Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • January 2014
Written by  Leah White

New year, new perspective

The new year is often viewed as a time of new beginnings. A chance to start fresh, get rid of unwanted habits and finally make time to improve yourself somehow. In a word: resolutions. Yes, that yearly tradition of making a commitment to better oneself. I have a secret to share, however: I’ve never made a New Year’s resolution. I think they’re kind of silly.

To make things clear, I am not exactly a life coach. I am more of a believer in the “to each their own” mantra; however, I’ve always had issues with the concept. For starters, a resolution is, by definition, a strong and unmoving choice or being in a state of firm determination. Unfortunately, it seems as though the average person’s New Year’s resolutions are ... a little more bendy than that. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeing a new year as an opportunity to start fresh, but setting difficult and life-changing goals based on a cultural habit may not make a rock-solid foundation for lasting change.

Secondly, eating junk food/smoking/not exercising are all just as bad for you in June. So why do we wait until the cold, dark month of January to start running and eating more vegetables (most of which are likely out of season, by the way)? I am not going to be successful if I try to start running in January. I can barely get out of bed in January. So perhaps this year, we should all focus on our perspectives and not what is wrong with us or what we should be changing. Remember, improving yourself is a daily, yearly, lifelong process, and your attitude toward the process is truly what matters most.

Improvement isn’t just about being thinner or more organized. It’s also about developing yourself in ways that you enjoy. Sharpening your skills, trying new things and making sure you set aside time to cultivate the activities that make you happy. Not all improvements have to be work and drudgery. Attending to the parts of life that give enrichment is crucial to us humans. And they are easy to push aside. When we feel balanced, we have more energy and stress resistance. Taking on those “big goals” that we tend to make will be more manageable if we don’t feel deprived of what gives us joy.

One of the joys in my life is pole fitness. I think everyone should try it (like when you saw your favorite movie for the first time and told everyone they should go see it). I never felt graceful before I did pole. I never knew I could dance before. I had never been told by others that I moved beautifully. Admittedly, they could be lying. But I feel it, so who cares? I’ll take the compliment.

Pole can be so satisfying, addictive, fulfilling, empowering and high-inducing. Until it isn’t. Oh, it can let you down hard! Just when you think you’ve got everything figured out, you come down to earth a little quicker than normal and find yourself looking up at the pole like it just punched you (which it may have, because you’ve probably earned some new bruises). This, my friends, is a time to keep things in perspective. Pole fitness, for all its charms, is not easy. It’s actually extremely challenging at times. But that’s often why we love many things isn’t it? Playing a cello is a difficult and time-consuming skill. Running marathons takes hours upon hours of training. Painting can take years of patience. Facing challenges is what sharpens us and, in the end, gives us joy. The more bitter the struggle, the sweeter the victory.

Instead of being hard on ourselves in times of defeat, we need to embrace just how far we’ve come; or frankly, that we have an awesome skill at all. Growth, development and skill are not only unique and inconsistent to each person, but also conceptual. Your take on them may be completely different than someone else’s and, odds are, you’re judging yourself much more harshly than they are. With time, practice and patience, all of us can achieve our goals. Just remember to keep doing what you love!

Leah White is an instructor at Aerial Dance Pole Exercise LLC and holds multiple fitness certifications. For more information or to contact Leah, call 920-750-1441, or to register for a pole class with her, go to

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