2012 - Muscle fibres or Brain Cells?

It is this time of the year again, when we make our New Year resolutions. To help us along, the new fitness DVDs are being advertised. Jump to the right, jump to the left, swing the arms and you look 20 years younger. They do not seem to have changed much from the first aerobics VHS tapes of the 80s. The instructors might be motivated, but are you? Will it make any difference if the DVD were called aerobics, boot-camp or the complete belly dancer in 4 weeks?
            Gym memberships tend to be another good seller in January. New fitness plans are, for most, short-lived. The very sporty people that pound the treadmills next to us have been doing it and will keep on doing it, when we are long done with our motivation. Why buy a £300 pair of running shoes? They won’t increase your strength,…(Solitary Fitness, 2007). And quite right too.
            The real difference will be made by you and what you aim to achieve. So the question is – what do you really want to achieve?
  • If you are unfit, will you start and keep on running a mile a day?
  • If you want to write, can you keep up with 1,000 words a day?
  • If you want to lose weight, will you keep it off?
            The goals we set ourselves must be not only realistic, but also commensurate to our lifestyles and our deeper needs. Making ourselves better does not have to be a selfish act. It is not a solitary operation to conquer the highest ridges, but rather little positive actions taken confidently.
            In 2011 we saw how communities in London pulled together to make their lot a better one; against the evils of greed, boredom and unrest. Maybe we should take their example and make our goal a vision for an audience wider than just ourselves.
            So how about setting ourselves a different target this year?
Small steps might be more achievable and therefore more fulfilling. A fitness programme which helps you improve your health might be better than an all-out regime.
            Or maybe we could look at it from a totally different angle. Challenging our minds and thoughts instead of spending pointless hours in front of brain damaging TV. Human beings as we know them are a product of literacy, (A is for Ox, 1995). This year you could plan to read 2 quality books –  Plato, Dickens, Austen to name but a few. How about a new language for our holiday? Or you might want to consider a longer-term on-going resolution, such as study for a degree, learn how to drive, improve your work qualifications even create a happier home. The local library does not cost a penny and it is full of knowledge to be had.
            On the other hand you might learn a new skill or give up some hours to help others in need. A smile is free, and as we grow older we sometimes forget to share enough of them. There are many voluntary groups that can benefit from your input. Helping our fellow being is worth being high on our list of things to do in 2012. Challenging ourselves is not just about losing 10 lbs. every January, but about looking at what we have achieved so far and building upon it in a concrete and meaningful way.

Enjoy the journey.

Happy 2012.


Charles Bronson (2007) ‘Solitary Fitness’, with Stephen Richards, John Blake Publishing Ltd, p.1.

Barry Sanders, (1995), ‘A Is for Ox: The Collapse of Literacy and the Rise of Violence in an Electronic Age’ Vintage, p. xi. 

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