How many people resolve to get fitter in the New Year? I'm guessing a lot. Maybe you too? I know that I did resolve to exercise regularly from January onwards. Guess what happened?
Not Just Another Exercise App
No I did not put it off. I thought about that, but I did take steps. First I Googled body weight exercise programs for unfit types like myself. One of the results was a service and app called Freeletics. Turns out this app is super popular right now. Not just popular, but suuuper-popular. Anyway.
Freeletics is a bunch of young German fitness nuts who have come up with a good looking app. They include online coaches and a quitting-is-not-an-option approach to exercise. They are German after all. It looked all trendy and slick so I signed up.
Then onto the first workout called Athena. It is billed as a simple workout for beginners. It consists of five sections in which you do a series of exercises starting with twenty five repetitions in section 1. Each section drops five reps with a short rest between. You call this calisthenics if you are north of sixty five.
One of the exercises is squats. Simple to do with only your body weight involved. The trick is that because of the five sections to the program I did not realise how many squats I would do. Turns out it was eighty. Which is a lot for someone like me. I walk a lot so I thought I was fit in the leg department. Turns out I'm not fit at all.
It Burns, It Burns
Squats use an entirely different set of muscles it seems and mine were on sabbatical for the past five years. Now they were back and not happy about it at all. The next day I was in agony. Honestly, the sort of pain that reminded me of bruised ribs. Almost everything I did short of remaining motionless triggered intense pain in my thighs.
I went around groaning like Gollum that day and the next day too. Nobody cared in the least. However by day three the pain had subsided and I started to feel pretty chuffed about it. I would do another workout and now I am determined to carry on with the program. You see the way they structure these programs turns it into a game. A challenge where you want to score points and bragging rights. I am committed to achieving the rewards including better fitness.
Commitment is Not the Same as Interest
There are many examples of commitment. The word suggests that whatever you are undertaking is not easy, but if you plug away it will be rewarding. Commitment promises good things from your effort and resolve.
But can the same be said if you are interested in something? I am interested in getting fitter. You may be interested in writing a book or interested in taking painting lessons. Yes, being interested is a step in the right direction, but then what?
What About the Law of Attraction?
No doubt you hear this from many people all the time. People say they are interested in many things. But then nothing happens. Some may say that positive thinking is enough. That the law of attraction will take care of the rest. Well I doubt that. True, visualisation is also a step in the right direction, but it falls short.
To make something happen requires action and that means commitment.
I am reading a book at the moment about Elon Musk (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future, by Ashlee Vance).
Musk is the man behind SpaceX and Tesla Motors. His story will no doubt prompt further writing in another blog post. His approach speaks volumes about commitment. One of the things he did is invest most of his own fortune in his Space and motor projects. In a world where start up businesses only try to risk capital from investors, Elon Musk risked his personal fortune. He almost lost it all too. But he prevailed and is one of the few pathfinders in modern times. That is commitment.
Use the Power of Commitment
What about you? Nobody asks us to commit to risking it all. But simple steps taken today can lead to great things tomorrow. You only get to paint ten, twenty or a hundred paintings by doing your first painting. Then the next and onwards. Does it hurt? Or cause inconvenience or hassle? At first it does.
Believe me that inertia is a human condition. We are generally wired to do nothing unless the reward justifies it. That is a pretty low level. It is our spirit that compels us to push against inertia to get things done. But to go further and excel? To go beyond good enough? To go beyond the limitations others set for you? Or your preconceived ideas? That demands more. It demands commitment.
So when you decide you are interested in something are you going to be committed enough to take action? Now there is the real challenge for this year.
Committed to Painting this year?
PS: Learning to paint is much easier than exercise and more fun I think ...
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Malcolm Dewey: Artist. Country: South Africa