People are pretty amazing
January 1, 2015 5:52 AM   Subscribe

What's the most inspiring New Year's Resolution/habit change/life change you've witness in friends and family or even yourself (it's OK to brag)? This year I want to push myself to try new things after stagnating a bit and I'm looking for inspiration!
posted by CMcG to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
I have a friend who came from a disfunctional home. Her mom instilled fear of just about everything into her. One fear was of water/swimming. She was determined to get over it and took lessons at the Y. She was so terrified she didn't want to get in the pool unless 2 of the lifeguards had those hook rescue things.
Within the year she was scuba certified and went on a trip and swam with sharks in the pacific.
posted by beccaj at 6:17 AM on January 1, 2015 [26 favorites]

I started running last year and decided to set myself a big goal so that I'd achieve something larger than if I just stuck with dreaming small. I'm entered in a marathon in February. This is one of those keystone habits that starts affecting other bits of your life once you get even a little bit serious about it. Even if you don't go for the full marathon as a goal, running is definitely a good hobby to start.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 6:25 AM on January 1, 2015 [10 favorites]

It's not a New Year's resolution, but a woman came to auditions for a new plays festival we just produced, saying she didn't know if she could act, but she wanted to be involved with the theater. I cast her in a new play, and she was so great that the playwright, when he came to see the show, asked her if he could send her a number of monologues he'd written so she could perform them in the coming year!
posted by xingcat at 6:35 AM on January 1, 2015 [14 favorites]

If you are looking for inspiration, try reading the Bible daily through this year. Here is a link online that lets you pick the version you want and it is in chronological order. I am starting today...
posted by just asking at 7:31 AM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

Ahahaha, I came in here to say I started running a couple years ago in January or February-ish. not entered in any marathons no way no how. I have no desire to run more than probably a half. But by god I used to be a cardio hater, shit at all sports, demoralized by gym classes, and am now a person who can and sometimes does run five miles, not very fast, and it is swell! Go team tortoise.

I'm still shit at swimming so I think this guy is the most amazing.
posted by clavicle at 8:27 AM on January 1, 2015 [14 favorites]

I was already in fairly good shape and ate well, but just over a month ago I decided to ramp it up. In the past I'd cook a lot of my meals totally from scratch but I'd also spend lots of time (and money) going out to eat and having beers with friends. I'd also stay fairly active and already considered myself very healthy.

But in November I decided to go on more of a clean / Paleo style of diet, go to the gym 4x per week, and ride my bike 40+ miles a week (on a route with pretty substantial hills).

For my diet, I have eliminated: dairy, grains, legumes, juices, sugar, oils, alcohol, and any processed food that contains strange ingredients like MSG, dyes, fillers, etc. This basically leaves me eating various meat and fish, vegetables, roots, nuts, and whole fruits. I cheat a little bit and use clarified butter when I'm sauteeing veggies, olive oil to make pesto, white rice after working out so I'm getting the carbs I need to replenish my glycogen, and a tsp of honey in my morning coffee because it's something I look forward to. I also allow myself one "cheat meal" per week, such as a burger and fries at a bar down the street. But now I'm on day 10 since my last cheat meal and I don't even want it. Things that I used to love to eat like cookies and ice cream no longer appeal to me, now that I'm seeing the results of cutting it out.

At the gym, I do the 4 basic exercises: shoulder press, squat, bench press, dead lift (plus two followup assistance exercises for each). It's a very simple routine that requires little equipment. I also add in some body weight exercises every few days like various styles of pushups, planks, and pull-ups. It takes 40-50 minutes per day, but it's only 4 days a week (the bike ride to and from the gym adds another 45 minutes total).

Holy crap has that made a difference. I'm starting Week 6 in a few days and I can already see the niggling bit of remaining belly fat vanishing (maybe another 6 weeks and it'll be gone?)... and I've had that belly fat for so long (15+ years) that I never thought it could go away. I feel a hell of a lot stronger already. I sleep better. I'm proud of myself to sticking with it.

