It’s starting to become evident that for some, only a fortnight in to the New Year, those resolutions are starting to lose their sheen. January, once seen as that golden opportunity for new beginnings, is fast fading into the dreary, long and disappointing month that we promised ourselves it wouldn’t be.
I’ve noticed a divergence in sporting communities lately – not just OCR, but a couple of others that shall remain nameless. There are the sects that are super encouraging of newcomers to their various clubs at this time of year, and there are those that get all eye-rolley at the mention of others hitting the gym for the first time in, well, probably about 12 months. And it’s to those people that I say: cut it out.
It’s difficult enough to stick to a schedule of self-amelioration in this dull, happiness graveyard masquerading as the month of new beginnings. So it really irritates me to see people actively disparaging the efforts of other people starting new fitness, sporting and healthy eating journeys.
Now don’t get me wrong. I understand that it might be galling to find that there are fewer parking spaces at the gym, or to find some newbie sitting on your favourite spinning bike, or to have to arrive at yoga ten minutes early to avoid having to pitch your mat next to the group’s notorious farter. But guess what? The new people packing out your favourite gym classes, or bulking the numbers at your local Parkrun have as much right to be there as you do, and it is very, very uncool to deride them simply because they signed up to this life on January 1st. Of course, the meaner and more snooty we are about these fit-life interlopers, the sooner they will relegate themselves back to the couches from whence they came, but wouldn’t it be so much kinder, much more sporting to be okay about more people being in ‘our’ spaces? Wouldn’t it be so much cooler to recognise that this is around the time where new habits start to wither, and to encourage new-starters to keep up some kind of momentum? I think so.
I can agree that some New Year’s resolutions are too ambitious, too complicated or too difficult to stick to. I’ve learned a lot about realistic goal setting in the past year, and it’s for this reason that I haven’t launched myself into a structured programme of self-improvement, preferring to set myself the very attainable goal of exercising just once a week. It may seem like nothing, but you’d be astonished at how difficult even that can be for some people. It’s made exponentially more difficult by others sneering about newcomers not knowing the particular etiquette of their club or class on the first lesson (something I’ve encountered in one of London’s trendier yoga spots). I still find it baffling as to how someone can practice arguably one of the world’s most peaceful, serene and meditative exercises whilst simultaneously being a smug, snarky little shrew, but some people are super talented that way, I guess. My point is, that when you’re putting yourself out there, you’re already being brave by just turning up, and little things like a regular being unfriendly or disparaging can prematurely dash your spirits and curtail your ambitions to do better. Don’t be that guy. Don’t be the shrew.
While on the subject of snark – this also extends to healthy eating. I’m getting tired of people fighting over food on Facebook. We all know that everybody with access to the internet is a budding nutritionist, just bursting to tell you that everything you’re eating is wrong, cruel, bad for you, bad for the environment, delete as appropriate, but unless someone’s new diet is a special blend of freshly murdered kittens, it’s probably best you just leave them to it. That means you - you little scamp, posting pictures of bacon sandwiches on a newly fledged vegan’s timeline. Just let people try to do what they feel is better for them. If people want to deplete the vegetable population and leave all the sausages for you, then there’s really no point in having a fight about it. They really aren’t hurting you unless you are literally a carrot.
Though many resolutions will, by this time, have sadly fallen by the wayside, let’s have one collective resolution continue throughout 2018 and beyond. If people want to be better, don’t be bitter - be kind. The success of the new girl at Zumba will not be your downfall.