New Year’s Resolutions

This past weekend, a group of pole friends and I were sitting around after a delicious dinner and sipping wine while we chatted about our new year’s pole resolutions.

I think that setting goals is great, as long as you make sure that they are realistic, inspiring, and measurable. For instance, if this is your list of resolutions:

  1. Nail the twisted grip lift
  2. Get splits in all directions
  3. Get head to feet in backbend
But where you are right now is more like this:
  1. Can’t do a controlled invert
  2. Can’t touch your toes
  3. Can’t hold a bridge unaided

Then… well, you might need to take a step back and think critically about what you are able to achieve in this coming year with the time that you have. Maybe instead of aiming for specific goals, you resolve to dedicate certain amounts of time to work towards something. For instance– if you are addicted to the Real Housewives of NJ, NY, and Beverly Hills, and watch all three of them every week, well– what if you resolve to work on front splits for at least one episode a week, and work on center splits and backbending for at least one episode a week? Then you are combining fun with work, and you’re more likely to follow through since you’re piggybacking onto activities that are already part of your routine. By emphasizing the effort, rather than the results, you are less likely to get discouraged with what you do or do not accomplish. And by breaking down a lofty goal into weekly steps, you make it easier to actually get there.

I see people make resolutions like: “get more fluid” all the time. And that goal always sits lodged there in your brain like a piece of spinach between your teeth when you don’t have floss handy. You know it’s there, you know you want to address it, but how can you? Instead of setting a nebulous goal, think quantifiable: how about if you spend 10 minutes each week exploring transitions around the pole? Or one practice a month?

Another common problem is to use resolutions as a way of forcing yourself to address everything you don’t usually do– because you don’t like to. Don’t make yourself compete if your heart isn’t really in it, or you don’t really have any desire to get up in front of an audience, just because you think you should. Resolutions are for you to grow, achieve, and better yourself, but you have to think carefully about what kind of self you really want to be.

I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I want to achieve in the New Year. If I’m completely honest, there isn’t a specific goal that I have. In talking to my pole friends, I’ve realized that for me, growth and accomplishment on the pole is no longer tied at all to what I am able to do, or what tricks I have up my sleeve. I think that I’ve gotten to a point where the learning itself, and teaching, are really what fulfill me– not the doing. Earlier this year, one of my goals was to record and post more freestyles but I’ve realized: I have stopped needing validation on what my pole dance looks like. I might post, but I am not driven by the encouragement that I receive from viewers, or by having my videos reposted or shared. I am most fulfilled now by the messages that I receive from readers, who tell me that I’ve helped them to see their pole journey differently. Or that tell me that a post really hit home and made them feel better about themselves. Or that a Tuesday Tip made something click.

I’m hoping to continue to explore, push myself, and discover more about what pole dance is and can be. Thanks for taking this ride with me! And thank you to all who have been part of it: readers, teachers, friends, pole buddies, and everyone else I may have missed.

Tomorrow’s post: Thursday Tunes…