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Shannon Brady

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If only he’d begun again. Before the bacon and booze won.

I used to love January. Back in my corporate days, as membership director of a tony athletic club in downtown Seattle, January sales numbers were DOPE. New members. New resolutions. New vows – one new member told me – to swear off bacon and booze for good. Even if it meant cursing his new personal trainer. He swore he’d finally climb Mt. Rainier. GOALZZZ.

Then came February. Mountain climber dude cancelled his membership. Spin girl psyched to ride her first century called it quits too. In under 30 days, these well-intenders, and throngs more the world over, threw in the workout towel before their goals could take form. Not all, but enough to warrant a mass ‘where’dja go?’ promo mailing by spring.

I’ve managed to stay pretty fit throughout my life, but not without quitting. A LOT. Like, daily. In fact I quit this morning. Head full of snot post red-eye flight flu earlier in the week, I climbed on my home spin bike only to get off two minutes later. Fuck it. I don’t wanna…

But I got back on, and employed a tactic that works every time:

BEGIN AGAIN.

That’s it, actually. Simple. And of course, hard. Any time I simply begin again, I circumvent my own version of bacon and booze (copious quantities of animal cookies and cashews) and get back on the path of whatever it is I’m pursuing. Here’s how:

  1. I pick a mole hill instead of a mountain. Beginning again doesn’t need to look the same as it did with the first attempt. What started out as a 45-minute killer ride pedaling to a Peloton app instructor I like changed courses quickly. My wheezing lungs and heavy legs said no. But a 20-minute low intensity ride with several water breaks? Sure. I can do that. It works in life too. During a painful divorce a decade ago, my pop reminded me daily not to climb the entire staircase. Just get to the first landing darlin’, catch your breath, and stay put as long as you need to.
  2. I ditch the drama. Just as the first chapter of my “Why She Can’t Hack It” autobiography started to form, I got back on the bike and started pedaling to a gentler tune. I ditch the drama in my yoga practice too. Half Moon crash landings and teetering Trees frequently show up unannounced, and in the early days of my practice, I blanched. WTF?? my why-don’t-I-got-this mind screamed. I now know the wobbles and falls are fertile ground for discovery. For examining new routes to balance and control. Ditching the drama works off the mat too. I’ve closed the chapter titled “I’m An Outsider” I initially wrote with the several moves due to my husband’s job changes, and recognized I’m home wherever I land. Especially through the built in communities every yoga studio I’ve stepped into has provided.
  3. I erase the finish line. Exasperating for sure. But relieving too. Exasperating in times I’m so fixated on getting somewhere I forget where I am right now. Saying goodbye to an amazing teaching gig in Boston and clamoring to dive into a new studio 1100 miles away before the boxes were unpacked hurled me back to square one. For three months. But after shifting my mindset, and beginning the process again after a much needed break, doors are opening for me in the new year. Because I’m not fixated on getting anywhere, I’m enjoying where I’m going. With no end in sight.
  4. I add more ingredients. I haven’t been diagnosed as such, but given that I cannot read a news article to completion without simultaneously eating a bowl of oatmeal, petting a cat on my lap, scrolling through Instagram and thinking about my next yoga practice, I think it’s fair to say I have some degree of ADHD. So yeah, I gotta mix it up in the workout department. Boredom isn’t an option here. When I can’t look at the spin bike, I roll out my yoga mat. When a Downward Facing Dog won’t get me out of my head, a walk outside usually will. I recently dug out a jump rope. Tripped over the damn thing several times, but I did it. It was new. Different. Fun in a sick sort of way.

Whatever is getting in your way, don’t reach for the bacon and booze. Just Begin Again.

Happy New Year.

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