Achievement: Gym three days in a row.
Exercise: One hour of spinning
What Happens When You Say The Sky Is Purple?
I’m pretty good at keeping my word. If I say I’m going to be somewhere at a certain time, unless something pretty out of the ordinary happens, I’m usually there 5 minutes early and reading a book on my Kindle with the extra 5 minutes. I don’t call off sick from work. If I say I will do something, I do it. If I borrow $5 I pay it back. I’m making monthly payments on my breathtakingly high student loan debt because I said I would.
This is normal behavior for many of us–we have a lot of responsibilities, many things to accomplish and not enough time, but we manage. In a word, we are trustworthy.
I had some great evidence of this phenomenon at work a few months ago. I told my coworker that that sky was purple. My coworker didn’t double me or question the truth of the sky being purple, quite the opposite really, her eyes got big and on her way to a window she asked if there was a storm advisory in effect. She didn’t roll her eyes, make a joke or ignore me, instead she expected to see a purple sky when she got to the window.
In that moment I realized that people value and trust what I have to say. When I say the sky is purple, people ask about the weather–they don’t roll their eyes and keep walking.
So other people trust what I say. Here’s the problem: I’m not so good at keeping my word to myself. For example, “Self, you are going to lose weight this year, you will not have another birthday without getting fit.” Fail. Fail, fail fail, fail, failfailfail.
My word is not so valuable when it comes to this whole eating, exercising, getting healthy thing. If I say the sky is purple, people believe me. If I say I’m going to get fit, *I don’t believe me*. I don’t have the bedrock belief in myself that it can and will happen.
Yet showing up every day at 7:30 at work is just what I do, it just is and it isn’t particularly difficult or stressful. It’s just what happens every day, Monday through Thursday. If I can show up for work and every function or event than lands on my jam packed calendar, every dinner meeting and birthday, every wedding and class, what’s the big deal with the stinking gym?
Why the struggle with showing up at the gym at a certain time on a routine basis? Why is showing up at my challenging job just a normal part of day to day life and going to the gym is an area where my word is not good enough for me?
Somewhere along the line I must have made a decision to believe that I’m not important enough to honor promises that benefit only me. I must have had a moment where, subconsciously, everything else became be more important than I am. Or that going to the gym is just too hard. I picked up a point of view that says everything–from cooking dinner to working my first job to working my second job to taking care of others, to groceries and housework and making the bed and feeding the dogs and poop scooping the litter box and all of that–is more important than my health and wellbeing.
Well, crap. Just crap.
Why is my word not good enough for me when it is good enough for everyone else?
Why do I value the promises I make to me less than the promises I make to others every day?
Why are the promises I say out loud to others worth honoring, but the ones inside my head that I make to myself are not?
This idea of my promises to others being golden while the promises I make to myself being tissue paper is at the core of why this website exists: I’m giving my word to everyone who reads this page that I’m doing something epic to change my life.
Yes, I am sitting here, with a size 24 morbidly obese butt, telling you and everyone else that I’m going to trek to Everest Base Camp. I mean it. I’m promising myself, first and foremost, that I’m doing this and I’m saying it where everyone can hear me.