Keep That Resolution: It Can Yield More Than You Think

By: Lorna Donatone
Jan 17, 2018 11:20 AM ET
Lorna Donatone, CEO Sodexo North America, and her CrossFit community

Keep That Resolution: It Can Yield More Than You Think

This past year, I did the unthinkable and followed through on a resolution. And, by following through, my CrossFit journey didn’t just help me find my abs; it also gave me a crash course in business endurance and career success.

The start was all mental obstacles. My career had forced me to ruthlessly prioritize my time. I fit in exercise, but it was more of a squeeze-in than a priority.

As I aged, I wanted to tone and increase my endurance, which helps me focus, sleep and generally feel better. But that would take upping my game – as in frequent, regular, prioritized workouts. Between breakfast meetings, a jam-packed workday, dinners and after-hours commitments, not to mention travel, how would I fit it in?

My daughter had solved this riddle for herself. So much so, in fact, she had become a CrossFit coach. She inspired me. But, when she suggested I try it out, my immediate reaction was “How can I possibly add this to the juggle?”

The lessons I learned can be applied to workouts, to work and to life.

She persisted and the idea eventually morphed into my personal goal. I agreed to join her for a few sessions when I took a vacation this past August.

With the psychological barriers almost cleared, I faced the physical ones. CrossFit, you may know, is no mere aerobic workout. It’s high-intensity interval training with a passionate community.

My first session I thought I was going to die.

“Everything is scalable, mom,” my daughter counseled. So, I went back. I saw others lifting like Olympians while I painfully lifted an almost empty bar.

With the mantra “scalable” in my head, I kept working out during my vacation. Wouldn’t you know it, I got faster and stronger. No Wonder Woman, but much improved.

When I returned to work, I kept it up. Almost six months in and I am still committed. Partly because of the work I’ve already done and mostly because of the two principles I learned along the way.

  1. Everything is scalable. I can change the difficulty of the task as my skills improve.
  2. Sustained effort leads to results. I don’t have to reach my goal fast. If I take it slow and fit it into the rest of my priorities, I’ll get there.

What does that look like in real life?

In terms of scalability, I improved my skill set by accepting where I was at physically and regularly working to improve at my own pace. It did not take any inherent skill or talent.

As for sustained effort, I have already put in a lot of hard work and I do not want to backslide. Plus, thanks to my daughter and my CrossFit community — see above — I’m encouraged and held accountable.

So, now I rarely schedule evening dinners or events that are under my control. I just say no. Because during the week, working out after work often is when it fits. I also signed on for a morning weekend class, which helps keep me on track.

Before, I had set arbitrary limits. Such as “I can only workout in the morning” or “I can only work out in the evening.” But sustained effort now takes priority over fixed schedules.

Everything is scalable and sustained effort leads to results.

These principles can be applied to almost every kind of hurdle. They can be applied to workouts, to work and to life.

I keep them in the back of my mind outside of the gym and in the office. It’s amazing how many new skills can be mastered by applying these insights. And, they helped me meet my goal.

What about you?

Do you make resolutions and what have you learned from them?