The start of a new year, a time when we are encouraged to look both forward and back. To reflect on what was and to embrace what could be, to wipe the slate clean and start anew. Or, for those of us who find ourselves going to a gym occasionally, to wade through the herd of “resolutionites”. It is that timeless January story – the locker room overrun, the fitness classes packed, lines for the cardio machines, and the weight room echoing with the sound of crashing plates and stacks. Yep, it is a new year at the gym. As hectic and frenzied as it is now, by early March it will be back to normal.
Not to get all political, but it was impossible to escape the “Fiscal Cliff” news over the holidays. And with the start of the new year came the message that the crisis had been averted, an agreement reached, and action taken. Yet, less than a week later, we hear more chatter of how politicians “kicked the can down the road”, that while a crisis was averted, massive issues remain. As hectic and frenzied as things were, for all the drama and tension, we find ourselves right back where we were. Nothing has really changed.
What the resolutionites at the gym and our political “leaders” have done is remind us that nothing really changes unless fundamental, underlying, core issues are truly addressed. Going to a gym or working out are great behaviours, yet the real goal of fitness, weight loss or improved mental and physical health will not be achieved unless the underlying reasons behind an unhealthy lifestyle are addressed. Similarly, the underlying reasons for the “Fiscal Cliff” were not addressed. Some of the immediate symptoms were sort of addressed, but the reasons and behaviours that lead to this crisis remain. In the end, the majority of New Year’s Resolutions fail because they target behaviours, not causes.
Thanks to the drone of the news and the lines in the gym, we are reminded that lasting change only comes when foundational causes are addressed. It is true for the resolutionites in the gym, for political leaders, and for all of us. A new year is a convenient, but an entirely arbitrary moment in time, but it is as good a time as any to really make a change…if you really want to.