Project Louise: The One Thing That Will Actually Make Me Exercise

Who could look into a child's eyes and break a promise? (Joe Lencioni/shiftingpixel.com via Flickr)

Who could look into a child’s eyes and break a promise? (Joe Lencioni/shiftingpixel.com via Flickr)

By Louise Kennedy
Guest contributor

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been doing Project Louise for three months – one-quarter of this yearlong effort. In some ways it already feels like a year since I vowed to change my eating and exercise habits; in others I feel like a rank beginner.

Here’s where it seems as if I’ve barely begun: creating a real, practical, sustainable exercise routine. As coach Allison Rimm wrote last week, I jumped in with both feet to starting the project, and I’m now starting to realize that this habit of quick, impulsive beginnings has been one of my lifelong obstacles to creating lasting change.

Not just in exercise but in many areas of my life, I tend to dive right in with huge enthusiasm, tackle a project with great energy and excitement, and then … well, once the novelty wears off, I’m more likely to go looking for a new challenge than to focus on completing the one I’ve got.

So, as you may have noticed, already this year I’ve been gung-ho about swimming, and then power yoga, and then biking … and I haven’t even bothered to write about my other passing (and purely in-the-abstract) infatuations with everything from karate to Zumba to bellydancing as the real way to get in shape.

But this week I seem to have found the one thing that will actually make me exercise: I promised my kid that I would. And, because I vowed when I first looked into his trusting baby eyes, 16 years ago, that I would never, ever break a promise to him, I did it.

Granted, I didn’t do much. But (with a cunning honed by years of almost promising, “I’ll take you to the zoo today,” and then amending it on the fly to “I’ll take you to the zoo sometime this month”) all I had actually promised was: “I will work out today.” So I lifted weights and used my resistance bands – in my bedroom, in my pajamas, at the very end of the day – and, frankly, felt as if I was cheating a bit. But I said I’d work out, and I did.

So now I just have to make bigger promises. Not crazy promises, but ones that will really improve my health. Because even if I can’t always (yet) do as Coach Allison says and “trust, love and respect myself” enough to get healthier, I do trust, love and respect my kids enough to do it for them.

I promise.

And, this week, I promise to exercise on three different days.

Readers, what motivates you when nothing else works? And what are you willing to commit to right now?

 

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