New Year’s Changes: Gradual or Radical?

Well, just when you think the conventional wisdom might be right, here comes a credible authority to challenge it. Based on my own experience in gaining a modest level of fitness, and noting the fast burnouts of so many weekend warriors, I’ve generally agreed with the “baby steps” theory of New Year’s change. Start small and build up. Rome, day, etc.

But now come experts  here   to say you should shock the system by making quick, radical changes that will catapult you across the Border of Indecision and into the Land of Change. No more getting ready to get ready to go. Instead, as the old commercials say, Just Do It. Don’t study the Amtrak tables; throw yourself on the speeding train and go.

In other words, if you’re thinking about converting to Buddhism this year, don’t start by trekking to the library to check out a book by Alan Watts.  Shave that head, pick up some saffron robes asap, and start listening for the sound of one hand clapping.

I’d add this note: The Overnight Conversion obviously makes no sense if you’re a couch clinger whose goal is to run a marathon by the end of the year. A non-runner who tortures himself through even five miles is going to suffer much pain and perhaps even physical damage.  But  the Big Jump might make sense with things like cutting down drinking or making  dietary change. If you’ve gained 20 pounds this year and you know the culprit is Cherry Garcia Ice Cream, ditch the stuff now.

This may also tie into my unsuccessful attempt last year to stop eating parts of animals. I have managed to reach about a 2/3 veg diet, and dropped beef entirely six months ago, but maybe I didn’t do enough. Maybe I should have gone–pun alert–cold turkey. I’ve been pondering, as this year dawns, dropping at least one more animal from the dinner rotation–okay, this year, not one bite of musk ox–but, seriously, maybe I should vow at least one solid week or month without consuming any of my fellow creatures.


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