“No, thanks.” I said, avoiding eye contact.
“But, why not?” My sister asked incredulously. We were mat-leaving it together. Charlotte was around seven or eight months at the time and my new niece was a couple months younger. My sister had been following a new workout program and she was trying to convince me to join in.
I was quite monotonous and not feeling particularly myself at that point. My sister really had wholesome intentions. Basically, she was on a speedy train towards whipping herself back into shape and wanted a partner to hop on board.
“Because.” I replied curtly, hoping she’d drop it.
“Because, Carol (her name isn’t really Carol), all I care about right now is eating KFC crispy chicken skin, okay?!”
After Charlotte was born, I was obsessed with feeding my body whatever it wanted. I had a tough pregnancy and just wanted to give into my cravings and do little else (other than keep a baby alive). I also explained to my sister that I knew myself very well; if my mind, body, and soul are not in it, I’m never going to get it done. And at that time, my tired soul was dead-set on gnawing on some greasy poultry.
Also, the thing is I’m a fairly goal-oriented person but more than that, I’m someone who doesn’t like to start anything if I can’t finish it. Something in me just doesn’t compute not completing a task or goal. Therefore, if I know I won’t be able to finish something, I won’t even bother starting.
Why set yourself up to fail?
The trade-off is, in difficult situations where I have no option but to traipse along, I tend to block out noise, put my head down and just get shit done. But once I’m past those moments of struggle, I’ll take the time (once I’m at a reasonable distance from said experience to maintain even perspective) to reflect on its level of difficulty. Would I be able to do this again?
We often (I know I do this) associate large-scale accomplishments as the biggest wins. And, trust me, I know they are. But sometimes something as simple sounding as finishing that book you’ve been hoarding is a big win or finishing that organization project you had on your to-do list forever is a triumphant success. Or, in my case (five months after that exchange with my sister), finishing a 12-week workout program was my gold medal moment. Probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
Yes. A couple months after that conversation with Carol, I decided that I couldn’t continue living my life eating slick processed chicken. I was ready. I also needed something tangible to focus on. So, I dropped the ol’ bird in the bucket and hit the
pavement mat. Hard.
The program wasn’t challenging due to the type of workout; it was your typical HIIT and Tabata exercises with a mix of basic equipment. What was grueling about it was the commitment of five days per week, for 12 consecutive weeks. In the beginning, it sounded very tolerable. I was on month nine of my glorious 18-month maternity leave and Charlotte was still napping three times a day beautifully. I had energy again and all the time in the world, it felt like.
But five minutes into the first exercise for week one day one and I was worried. I wanted to call my sister, “Carol, I’m worried.” I knew I was out of shape. I also knew I couldn’t quit; I wasn’t willing to see what it looked like to quit. So, I told myself to just get through that day and try again the next day. Then day two turned into end of week one. And the end of week one turned into the end of the first quarter and so on.
I made a decision to stick with it and that’s exactly what I did. Sometimes I worked out at 10AM and other times it was 10PM. But every day, no matter how tired I was, how sore I was, how moody I was, I met that damn mat and I got through it- for 12 bloody (not literally), sweaty, heart-pounding weeks.
And once again, the hardest part about the workout was the consistency I had to maintain. Day after day, showing up to each of those 60 workouts is what propelled my momentum towards victory.
Could I do that again?
Right after I finished that program, upon reflection, it was a hard NO. The hardest no I’ve ever uttered.
Currently, it’s not a “never again,” but I’ll be honest, I don’t know when I’ll be willing to get back on that proverbial bike again. Crispy chicken skin sounds perfect right about now.
Do you have any new year’s resolutions or intentions? Do you make any?
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