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Reflecting on my New Year’s resolutions

I can’t believe it’s almost March. I feel like January and February have just flown by! Usually they feel like the longest months of the year, but not this time around. Since we’re almost two months into 2019, it seems like an appropriate time to check in with those New Years resolutions and see how we’re doing. My resolution for this year was to work out at least three times a week. I kept up with it pretty well in January, making time in my schedule to hit the gym or get to a workout class on campus. Overall, I’m proud of the fact that I’ve had the intentions to be healthier, but I’ll admit it—I’ve been really slacking. I haven’t worked out in almost two weeks, and have just been feeling super lethargic lately. Now, I know I shouldn’t blame my lack of diligence on external factors—but I’m going to for a second. The weather lately has been ridiculous—one day we’re frolicking around in the sunshine, and don’t even need a winter coat, and the next day it’s -40 and I can’t feel my face. I mean, who feels like slugging through puddles up to their knees or hurtling over unplowed sidewalks all to go to the gym? Walking in downtown Toronto during the winter is a workout in itself. Jokes aside, I find it really challenging to motivate myself when the weather is this bad, and consequently have been neglecting my healthy habits. The gloomy skies really affect my mood, and when I’m feeling blah and blue, it’s unlikely that I have the energy to tackle a workout. And I know I am not alone. This is usually around the time when resolutions start being cast aside, and our old habits take over again. In past years, I would give up at this point, and criticize myself for my lack of motivation and dedication. However, I don’t want to give up this year. Because my resolution is concrete and (finally!) attainable, I know I’m capable of maintaining it. This reading week has been the perfect time to reflect on the semester so far, and check in with myself. I like having a break in the semester, just to take a look at where I’m at, and see what I can do in the next half to be better for myself. Sure, I’m disappointed that I haven’t been as committed as I would have liked, but I’m also trying to be kinder to myself, and recognize that life happens. I’m not always going to follow through, and that’s okay. What is important is that I’ve set the intention, and am reminding myself why I made the resolution in the first place. Working out makes me feel better, especially when the weather is gloomy, and helps me to be more focused and alert. It can be all too easy to criticize ourselves, letting the negative self-talk cycle through on repeat. But I think it’s important that we interrupt that loop, and remind ourselves that slipping up and getting off track doesn’t make us failures, but makes us human. I think we ultimately make new year’s resolutions because at the end of the day, we want to better ourselves. Maybe it’s by flossing every night, or going to the gym, or reading just one more book. But self improvement is a lifelong process, and I think it’s important we recognize that—it takes the pressure off of the missed gym sessions and junk food binges. Sure, I haven’t gone to the gym in two weeks, but I’m going to wake up tomorrow and try again. Every day we wake up is another day to try again, to try to be just a little bit better. And that's a reasonable goal I think I can stick to.

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