Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Step out of your comfort zone .... I dare you!

When I rang in the year 2016, I fully expected it to be sort of the status quo for the next 12 months. I mean I knew there would be bumps in the road, and maybe some new excitement. I jumped out of an airplane in 2015, so there was always the possibility of a big thrill in 2016, too. A new family vehicle was going to be a necessity, and I was hopeful that I could continue a mostly healthy lifestyle.

But when you are 48 going on 49, the box you live in has pretty well been determined, right?

And then I decided to try my friend's exercise class at the Yorktown YMCA, because I had heard that it was so popular she had a waiting list. I was curious. What could Molly possibly be doing to make exercise THAT much fun?

So I hustled off to Yorktown after work one day to give cardio boxing, as she called it, a try. And I loved it. It was so much fun that I said to Molly, "I wish the New Castle Y offered this class. Maybe I'll suggest to them that they look into it."

And then Molly opened her big mouth. "Why don't YOU just teach it?"

My daughter Natalie loves my class!
I probably rolled my eyes.

I'm not an exercise class instructor! They have people to do that. You have to be trained to do that. I don't have time for that. And that's not me, anyway. In every personality test I've ever taken, I've been labeled as more of a behind-the-scenes kind of guy.

But inside, I listened to Molly's half-joking, crazy, out-of-the-box idea. And I wondered. Could I really do that?

In the weeks that followed, I mentioned the idea to the decision-makers at the Henry County YMCA. They were energetic in their response, and not just that the class was a good idea but that me teaching it was a good idea. They, and Molly, assured me that I didn't need any certification or long-term education. I COULD be one of those exercise class instructors.

I really felt like this was God tugging on me and telling me to take this opportunity, with three possible benefits: 1) Make a few extra dollars, 2) Force myself into the gym for regular exercise every week, and 3) Use my abilities to help others be healthy.

And so the plans were put in place. I got some equipment lined up, I got some training and coaching from Molly on how to do this, we found two evening time slots where it would fit in the Y's schedule, and when July rolled around I led my first class. I think there was one, or maybe two, people in it. In the weeks that followed, some people came and tried it once and then I never saw them again. Some came a few times, and some are in the "occasional" category. And 6-7 people are what I would call hardcore regulars.

And now fast-forward 6 months to the end of the year, and I'm getting ready to start teaching the same class outside of the Y once a week, at a church where some good friends pastor and asked me about starting a program to help them utilize some new space. It will be an exercise class with a little spiritual twist to go with it, an offering for church members but also a community outreach, where hopefully we can use their facilities to grow God's kingdom, all while punching away some fat.

If you are still with me after 10 paragraphs, you might be wondering about that "dare" in the headline. And so my point is this: Don't confine yourself to the box in which you are currently comfortable. Just because you have lived one way for many years, or a few decades, doesn't mean you can't mix things up.

Be determined to prove that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. Don't let past experiences limit new opportunities.

New Year's resolutions are sometimes stale and quickly forgotten. And you can commit to being a better you at any time of the year, not just on January 1. But we're in that time period where we're throwing out calendars and hanging new ones, so go ahead and grab hold of something new now.

How are you going to be better in 2017 than you were in 2016?


  1. Nice article, and way to punch it in to gear at the Y!! 😂 Love you

  2. I REALLY wanna try this...but I'm a little scared. I haven't done anything physically challenging in nearly 2 years, since my cancer crisis, and I'm terribly out-of-shape! I mean SERIOUSLY out-of-shape!!! But guess I gotta start moving again some time....

    1. Terry, I can modify each exercise in the program as needed to meet everyone where they are in their health journey! Can't do one of the moves for a full 60 seconds? Then stop and catch your breath after 30. Can't do push-ups, or planks, for 60 seconds? Then start by doing them with your knees on the ground. I've watched people of all fitness levels, and all ages, enjoy this class!