02 January 2016

Did You Make A New Year's Resolution?

You know all of the most common New Year's Resolutions:  go on a diet, drink less, stop smoking, learn a foreign language, get a better job (or start a new career or business), return to school, be nicer to people-- and never, ever make a New Year's Resolution ever again.  

You've probably made at least one of these at some point or another in your life--or when the clock struck midnight the other night.  ("I will stop drinking," she said while sipping champagne.)  And, if you're typical, it lasted about two weeks.

Somehow I think cycling-related resolutions last longer. Usually, they involve riding more or doing more challenging--or simply different kinds of--rides.  People who make such resolutions are, typically, already cycling (or are motivated to do so) and have riding partners or belong to cycling clubs.  Common sense and basic psychology (Believe it or not, they're not mutually exclusive!) tell us it's easier to stick with something you're already doing than to start it, than it is to start something and keep moving ahead with it when we encounter the first "bump in the road".

From The Bike Cafe

Another reason, I think, cycling-related resolutions made by cyclists are more likely to be kept is that tend to be more specific than something like, "I will be a kinder person".  That doesn't surprise me:  Over the years, I've noticed that students who have a specific or particular goal, whether it's becoming an accountant, auteur or anaesthesiologist, are more likely to stay in school and complete their degrees than those who have some vague sense that they need a degree to get a job that pays well (an increasingly dubious proposition these days) or because their parents, friends or communities want them to become an "educated" person.

Now I'll confess that I didn't make any resolution, cycling- related or otherwise.  In fact, I haven't made one in a long time.  If I recall correctly, I made my last resolution before I discovered this poem:

      For The Coming Year
         --by Peter Everwine

      With the stars
      rising again in my han

      Let my left arm be a rooster
      it will keep the watches of the night

      And let my right arm be an axe
      it will be sleepless in the gate of morning

      When I fold them to me
      they will take things into their circle

      They will sing softly to each other