keep going

2022 is a new year full of hope and promise. Like many traditionally do, I have set goals for the new year signifying a blank slate and an opportunity to restart, and recalibrate my compass.

Every year, our goals are created after some sort of assessment of the current situation. If we find ourselves with a few extra pounds, we assess what needs to change and then we decide to head in that direction. We consult with ourselves to decide what issues or problems need addressing, and then we decide upon a few things, or many, that may help us resolve these problems. Resolutions. Diagnosis leads to resolutions.

What follows is action. After we resolve to lose some weight, or cut some sugar, we must act in accordance with the behaviors and rules that will allow us to remain faithful to our intentions. That may mean lacing up the sneakers to go for a run, or emptying the pantry, removing all sweets, and starting fresh with wholesome vegetables and meal options. Action is where the magic happens.

Last month, I participated in a challenge to burn the most calories on a Concept 2 machine for the month of December. For this challenge, I chose to row exclusively and I started by going at my own pace. When other people began joining in the challenge, things got more interesting. Not only did I have to burn the most calories I could manage, but I had to ensure this was more than someone else’s most. So I zoned in. I made efforts to show up to the gym, strap onto the rowing machine, even when I was tired. When I began to row, I made commitments to stay there as long as I needed. But eventually, I would tire.

The tightness in my hip flexors and hamstrings caused an awful back bend during my rowing. Since I rowed long, and most sessions were brutal, the repeated motion only served to worsen my back pain. I discovered how tight my hamstrings are, how tight my quadriceps are, my chest, my back. I’ve become robotic – sacrificing mobility for strength. At what cost?

Despite the pain, I managed to push through. I discovered that sometimes when you’re doing something as repetitive as rowing, you need a mantra. Or you’ll create one. During one of my longer sessions, I kept repeating to myself, “show me you’re not a quitter, and I may free you.” I don’t know why, perhaps I feel trapped by the mindset that quitting is a sign of weakness, and I have ended things early in the past. The words perplexed me at first, but soon they brought comfort as I adjusted to the strains of rowing long distances.

Quitting would have meant leaving and not coming back. But that’s not what happened. Sure, I got off of the rowing machine, but I stretched, relaxed my muscles, recomposed myself, and then I hopped back on. That’s when I realized. Stopping is not a problem. Rarely do we make a trip anywhere that doesn’t include stopping, whether its at a traffic light, for gas, or for coffee. But we don’t just quit the trip and head back home because we stop. We rest, we take a breath, and then we get back in the car for more milage.

Being a quitter, who knows what that actually means. But being a stopper, a pauser, well what is with this? It’s actually ok to stop, to pause, and reconfigure yourself so that you’re stronger, more alert, and more ready to take on the day’s challenges. In any case, when faced with a challenge, stop if you need to. But once you’re ready, go in with full force.

In 2022, I will learn to trust myselfmore!

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