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Firm Resolutions

Dan Blaufuss | January 2009

    The tradition of making resolutions at the onset of each new year is clearly evident at any health club. During the month of January it is impossible to find unused machines and weights. However, by mid-February attendance will dip noticeably, and by the end of March the crowd is back down to December levels. Only the few individuals who were serious about their resolutions to get in shape will persevere, while most of the others will put off the next workout until tomorrow or next week.
    This is my story in recent years. Last January I was determined that 2008 would be the year I lost weight, and for about two weeks it was. Then I got lazy and quickly gained back all I had lost plus more.
    I suspect we quickly discard changes for the better because they usually involve hard work, but so too did learning to play an instrument well. Those of us who have be come proficient at an instrument are keenly aware that improvement only comes through consistent hard work over time. This is the concept that should carry over into other areas of life, including weight loss or whatever your resolutions may be.
    This year I have sworn off New Year’s resolutions and started to make firm commitments as they are needed. Successful musicians don’t avoid or put off music they can’t play; to do so would mean the loss of future gigs. Neither would a good teacher permit an ensemble to continue making the same mistake. The basic purpose of every rehearsal and practice session is to improve a section of music or some details, a technical skill, or even basic sightreading techniques.
    This is the attitude we should bring to any area of life that needs improvement. It does nothing to hope for improvements, only action will make these a reality. In October I signed up for 25 sessions with a trainer and have made substantial progress.
    My experience has taught me again what I have heard others say: if something needs doing, don’t wait to start, but do it now. A lifetime of good intentions adds up to nothing, but hard work and perseverance produce results. Happy New Year.