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Guest Column

If only we could exercise self-control

By LARRY CLIFTON
Published January 4, 2007


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I suppose you've rolled them out by now - or maybe not. Perhaps you grappled with them one year too many and simply gave up.

Oh, then there are the smug ones. Those who don't need to make New Year's resolutions because they kept the ones they made to start with.

If you're in the latter group, no one wants to hear from you because this isn't about you - so there!

Most of us are in the first group. We are the ones who save our resolutions to implement on the last day of the year or even after the new year has begun. Jan. 4 seems like as good a time as any.

Like cattle, we procrastinate in herds in which disappointment and shame of noncompliance quickly dissipate like trail dust behind our beefy hindquarters. Change contemplated on one day each year is enough. We talk about diet and exercise in the same way politicians speak of controlling spending and lowering taxes - without conviction.

We insist on convincing everyone that we are serious about changing our life, especially in the realm of physical fitness. Such jabberwocky sounds great and often gets us through another New Year's celebration, but it has little bearing on reality. Action is unconscionable - never intended.

Sometimes we do put up a temporary facade of compliance. Actually, the entire recreational sports equipment industry in the United States and possibly the world would collapse in one year without us.

My garage, for example, has enough weight training equipment to make Charles Atlas do pushups in his coffin. I bought it all with great resolution for changing my life.

Unfortunately, all that changed was my plan to apply a new coat of concrete sealer to the garage floor. It's too much work to lift all of that equipment out of the way, so now I'm two years delayed.

I do find that the ends of the bench press bar make great garage towel hangers. And I occasionally don my leather weight-lifting belt while carrying mulch from the car to the flower beds.

I also like to hang my arms from the pull-down bar while sitting on the cushioned seat of my combo plate-weight machine (near the fan) while taking a break from lawn work.

I suppose these idle exercise devices do serve some purpose after all, but you get the idea.

Nevertheless, there is an upside to just about everything in life. For example, I bought my leg-lift and assorted weight-training devices a couple of years ago. I'm not contributing to the bottom line of a retail gym facility this year.

Still, I risk pulling a leg muscle each time I step over my recumbent bike to retrieve a cold drink from the garage fridge.

Larry Clifton lives in Land O'Lakes.

[Last modified January 3, 2007, 20:24:06]


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