Friday evening of last week, I posted a question on my running group's Facebook page, asking if anyone was running in the morning. Our group leader, Karen, answered that a few people were meeting at the high school to run on the Olentangy Trail at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. I wrote, "I'll be there!"
Saturday morning the alarm rang at 6:15. Now here is something I know about me. If I'd said to myself, I am going to run at 7:30 around my neighborhood, the chances of me getting up that early are very small. However, I said something to someone else. I said, "I'll be there!"
That kind of intention setting is remarkably powerful. Author Wayne Dyer says, "Intention is not something you do, but rather a force that exists in the universe as an invisible field of energy-a power that can carry us."
I'm looking at my calendar from last week. I had a great week of workouts. What was the key? In every single workout, I had accountability. Tuesday and Friday, I signed up and paid for Body Pump class in advance, and told my friends I would be there. At the beginning of every week, I get an email from Kim that says, "What days would you like to run?" We coordinate two mornings and get them on the calendar. I also got two Highbanks walks in with friends, by messaging them and setting up a time to meet at the park. And I RSVP'd "yes" to Marie's core class on Sunday.
I feel really good today. I know this kind of workout week doesn't happen on my own. However, I don't see that as a problem. I think it is the way we're made.
Take the twelve step programs. At the heart of them we admit we are powerless over our addictions and compulsions, and we all need accountability. I need accountability.
A balanced exercise program includes two strength training sessions each week, plus 3-5 days of aerobic exercise (time in zone!). We all know this. Often, despite knowing what to do, we don't do it. Then we spend our time feeling defeated, as our belief in the fitness process fades away.
"See, this doesn't work for me. My genetics, my chronic condition, menopause, my metabolism, insert your lack of belief here: ________"
But this does work. Don't lose faith in fitness. Don't lose belief in your ability to feel good and live a healthy life with a healthy body image. It takes putting it all together: nutrition, strength training, aerobic exercise. Don't give up. Instead, press in.
But don't take it all on your own shoulders. That is too much weight for any one of us to carry. We are meant to share the journey. Find the accountability that you need and keep going. The reward is worth every battle you fight. The reward is feeling good about yourself, and perhaps being someone else's accountability on the long road we share.
"It's a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we're on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn't weigh me down at all
He ain't heavy, he's my brother"
- The Hollies
If you need help with accountability, here's a simple way to start. Download this form, fill out your plan each week, and write down when you have done what you asked yourself to do. Put a gold star or a smiley face by it! Then bring it to the studio, or email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to see what you've done and help you celebrate.