This past summer, something finally kicked and I started working out more. The result: I was in a better mood, feeling better about myself and had a much lower stress level. Promising to work out on a regular basis has been one I always put on my resolution list and usually disregarded a month in. My routine from this summer has stayed the same. I got myself a trainer at school and continued tennis lessons nearby. I don’t think I have been this low stress during school since the second semester of my senior year of High School. The motivating factor behind it has transitioned from my concern for my physical appearance to how good I feel when I work out, what a difference it makes for the people around me, and for my stress level.
My realization sheds light on why this resolution to stay fit never stuck before. It had always been about how I looked, or how others looked compared to me. It was never about my own mental health. Seeing the huge impact it has for me has only made this a resolution I want to keep, not just for this coming year, but also for years to come. I am familiar with struggling to cope with emotional experiences and remembering to keep a positive attitude.
Now, my coping method is exercising. It gives me an opportunity to get out of a stressful situation and lose myself in my music and the treadmill. Lifting weights takes my mind off other things going on for a half hour. Tennis focuses my brain and body on something else instead of whatever is going on back at school. Something that used to wipe me out now gives me fuel; seven AM workouts have become a new personal favorite. I am so thankful that this resolution has reappeared and has taken off. My experience with exercising alone goes to show that resolutions can’t be forced upon someone. They are very much like life: they might be given to you at the moment you need it most but it’s up to you to pick it up and run with it. It’s in your power and yours alone to make it a valuable experience.