However, I knew I was on a roll with exercise and needed to keep up my routine. I had a goal of losing 10 pounds. Down by three, I was starting to feel good—strong, fit, more lean. I couldn’t choke now.
I drove to the gym and walked up to the door. But didn’t go in. I was too depleted—emotionally, spiritually and physically.
I shuffled back to my car.
While driving home I decided I’d walk up the large hill near my house. The climb was not as intense as working out at the Y, but it was some exercise.
I climbed, putting one leaden foot in front of the other. And began shaming myself:
Why can’t I ever keep up an exercise routine? Any routine, as far as that goes?
Why can’t I lose weight—ever?
When am I ever going to get disciplined and win this battle?
Then, I stopped. I don’t know what restrained me but I stopped shaming myself. Instead, I said inwardly:
You’re doing OK. Good, even.
Look, you are walking up a big hill on a day when you don’t feel like it at all. That’s commendable.
You are hanging in there. You aren’t giving up. Bravo. The truth is, you are doing really, really well.
Where this new, encouraging voice came from, I don’t know. But it came.
Tears of relief also came and washed away the heaviness. I felt renewed, lighter. My world seemed a little brighter.
I made it to the top of the hill and started back down.
Maybe I could just get in the pool at the Y. Kicking around in there is great cardio.
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Later I mull over this turnaround and the lessons it taught me:
1. Shame as a motivational tool doesn’t work.
2. I need Grace. Second and third and one-hundred-and-third chances. So do others.
3. Gentle affirmation clears the way for hope.
4. Hope births the courage to begin again.
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Beginning again is an important topic for me. Here are two additional blog posts I’ve written at important crossroads:
The Art of Beginning Again (Beliefnet blog post)
Beginning Again (my personal blog)
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