I don't know how long it will take me to get where I really and truly want to be -- perhaps 6 more months of dedication -- but I'm okay with it, because I feel good, and I can already see the positive effects on my physical and mental health. I think in a couple months I'll go to the doctor to get a blood panel done just to make sure everything seems okay after cutting out so many food groups, but right now I can't argue with the results I'm getting.
posted by topsykretts at 8:38 AM on January 1, 2015 [11 favorites]

A friend resolved to "say yes more" last year and has been highly pleased with the outcome. He deliberately kept it vague, but he also took it seriously and seems to be enjoying life more.

Another friend once resolved to eat more fried food, with the reasoning that it would make him feel happier. He has also been pleased with the outcome.

I once gave up masturbation for a calendar year, largely as an exercise in control, and was quite impressed with myself for following through on it.
posted by orangejenny at 9:24 AM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Though he was never a heavy drinker by any means, my dad decided to try no alcohol for a month—just a month—for a New's Year's Resolution. He was surprised by how good he felt without it, so he decided to go for two months. Then three. Then six.

I've lost count now, but it's been at least ten years since he had a drink. He seems very happy with the decision.

(Also, setting aside health and social considerations, life is cheaper without alcohol.)
posted by The Girl Who Ate Boston at 9:34 AM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

One of my friends is 40, has never had a relationship, lives on her own, was a freelance writer so she worked by herself at home as well, decided a couple years ago to say yes to every social invitation. She's had an amazing couple of years since then, full of change and travel and parties. I'm so happy for her.
posted by stellathon at 4:06 PM on January 1, 2015 [5 favorites]

one of my tricks for remembering(!) and doing my new year's resolutions is to come up with a catch phrase - something that sounds fun and awesome, so that it makes me want to do my resolution.
For instance, this year me and my husband want to become more organized, keep our house clean and figure out our finances. boring, right? but we are calling it the Year of the Home Run which sounds awesome and exciting. Now, when we look at a pile of dishes, we say "home run!" and it feels more fun to do them.

My friend wants to become a more authentic version of himself - he says sometimes he's kind of fake. so he is calling his resolution "Juicy Realness" which sounds amazing.

I have done this for 5 years now and have had very awesome results with my self-created marketing campaign. if you're selling it, someone's buying it.
posted by andreapandrea at 10:07 AM on January 2, 2015 [7 favorites]

Some years ago I made a resolution to apply for anything that looks interesting even if it seems out of my league.

I had just started getting involved with burlesque and performance art (on a whim) and the local women's circus (which I had been taking some classes at) had a traineeship position open. I applied, and got in (to my surprise, since I wasn't that great with circus skills), and that opportunity led me to apply for Australian permanent residency so I could stay to do it.

Later that year that circus was taking in applications for performers for a big festival gig. Again I applied, telling them I had more ideas than experience, but with a clear sense of what I wanted to do. They accepted me, and I have a grand 6 weeks of creating a piece that was true to who I was while also being challenged so much that I kept thinking I was going to be fired every rehearsal (mostly because everyone else had been doing circus for years that I felt like a noob). That confidence and opportunity made me feel like I really earned the job title "performance artist" and led me to keep applying for things anywhere and everywhere.

About five years later, I am writing this in my apartment halfway across the world, with an MFA, citations in a couple of academic papers, a repetoire of performance pieces, a new stage name, and an international reputation.
posted by divabat at 5:27 PM on January 2, 2015 [5 favorites]

I think general resolutions to Try Things Out of the Box (similar to saying yes to anything or trying unusual things above) work well the older you get. I made that a very vague resolution a few years ago to continue to push myself out of my comfort zone. Mainly, I have started volunteering - I joined and volunteered for a political party, for the RSPCA, organised a Clean up Australia Day group and donated blood for the first time in my life.

I'm a teacher, and talk a lot about these with my students to inspire them to action (in fact, the last two were done with my senior students). I also have put my hand up for new jobs in my school that I never thought I'd do - and the last two years have been the best of my 14 year teaching career so far.

I've pushed myself out of an inactive lifestyle by joining and loving Crossfit. (Running? I wish that was a resolution that my body would be more amenable too, I am so envious of you running types!)
posted by chronic sublime at 12:28 AM on January 18, 2015

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