Writing Them Down: Cooking
Special Day Times Two

January People

"Motivation is what gets you started.  Habit is what keeps you going."       -- Jim Ryun

I have a lot of habits.  Some good; some not so good.  One of the best, though, is my fitness habit.  I was active as a kid -- swimming, dancing, gymnastics, skiing, pretty much any sport-without-a-ball -- and I remain active now, as a grown-up -- swimming, dancing, pilates, yoga. (Still avoiding sports-involving-a-ball, though).  I belong to a gym. . . a really nice gym, actually. . . and I use it nearly every day.

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But I hate January.

Right after the start of the new year, every year without fail, the January People arrive at the gym.  They are Motivated.  They are Ready.  They are Bursting with Resolve. 

And I want to support them.  I really do.  I love being fit -- and I want to share the Gospel of Fitness with everyone.  I know how hard it is to move from Motivation . . . to Habit . . . especially when it comes to fitness.  I want to be their cheerleader.  I want to be supportive, and smile, and say "you-can-do-it."  I do.  But.  Sometimes it's hard in January.

Because, suddenly the parking lot is overflowing.  And my "usual" February-through-December locker is being used.  And I can't find a spot for my yoga mat on the floor.  And the track looks like an obstacle course.  And all the cardio machines are full.

I try to keep a good attitude.  I try to be happy that so many January People are stepping out on their personal fitness journeys.  And, besides, I know it's temporary.  They're January People, after all.

But really, what I want to do is give advice.  I want to say. . . find the fitness activity that makes you happy; the thing that makes you want to come back and do it again.  I'd like to pull January People off to the side and tell them. . .

Maybe lap swimming isn't your thing --- since you obviously don't want to get your hair wet, and you can't swim half a length of the pool without grabbing the lane rope to "rest" awhile.  Maybe you would feel better trying the gentle water fitness class?

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Or. . .maybe you like to dance -- but the 60-minute high-impact aerobics class might not be the best place for you to start. . . especially since you haven't exercised in several years.  Sure, Kathe-the-Killer is a great teacher, and she can teach ANYone to dance, BUT the pace of this class is intense.  For 60 solid minutes.  And, frankly, I'm worried that you will be injured if you keep bending down to tie your shoes (again and again), or if you keep going left. . . when the rest of us are going right.  Maybe you wouldn't have to tie your shoes quite so often in the low impact cardio burst class?

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Or. . .maybe you've heard all about the calming, soothing benefits of yoga -- but, trust me, bursting out into fits of giggles whenever the instructor says "downward dog" is not relaxing for any of us.  In fact, when she suggests that you "sink into child's pose" whenever the practice becomes too challenging for you, she is, in fact, talking to you.  It's very distracting to the rest of us when your arms are windmilling about. . . and you're moaning "whoaaaaaaaaa" through all of the balance poses.  Maybe the gentle stretch class would help you get your bearings.

You see, I'm not really a Snarky Gym Person.  It actually warms my heart whenever one of the January People become one of the February-through-December People.  I just hate the filtering process.  It's painful for all of us. 

My real message here - for all January People - is to hang in there.  It's so easy to give up on fitness -- especially if you start off in the wrong place.  Find the class or piece of equipment or technique that works for you - preferably one you really enjoy - and start slowly.  If you have fun and feel good about your fitness activities, you're much more likely to turn that Motivation . . . into Habit.  There are programs for every level of fitness.  Start easy.  Work your way up.  Challenge yourself -- and succeed.

It's almost February. . .


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My husband bemoans January crowds and I usually do too, but I just started back to the gym and it feels so good. I think I'll be there come February. ;-D


You made me laugh.

Unfortunately, after years of being secretly (I hope) peeved at the January folks, I find myself being one. So far, I seem to be hitting the gym at off hours, so I hope I'm not adding to the irritation.

And spring is coming . . .


I applaud your activeness. I loved being outside as a kid but being raised in and still living in rural ND has kept me from being at a gym or a swimming pool. I dream of a plan that I can carry out but haven't figured out how to do it yet....maybe the TV and some DVDs....

Good luck with the January people. You did just give them some very sound advice!


If I'm a January - Mar.. February Person, can I still comment? Your blog was hilarious. I think I've been in classes with all of those people. I am coming back into exercise after falling off the wagon in October. The first couple weeks really are hard. Here's hoping I'm a February - December Habit person! :)


I'm thinking that if you go to the gym, then you can eat the amazing bread......

even if you snicker when they say Downward Dog.


That was beyond funny. I don't go to the gym, but I do my own thing faithfully. I could feel your pain though. Admit it, you ARE a snarky gym person! (laughing for a while over this one)


Good advice. I need to find the thing I like to do (besides knit and eat and sit in comfy chairs).

denise copeland

I followed the link to your gym. When I first saw pictures, the cleanliness of it reminded me of a gym we used to belong to that was associated with a hospital. They also had lots of different informative classes and events. (And everyone was really, really good about wiping down equipment with disinfectant after they used it.) When I read further, it looks like your gym is also associated with a hospital. Am I right? I think that kind of association turns a gym into something a little different, a life style. I also noticed that your gym will take kids when schools declare a snow day. What a great idea. When a snow day is declared here by the schools, parents often find that they don’t have a snow day. What a great idea!
I can see why you would actually want to go to the gym every day!


;-} This may be my motivation to get back to the gym...but I shudder at all the germs -- people at our gym DO NOT clean up after themselves.


OK--I got my gym clothes on!! Must run out the door before my sock knitting calls to me!! Visualizing... April/Florida/Bathing Suit!! Thanks for the motivation blog post!!


You are such a good nice person. I'd be telling folks off left, right and center. *L*


Love it! We call them the January People too! They're all over the place right now...including on our treadmills and weight equipment. But...like you I'd like them to stay for the rest of the year...just not all of them! Enjoy the weekend!

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