com mit ment

by Pam Godwin

“A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.” -Winnie-the-Pooh (and A.A. Milne)

I looked up the word commitment the other day. It is defined as the act of committing, the state of begin committed; a pledge or undertaking; applying or engaging oneself. There are many kinds of commitments – for work, family, relationships – endless commitments that all involve engaging in a promise.  But probably the most important and difficult one is the personal commitment – the promises we make to ourselves.  And sometimes what you think is going to be the right relationship for you, turns out to be the wrong one; or maybe you just naively think it’s going to be better than it turns out to be, like some of my weekly “dates” thus far for 52weeks.  So, as Karen was trying to get through a “break-up” last week (see her post), I was trying to “commit” to lead a more active lifestyle (once again) on a more regular basis.

Let me explain. As I’ve talked about in past posts, exercise and I have always had a complicated relationship.  I talk a good game and start out doing all the right things but just when it’s time for the “relationship” to move to the next level, I can’t commit. I am still not sure why. But what I am sure of is I am not ready to throw in the towel yet.  I am determined to find the right companion. It just may take a little time to find that right fit.

So for this week’s “52”, still looking for that “perfect partner” to commit to, I decided to try an exercise class that a friend suggested I take along with her.  It was a kick-ass workout called Body Ballet that was a combination of dance, ballet, Pilates, strength training, and probably some other things too…all I know is that it was tough!

So there I was–on my way there, running late as usual. I began to jog to be on time. I could barely make it the 10 blocks. I came in huffing and puffing and thought that if this was all the cardio I could handle, maybe I should reconsider and turn around.  The many buff bodies should have been a hint too.  I’m in trouble, I thought to myself. I felt done before I even started. But I joined in, made it through the class and (mostly) kept up with the uber-exercisers.

The next day, I woke up in lots of pain, feeling defeated and already wondering if I’d go back. Then Karen reminded me that this wasn’t a failure, but rather a success. So what if I didn’t want to go back so soon and make a regular commitment just yet? I went and tried it. She reminded me I was able to get through the class and keep up with the regulars (although I’m sure they weren’t popping Advil’s the way I was the next day). While I have not committed to one regime yet, the 52 weeks has gotten me to run, try tennis, rock climb; many things I probably would not have done just a few months ago. Once I can move again, I will go back and give it another try.  So this week’s “date” may not have worked out perfectly, but I am definitely one step closer to committing to a relationship and I know when I do it will still take hard work and determination to keep it going. Sometimes in relationships, you need to step away for a while and see what pulls you back.

This week’s “Getting Unstuck” Sticky Notes:

Support from friends really helps.  Going with a friend who suggested the class and who held me accountable really made a difference. Having someone alongside to root you on is a great motivator.

Plies are not for the faint of heart. Seriously—a plie may seem easy enough but do not attempt many repetitions if you haven’t done them since 2nd grade ballet class and you want to be able to get out of bed the next day.  Your thighs will never forgive you.

Keep trying lots of different things until you find the right fit. The first pair of jeans you try on isn’t always the one that fits. So why should exercise be any different? At least you are out there moving!  Sometimes you get it right the first time, other times it takes trying on many.

Sometimes seeing it from another’s point of view helps. Here’s an excerpt from an article written by a personal trainer offering some great tips about staying committed to exercise.

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