“Happy New Year, now get out of my way.”
In a surprising and disappointing turn of events, the usual uplifting welcome to the new year has taken an ugly downward spiral. Rather than sharing positive efforts at change, more and more people are complaining about the “resolutionaries” in their way. All the treadmills at the gym are occupied, there were too many people on the trail, the grocery store has been sold out of baby spinach for a week (really, it has!). Folks who once made a change themselves are now irritated at others seeking self-improvement.
To the naysayers, I ask: When did you become an athlete? Were you always an expert chef? Have you ever had a lapse in your routine? Did you pick up sewing as a child or learn to knit as an adult? … When you started, or restarted, what kept you going?
Everyone needs a shot at making a change, learning a new skill, quitting a bad habit. It doesn’t matter what the start-date or motivating factors are. And everyone needs encouragement along the way. Not negative, behind-the-back criticism.
Next time you notice all the treadmills are taken, look at the guy struggling through his first mile and give him an encouraging nod, remembering a couple years back when you huffed and puffed around the block. He is starting, just like you did.
When the customer in front of you is asking too many question about which knitting needles to purchase, offer to show her what worked best for you when you first began.
If you, the novice runner, pass a svelte athlete on the trail, give her a thumbs up. She may be faster and more fit than you, but she needs encouragement to reach her goals, too.
Rather than complain about the newbies who are slower, clumsier, sweatier, and just plain in the way, let’s all reach out to encourage them. You never know what might happen. Perhaps you’ll end up with a new running buddy, a pretty scarf made by that talented seamstress, a delicious healthful meal when you’re down, or a friend who has similar interests. Or not. Whatever happens, do not get in the way of someone else’s dream.
Happy New Year to Everyone.