A few years ago administrators everywhere learned this word, and now teachers hear it at every meeting. I, personally, get sick of it by about lunch of the second day back to school. However, there is something to be said about being held accountable. I have started this running app many, many times. Each time I would say this time I will finish it. But I never have. One time I hurt my knee. One time I got sick for a few days. And several times, I just got lazy or it rained or it was too hot or it was too cold or a million other excuses - but I didn't finish. I'm not sure I ever finished w4d1.
But this time I was determined to finish it. To not only get past week 4 but to finish the entire app and actually run. But hadn't I told myself that a million other times about one exercise plan or another. Haven't we all done that?
But something is different this time. This morning I finished week 5. Can I get a Whoop-whoop! Yes, you heard me correctly. I finished week 5. This morning. As in I've already done it. This time I haven't let a million excuses stop me. It hasn't been easy. It ain't pretty! But I'm doing it. I've had this phobia about running in front of people. You know - I'm too sweaty. I'm too slow. I'm too jiggly. But this time, I kept my schedule. I ran at the lake. I ran past my neighbor's house while he was outside. And this week I started running with friends. Two mornings this week I have gotten up before 5a.m. and met friends for early morning running. The broken toe has slowed me down a bit. Sunday morning, I started running with Lovey and had to walk the second half because my toe hurt so bad (I had stumped it the night before). But the next morning I got up and reran that day - and finished it. This time, I started out running my three days a week and walking the other days. And I have only skipped a few walking mornings. I didn't walk or run or anything yesterday. And you know what? I just didn't feel good all day. About halfway through the afternoon, I thought to myself, If I would have gone running this morning, I would feel better. Seriously! I really thought that! And even more importantly, I believe it.
So what's so different this time? What's making me change the way I think. This time I find myself planning my day around my exercise. For years, I tried to fit exercise into my day - it rarely worked. Something almost always bumped it further and further down the list. I couldn't walk after school because I had afterschool tutoring. I would do morning walks all summer and then stop when school started, planning to do it later in the day. But the time was just never right later in the day. This time, I have caught myself saying, Can't do that, I have to run in the morning. or Well I'll have to run first. or even Want to run with me?
Just the other day my momma asked me if I was dieting too. My answer to that was a big NO. I haven't let the scales deter me. In the past, I would set myself up for failure. I changed everything at once and then couldn't stick with it. Or I would get on the scales and not see much of a change and get discouraged and quit it all. Oh, I've gotten on the scales almost everyday - they just tell me the same thing over and over again. For the last few weeks, I've lost and gained back and lost again the same 3 or 4 pounds. And I'm sort of okay with that. Would I like the weight to be dropping off? Hell yeah. But I'm just not worrying about it. This is not about me losing weight - this is about me finishing the running app. I'll worry about the numbers on the scale when I can run 30 minutes without needing an oxygen tank. And to be honest, my clothes are fitting a little more loosely. Good enough for me.
Is all of this change because of accountability? I've been posting about finishing the app. A few weeks ago, I committed to #4realfitnesschallenge. My New Year's resolution included fitness - I think I've started the c25k app three times since then. I resolved to lose 5 pounds a month and try a new recipe each week, but neither of those are happening. Running with friends has helped me this week. I really didn't want to get up this morning, but I knew they would be running so I did. They would have gone on without me and not even been upset that I didn't show up, but I wanted to run with them. The broken toe could have been a legitimate excuse to back out of the fitness challenge - but I refused to let that stop me. My little excursions this summer have been reasons to not run, but I've packed my shoes and my headphones and done it. I honestly believe that this time I have forgotten all about being accountable to the other stuff - like diets and scales, and I've been accountable to me. I don't want to fail me. I refuse to let myself down again. I've been asked several times if I plan to run a 5k when I finish the app, and honestly, I don't see that happening - but I just might.
I've got the first 20 minute run coming up soon. I'm debating whether I want to run that on my own or with the group. What would be the easiest? Running with the group increases my pace - not that my pace keeps up with theirs at all. What if I want to quit? Running with someone might push me to keep going. But running with someone might make me want to give up when my running pace slows down to not even someone else's walking pace. (It could happen, believe me.) See. These are the things that go through my mind now. I'm making decisions for me. Not for the scales. Not for the someone's challenge. Not for the blog. For me. What will work for me? I think accountability must come from within. It helps to have encouragement along the way. It helps to be challenged. It helps that someone will suffer with me. But until I want it for myself, none of the technology, none of the cheering, none of the questioning, none of the rewards in the world is going to make me do it. I'm doing it now because I finally decided that I would. I want to finish it more than I want to give in to the excuses. That's what is keeping me accountable right now.
I'm thinking that I will start my school year by having my students discuss "accountability" and have them write about what is keeping them accountable. Do they know? Have they thought about it before? It could set a great pace for the year.