A few weeks ago as we were gearing up for our uber-active sea-kayaking vacation, my husband and I were in a desperate race to get in shape. More specifically, we want to trade in our round jiggley shapes for something a wee bit more toned and svelte.
After devouring half a bag of marshmallows with complimentary graham crackers and chocolate during a previous weekend's camping trip, I could not have been more delighted to hear that my husband was on board for a new gut and butt busting routine.
We were drawing the line in the sand and together it was time to trade in comfort and our ever expanding waistlines for a new commitment to health and a smaller bootie.
While Dr. Phil would advise we take on a "no fail environment," removing all offending substances from crackers to ketchup in support of our weight-loss effort, we decided to live on the edge, going for more of a "temptation and decadence around every corner environment."
When we arrived home from camping I handed Jeff the marshmallows and remaining Hershey bar from the weekend's fire-side revelry and unceremoniously request that he toss them in the trash. To this he replied, "let's keep them in the freezer until our next camping trip. But the catch is we can't touch them until then. Anyone who eats the smores fixings between now and then pays a $100 fine!"
We shook on it and then added limits on wine consumption and made a commitment to forgo desert until our next smores-gasbord 2 weeks hence!
We started well. Monday we were up at 6 am for our run. Jeff rocked it, going 4 miles while I wogged (walk-jogged) 3, just happy to be awake to greet the gorgeous morning outside. A sensible dinner of couscous and spicy kale (It really was better than it sounds) and we were off to the races!
Tuesday morning we were up again at 6 am, and began with our normal warm-up chat on the way to the trail, when I innocently asked me sweet husband how he ate the day before.
"Ok" he responded with a little shrug.
I look over, interested, "Ok?" I asked, with one eyebrow cocked. "What was just 'ok' about it?"
A sheepish look came over his face as he revealed the reason for the "ok".
"I had a Clark Bar after lunch." He grinned.
"Ohhhhhhh! I hope it was good." I grinned with zeal. "Please do not pass go. Please deposit $100 into the savings account at your earliest convenience."
He put up an honest fight, protesting that his chocolate transgression was not the smores stuff in the freezer, nor was it "dessert" because everyone knows that "dessert" only comes after dinner. However, after a lighthearted conversation we both agreed that it made no sense for freezer and dinner sweets to be taboo while having a carte blanche on anything store-bought consumed before 5 pm.
And so he acquiesced, the savings account received an unexpected deposit and we both got one step closer to taking ourselves and our commitment to health seriously.
I share this story as a demonstration of commitment and what it takes to actually be committed to something. Many of my clients get to that point in the road where despite their honest desire to make something happen in their lives, they come to a coaching conversation in exasperation, explaining that they "just didn't do it."
Whether the "IT" is getting up to go to the gym, following your schedule or refraining from mental self flagellation, too often the best of intentions fall flat, and can even fall completely out of existence if we are left to our "business as usual" ways.
Often commitment to something takes a lot more focus, and both internal and external support than we would imagine. Even for the most experienced life-makers it usually takes more than a few heartfelt words to get started on a new habit or a new exciting/scary life adventure.
Is there a habit you want to start or something you really want to make happen in your life but to this point your efforts have proven unsuccessful? Here are a few questions to ask yourself to get better acquainted with what it is really going to take to deliver on your commitment to yourself and your life.
For Jeff and I our $100 fine system, combined with the moral support of a partner in crime, will produce more effortless results and greater overall success than leaving each of us to brave the candy aisle alone. And inevitably these little successes will lead us to greater ones that will ultimately escort us to a whole new lifestyle of health and skinny jeans.
Life is for living, not for later and every moment is a chance to make your life.