Did you know that people are more likely to follow through with commitments they share with others? This so-called public commitment theory is used in programs like Weight Watchers–group shaming after an overindulgent week, anyone?–and Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s also the reason I share my self-improvement resolutions with you. If I blow it, I’m accountable not just to myself but to the world.
Of course, this theory presumes I care what others think of me, which I do. Anxious people care about all sorts of things that unanxious people don’t give a second thought to. (Yes, I realize “unanxious” isn’t a word, but it works, doesn’t it?)
And so I confess my relapse on the wine gum front yesterday. I resumed my filthy habit of grabbing a bag when I passed the bulk bins, choosing 6 wine gums, and adding them to my other groceries. (No, I didn’t write out the bin’s code because I’ve memorized it.) Yes, I bought and immediately consumed 33 grams of sin (after paying, of course, since anxious people never steal from the bulk bins). I feel such shame. But today is a new day. On a positive note, I did manage to pass by this bin on several previous occasions without indulging, and during my relapse, I took fewer candies than I had of late. But we all know one cigarette with friends over drinks quickly progresses to a pack-a-day habit.
In contrast, my home-based yoga program has been proceeding brilliantly thus far. I’ve used the extra mat time to focus on poses that are challenging for me, even throwing in a bit of Pilates for good measure. Some part of my body is stiff almost all the time, but it’s a good stiff. I’ve even made some progress on a few poses. Soon I will be flying like a crow without giving myself a concussion, I’m sure. That’s if Jelly stops trying to play Twister with me.
But there’s one resolution I neglected to share with the group for fear of failure. No wonder I’ve already blown it repeatedly; I did not allow for group censure. It’s time I come clean. Now that winter is truly here, I thought I might recommit to my outerwear. For years now, on the coldest of days, I’ve taken to carrying my mittens between the car and my destination rather than putting them on my hands. In no time, my fingers turn blue from the cold and take hours to warm back up. For those of you who don’t know, mittens lose their effectiveness if they are not worn on hands.
The other day, I reluctantly shared my dirty little secret resolution with J. The public shaming came fast and furious, especially when we headed outdoors shortly thereafter, my mittens grasped firmly in my hands. I realize I deserved the verbal spanking I received.
I feel like such a loser, but I’ll keep trying. You never know what might inspire me to change. Perhaps an unrelenting cold spell, or shovelling, or a little frostbite. If I can floss even on vacation, I can do anything. Come to think of it, wearing those mittens would lessen the pain of holding the wine gum bag when it’s -30° C. If that isn’t motivation, what is?