first thought was that February is a perfect time to talk about resolutions...because by then, most people have already failed and derailed from what they solemnly promised themselves on January 1.
I used to work at the YMCA. I watched it every January - an influx of new members. A wave of return of old members. People signing up for classes with fresh determination. Class sizes swelled in January. The cardio room filled up - you might have to actually wait to get a turn on your favorite machine.
You didn't have to work there long to understand that it was all very temporary. A friend who is an all-the-time exerciser grew frustrated as she tried to run her laps on the indoor track, because the January people were walking side-by-side, clogging up the runway...and really...they weren't going to stay anyway! Couldn't they just move over and let the people who were here for real do their stuff?
Few things die faster than a New Year's resolution. They are fun and inspiring to make. Starting out on the big adventure of fulfilling them is exciting. But then...pretty soon...it's darn dreary work, keeping it up, day in and day out.
The busy schedule presses in and it seems unreasonably inconvenient, this new change. If you live in the midwest, you are contending with January weather, which greatly discourages stepping out the door, and pushes one's covers up hard under the chin in the early hours of the morning.
You know who really STAYED, at the Y? Who didn't just come for 4-6 weeks and then fade away again until the next round of resolutions? MORNING PEOPLE.
I am not naturally a morning person. It is so hard for me to wake up. You already know I can barely tolerate light or sound or interaction, first thing in the morning. Morning lasts LONG for me. No matter that I am up by 4:15, no matter that I have done all manner of productive things from waking until getting in my car to head to work...I show up there at 8 AM still very much in morning mode. Still reluctant about light and sound. Still struggling to think and process. Still wishing I were back in my bed.
But these morning people at the Y...they are a big part of why I do it the way I do it. I watched them. They didn't take snow days. They didn't take sick days. They didn't take holidays. When the Y opened, there they were, faithfully doing their thing.
And here's the other thing: these were the most positive people on earth. They smiled. They spoke. They cared, each about the details of the others' lives. When they found a mess, they didn't come to the desk to complain (truth: there was NO complaining at 5 AM...the complainers didn't roll in until after 8)...they came to get some paper towels or a key to the mop closet, so they could clean it up themselves - mind you, they FOUND, not MADE, the mess. When some newly resolved non-morning person showed up and took their space, they didn't mutter. They encouraged the newbie with real smiles, true interest. I've been in plenty of gyms with athletes who, I felt, clearly indicated that a fat girl like me didn't belong in the same room with them. THOSE WERE NEVER THE MORNING PEOPLE.
Why should it be, that the 5 AM folks would be head-and-shoulders just flat NICER PEOPLE than those who rolled in later in the day?
The nearest I can figure is it boils down again to that theme God had me on for all of 2012: willingness. Someone who manages to be dressed and across town by 5:15 AM to do their workout has been willing. Willing to get to bed at night at a reasonable hour. Willing to set an alarm and not sleep right on through it. Willing to face the chilly morning. Willing to give up their "right" to sleep later, be warmer, feel that special level of comfort the bed only offers in the wee hours of the morning.
Apparently willingness creates pleasant people.
More importantly for my purposes, apparently willingness to do the morning thing leads to a kind of consistency that doesn't appear to exist so much, elsewhere.
This is why I rise a little after 4 AM every weekday morning. Not because I want to. Today, like every Monday, my body was so thrown from the changed weekend schedule that waking up made me nauseous. I didn't get up and run because I FELT like bouncing out of bed. I sat up and did my little prayers from the Siddur (Jewish prayer book). I stepped into my running gear (feeling like I was going to throw up any second), stretched out, and got myself out there. Back home, after my shower, I came here to read my readings and write my grats. Because these are all essential, non-negotiables in my life...and they only got that way by doing them first thing, before the day could steal my willingness from me.
What willingness is the day stealing from YOU? Might doing it earlier rescue you from a dead resolution? Just asking...