Charla Huber: New Year’s resolutions should be celebrated, not mocked

Last week was the first full week back to work for many of us, myself included. All year long, I look forward to the Christmas break because when I take time off work, the emails and phone calls crash to a halt.

It’s the only time of year when many people have the same one or two weeks off work, and allows people to spend time with friends and family, and to relax and reflect. Often during this reflecting is when New Year’s resolutions start brewing.

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I think New Year’s resolutions have a bad rap and come with a connotation that when someone shares a resolution they’ve made, people assume it won’t happen.

Every January we hear how gyms swell with eager people and then a month or so later, the numbers dwindle back to the regulars.

Before heading back to work this week, I read a post on social media by Adam Dahlquist, a local bodybuilder. His post was directed to the “gym regulars,” acknowledging gyms would be packed in January and they should be supportive of the new faces there instead of making jokes about it.

“Next time you wanna complain that your machine is taken, or poke fun at the person struggling in the corner who ‘won’t even be here next week so why bother,’ take the opportunity to welcome them, help them or make a friend. We’ve all been there and you never know, you might just be the reason someone has the best year of their life and sticks with it,” he wrote.

This really resonated with me. I think it takes a lot a courage to announce a goal, and for that, it should be supported.

Dahlquist said in his younger years he’d always dreamed of being “big,” and by big, he means muscles.

“When I first started out, I was 185 pounds and I’m 6’3”. I was just a skinny little dude,” he said. “There was nothing impressive about me at all.”

Dahlquist started lifting weights about 12 years ago and has spent the past six years following a bodybuilding regime.

When Dahlquist was starting out he was nervous and intimidated in a gym, and used his headphones to shield himself from other experienced folks in the gym.

“I kept to myself and told myself that it didn’t matter where I was at, because I knew I was going to get there one day,” Dahlquist explained.

It has been many years and countless hours, and today Dahlquist weights in at 267 pounds, a feat that comes from hard work and determination.

He’s in a place he dreamed of being in as a teen playing high school basketball looking up to his favourite idols: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme. In high school, he dreamed of building enough muscle to reach 200 pounds.

In Dahlquist’s case, he has been devoted to getting bigger, but there are some of us who prefer to move in the direction of getting smaller. Either way, all success comes from making a goal and working hard to reach it. If someone is brave enough to take that first step, whether it’s in January or any other month of the year, respect it.

It doesn’t matter if you set a New Year’s resolution this year or not. It’s a personal preference. What does matter is if someone you know shares their resolution with you, support them. It doesn’t matter if the goal is health, financial or hobby-related.

If you are at the gym and it’s extra full this month, take Dahlquist’s advice and be kind. If people are treated like no one expects them to be there the following week, it could play a factor if the person can reach their goal.

I think that change happens for many people at this time of year not only because of the milestone of starting a new year, but also from benefitting from time off from the hustle and bustle of daily life. If people are making life changes, it might not be because they were waiting for New Year’s to make a change, it could be that they had a couple of weeks to focus on themselves and they had the time to make a plan.

As Dahlquist explained, every successful person had to start somewhere. I know that each person is responsible for their own goals, but a little support from others never hurts.

Charla Huber is the director of communications and Indigenous relations for M’akola Housing Society.

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