19. Commitment

19. Commitment

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Shaping the New You

Commitment

We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
 ~Aristotle

It’s 5:00 in the morning when the alarm sounds. I fumble the top of the clock in search of the off button, as the alarm rings in my ears. I roll out of bed and walk blindly through the dark into the bathroom. I flip on the light switch and put in my contacts. The house is still as I walk downstairs while my husband and three kids sleep peacefully. I lace up my shoes and take a deep breath. Some days I use the elliptical or go for a long run, but today I choose my favorite exercise DVD, Insanity. Sweat pours down my face and into my eyes. My heart races as I force my body to finish each exercise. As I near the end of the workout, my body’s engine is now running on fumes, but a smile stretches across my face. It’s not a smile because the DVD is over, but a smile of accomplishment from pushing my body to its extreme limit.

Some people are addicted to shopping, smoking, food, work, or even chocolate. But my addiction is exercise. Just like we need food and water to survive, I need exercise to get through each day. Some shake their heads when they see me run through town while hail pelts my face. Others get offended when I refuse to try just one bite of their grandmother’s chocolate cake. They raise their eyebrows, surprised by my “no thank you,” or by my choice to have a grilled chicken salad over a hamburger and French fries. Over the years, I have learned it’s okay to just say “no.” I shouldn’t feel guilty for refusing food that I don’t want to consume. It’s okay if I choose premium fuel that delivers optimal results for my body. And it’s my decision to, on occasion, indulge in a piece of dark chocolate or a treat without feeling guilty.

So what motivates me to roll out of bed to exercise at 5:00 a.m.? What gives me the confidence to just say no to ice cream? Commitment. A commitment to change my life with a solution that reduces daily stress, increases self-esteem and energy, prolongs life and above all improves my body shape. This is the point where a smile stretches across my face as I gaze into the mirror or try on my favorite pair of jeans that now fit just right. It’s through dedication, commitment and relentless sweat that I can make a difference within myself inside and out.

~Sheri Plucker

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