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Monday, June 17, 2024

Cheating on the New Year’s resolutions already?

By Ardain IsmaCSMS Magazine Staff WriterMy wife and I go to the gym six days a week. We are part of a small group of early birds and true believers who, no matter what the weather is—rain or shine, warm or cold—are there. I have to admit that it takes a lot of commitment to get out of that bed in the early hour in the morning. The sweet thing is, when I’m up, I AM UP; and when I get to the gym’s parking lot and watch with amazement the determination in the eyes of those who came in before us, laughing and chatting, I know then my choice to be with them every morning is a GOOD one.      Over the years, we have become an unspoken family. We rarely talk to each other, but we surely acknowledge each other’s presence; and when my wife or I miss a day, not only the people at the front desk notice it, but also the other members. “How come I did not see you at our official rendezvous yesterday?” a member would ask me with an awesome smile, as I wrestle between traffic to drop my son off to school on the way to work.      “I couldn’t get up,” I reply with a grin. It really warms my heart when I know what we have become—an unspoken support group.      Every January, especially after the New Year’s festivities, my wife and I watch with glee as the “family” members grow in size. They come in droves, swamping every section of the gym. We watch them jogging on the treadmill with their headphones solidly wrapped over their ears like the modern balladeers on the streets of Rio. We watch them grooving in the Step-aerobic classes, and even floating in the pool.     Naively, I always tell my wife that this year, they truly intend to stay. “You must be dreaming. These people are just like snowballs along the foothills of Appalachia. They will melt away before you even get the chance to shovel them away,” she would say with a feeling of suppressed excitement.      I never believe it until the first week of February, when they all vanish without a trace, and our little group once again remain to ride the rest of the year, alone. No wander we miss each other so much when one of us is not present.     This year, though, the surge only lasted one week. When I ask for an explanation from one of the trainers who have been tracking members’ attitude for years, he simply threw his head in disbelief. “Everything is strange this year. I guess the unusual, warm winter has simply pinned them down,” he said with dismay.     Why making resolutions that we can’t keep? This goes the same way for people who feel guilty about their eating habit, but resolute to change it by the first of the year, like my sister who just can’t seem to get way from her food. The chocolate candy bars, the cheesecakes, the fried pork shoulder cut into cubes (the delicious Haitian griyo), all filled her refrigerator last month. She called me up on New Year’s Day. “I quit eating junk food,” she said, laughing on the other end of the telephone.       “Time will tell,” I replied with skepticism.       Busy dietitians from health food stores would probably tell the same story—the story of people going on YO-YO diets. Slack-offish behavior is detrimental to anyone’s well being. Most of us, at least those of us who are educated, know that. Instead of making big promises that we won’t be able to keep, why not making the ones we think won’t entirely interfere with our daily routine? Instead of trying to maintain a seven-day schedule with the gym, why not going for a three-day one? Instead of embarking upon a radical diet change, why not going for a mild one with the idea of intensifying it as time progresses? Instead of taking twelve credits semester hour in college, why not going for six?       Starting big has all the potentials to go for an abrupt halt, and thereby prolong the procrastination. The ability to stay the course is the best test of conviction. Be yourself. Guilty feelings must be managed with care. Those who go slow and sturdy will certainly make it to the finish line. As for my sister? I spoke to her yesterday. She told me she is still on track.   NoteDr. Ardain Isma is the chief editor of CSMS Magazine. He is also a novelist and a Social Studies professor at Nova Southeastern University, near Fort Lauderdale, Florida.His latest novel A Mother Lost can be purchased any where. Also see Haiti plunges into chaosand Russia and China in a strategic alliance to counter NATO’s global ambitions

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