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“We can all do amazing thing when we really commit ourselves to a goal.” ~ Nikki StoneWhen Turtles Fly

Recently my daughter has turned my on to NBC’s  “The Biggest Loser.” I watched John Rhode drop 220 pounds to become the Season 12 winner, and this season I have tuned in to watch the season of “No Excuses.”

Each week I curl up on the couch, usually with a glass of wine, a snack, or maybe dinner, and watch the contestants suffer through Bob and Dolvet’s insane workouts, and think, “How the hell can they do that?” I don’t know if I could make it through five minutes of one of their workouts and I don’t have 100-plus pounds to lose, besides the fact that the list of excuses they are working their way through each week have all been used on more than one occasion by yours truly.

I found my answer to that question as I read Chapter 4 of Nikki Stone’s book which focuses on the theme of commitment.

“I don’t think most people truly understand all they themselves can accomplish until they develop their hard shell of commitment,” Nikki writes.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have always had the soft inner core consisting of passion for everything and anything I do, that Nikki talks about in earlier chapters of “When Turtles Fly,” but it is the components that make up that hard outer shell — focus, commitment, and the ability to overcome adversity — in which I am often lacking.

Growing up I was a three sport competitive athlete. I played soccer, I swam, and played softball. I always earned a starting position on the teams I played for, and won various awards and regional honors in the sports I played. But I always fell short of being at the very top of my game. There was always someone out there who wanted it a little bit more. Someone who saw their training go beyond the end of a season.

I on the other hand, played soccer in the fall, and softball in the spring. The only exception to participating in a sport beyond the scheduled season was swimming, because it was pretty much a year round sport, so I swam in the winter, and then sometimes in the fall or summer. But in college my commitment and focus for the sport began in October and ended after Division III NCAA championships in March. I didn’t have the focus or commitment necessary to continue my training into the summer months and during school breaks, which is why that national title always alluded me each March even though I was always ranked in the Top 3 going into the National Championship meet.

My coach took a lot of the blame for my failure at nationals. She claimed that in four years of training me she never quite figured out how to taper me to have a good state meet AND still excel at the national meet a month later.

It is only now, nearly eighteen years later, I can admit, that her focus and commitment to my success probably had very little, if anything, to do with my poor performances at Nationals each year.

There is no doubt the contestants on “The Biggest Loser” know what it is like to be focused and committed, and when either of those begin to wane they have people on campus to remind them of what they are there to do and the end goal. Ironically, one of those people has been Nikki. She has had the privilege to work with some of the contestants on the show, and I can see why.

When I began to read through this her Chapter 4 with stories from successful people such as Hollywood cinematographer George Koblasa, NFL quarterback Steve Young, Celebrity Chef Todd English, Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart, child entrepreneur and philanthropist Ryan Hreljac, and CEO and founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK Brian Scudamore, I couldn’t help but admire their perseverance and courage in following through with a goal and/or dream, even if at the time it seemed absolutely unattainable.

As I worked through the activities provided at the end of each commitment story, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my own lack of focus and commitment to one specific goal that has been haunting me since I became a mother almost thirteen years ago. It has to do with maintaining a healthy weight and regaining my athletic physique. I don’t want to be a supermodel, nor do I expect to workout to the extreme that I did in college — 4-6 hours a day in the pool, plus an additional 1-1.5 hours of dryland training. I just wanted to be tone again, and to be able to walk up stairs, and play a game of soccer in the backyard with my kids without feeling my heart and respiration rates begin to increase so dramatically, that I feel as if I’m going to keel over. OK, the stairs don’t exactly make me feel like that, but running around for 10 minutes in a friend’s neighbor’s yard to chase lose chickens back into their coop had me coughing, wheezing and vomiting, and that is just SAD!!

So as I worked through Nikki’s activities for commitment I focused on my goal of becoming healthier and, in return, happier through working my way to becoming an athlete again. You won’t see me tackling any 10Ks or entering myself in an Iron Man in the future, but hopefully with the help of Nikki’s book and this blog I will be able to see a considerable transformation of myself — body, heart, and soul — and perhaps that will inspire other mom’s out there to do the same.

An excerpt from Nikki’s Tools for Success section of Chapter 4 — Commitment:

“People always talk about starting a commitment tomorrow, next week, or sometime down the road. Stop the “I’ll do it tomorrow” game. Where is that really going to get you? Why won’t you choose today to commit to a task or a project or an undertaking? They say what you do today will predict your future. If this was true, what would you do today?

My answer: I am starting my commitment to developing a healthy, happy, lifestyle by beginning my new blog feature “The Mommy Body Transformation Project.” My tips for working and stay-at-home mom’s will be posted each Sunday along with a real-life account of  how I  am staying committed to my weight loss, exercise, and eating goals while still juggling parenthood and all that entails.

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