All-or-nothing resolutions

He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.

George Orwell

My free three-week pass at the mega studio elapsed on Monday. I took 25 classes in 20 days. A limited-time offer is a great motivator, isn’t it? Perhaps resolutions serve the same purpose. Here, the impetus is not a deadline but a vow, to oneself.

I rarely make resolutions. If I do, they’re vague (read more novels; don’t lose temper; organize computer files; practice balancing in handstand) and too numerous for effective full frontal attack.

Perhaps I’ll try a new tactic this year. Ever since I read Gretchen Rubin’s post “Quiz: Are You a Moderator or an Abstainer?” on her blog, The Happiness Project, I’ve been aware that I’m the latter. For me, it’s easier to make or break habits by all-or-nothing resolutions.

To me, “daily” or “never” is simpler than “occasionally.” If not daily, a set schedule (every Tuesday and Thursday, for example) also works. Bright-line rules simplify my life by omitting unnecessary decisions. (Snap decisions are not my forte.) Doing a home yoga practice daily makes sense to me. It’s like brushing my teeth. I just get up and do it.

I was reminded again of the moderation-versus-abstention distinction in Rubin’s December post on resisting holiday temptations. While I typically avoid sugary, store-bought sweets, I received some chocolate truffles and amaretto cookies, plus a box of Ferrero Rocher candies, from students in my new yoga class.

Being a freelancer sans office, I had nowhere to leave them for others’ taking, so they somehow got opened and eaten by my boyfriend and me. Now, they’re not poison and we’re both lean (he didn’t give it a second thought). But I wish I’d had an abstainer rule about involuntarily acquired sweets: then I’d immediately have found a way to re-gift or donate them.

That said, here are my all-or-nothing resolutions for 2010:

  • Vary my daily yoga practice: My daily practice is already a given, but I tend to repeat sequences and poses. Now I’ll create a series of practice themes (such revolved standing poses, deep backbending, or long Yin stretches) and cycle through them.
  • Go to bed by 11pm daily: This one will be a doozy. But I suspect that sleeping earlier could be my ticket to a happier life (I kid you not). I’m too-often emailing, working, and especially blogging close to midnight. Now I’ll wrap it up by 10:30pm. Let me repeat. Drop everything. At 10:30pm.
  • Call or email my parents daily: Have you ever stopped and counted the number of years your parents have left? And that’s if all goes well. I live 2,700 miles from my hometown and fly back only once a year. I skipped my 2009 trip and haven’t seen my folks since late 2008. Irregular calls (my current m.o.) tend to fall to the wayside. Perhaps I’m trying to learn from my kitty’s death last year. Jot a sentence; chat about home. Sure, I’m busy, but what’s five or ten minutes?
  • No high-sugar, high-fat, white-flour sweets: Nowadays there are healthy (healthier, anyway)  baked goods so why do I need actual junk food? Substitutes/exceptions: (1) extra-dark chocolate; (2) my own healthied-up baking; and (3) my mom’s care packages.



  1. i really got you on the early to bed thing. I *need* at least 8-9 hours of sleep. minimum. During grad and undergrad school, I could make it through classes being exhausted and I frequently stayed up late. Working, however, is a completely different ball-game, as my job requires being “on” (preschoolers…).

    So, in our home (apartment lol) we go to bed at 10pm. sometimes 9:30pm. every night. or I feel exhausted the next morning. even going to bed at 10pm, waking up at 6:30am (8 hrs), by Friday i am ZONKED. so the weekend serves as going to bed before 12 and getting up around 10am.

    i have no idea what i’m going to do when i have children….


  2. the sleep thing, it’s 11.24pm right now, ooohhh, I should have been in bed an hour ago.
    They say the hours you sleep before midnight count as 2, the hours after only 1. Yes, I need to sleep at 10.30 as well.
    I am day 7 off sugar and wheat, how are you feeling?
    Happy New Year.


  3. 25 yoga class in 20 days? Wow…and I thought the 25 in 31 days I did the first time I got a monthly pass was impressive…not that it’s a competition or anything.

    My every-morning meditation practice, which has been pretty steady since early last summer fell apart over the holidays, and then I got sick, and now…my excuses seem to have run out. Clearly I could use some of your self-discipline…


    1. The trick with resolutions (New Year’s or any time) is to pick a few that you know you can probably achieve. Ha! Believe me, I’m disciplined about some things, while I’ll need a lifetime of effort to improve on others.

      Regarding the mega-studio classes, I typically attended two in a row; all classes there are one hour and 15 minutes long, so that was doable. I also activated the pass during the holidays, when I had more time to gallivant around town, checking out their studios, classes, and teachers, enjoying my spy status. Stay tuned for a few more posts on the mega studio!


  4. I’m with you on a lot of this, particularly your more dark chocolate resolution. To make sure I don’t miss the boat on that one I melt a full dark chocolate bar in my mouth during the course of each day. Some of my favorites are Santander (single source Colombian), Lindor Truffles, Valrhona (Italian), Chocolove, and Endangered Species.

    I assume this was the main point of your blog, right?

    Bob Weisenberg


    1. Only the truly perceptive, like you, caught it.

      My favorite everyday chocolate bar is Green & Black’s organic 85%, which has a smooth mouthfeel and fresh taste. I also buy Endangered Species 88%, not organic but fair trade; it has a slight coconut-y taste, less tangy-fruity than G & B’s. I’m currently trying Valrhona’s 85% bar; the large pieces are conducive to eating just one or two (for those of us with smaller daily quotas that you!).


    1. We should all learn from your dad’s zest for life and from your relationship till the end. That is a priceless photo of the two of you in Warrior II.

      I’m sending the link to my parents and family. Thanks for sharing your story.


  5. lately, ive been thinking about family, living close to family, and what kind of priority that is for me. still working on that one.

    in the meantime, all that yoga is kind of addicting, isn’t it?

    kind of like addictions to chocolate?


  6. When you figure out how to go to bed by 11, please let me know. For some reason my writing mind decides that it would work best between 11pm and 3am. /Sigh.

    I hear you on the parents. Nowaday when they nag me about putting on another sweater, I just smile and say thank you, instead of letting my leftover teenage angst go nuts 🙂


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