What I Keep Learning From Donna (My Workout Buddy Who's Over 60)
I work out with some ladies in their 60s. In fact, all the gals that I train with every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are older than me. And, to be honest, the oldest one puts me to shame almost every single time.
Each morning I inwardly coach myself, “Gotta keep up with Donna. Shoot, Donna is lifting more than me again. Why can't I catch up to someone who is 25 years my senior?!”
What makes Donna outperform the rest of us, despite her extra years? I've been keeping a close eye on her lately, trying to figure that out.
We had a contest from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day to see who could eat the most healthy green food. We had to send a group text with a picture of the meal to our entire crew every time we ate green. I thought, “Hallelujah, finally, a contest I can win.” The first day I ate green no less than five times: green smoothie, spinach in my eggs, greens in my lunch, green veggies for a snack, green salad at dinner. And I kept up that pace for a couple days. I sprinted out of the gate.
My pace lessened, though, within a few days. “That’s fine,” I thought, “I am way ahead. Even if I only eat green three times a day, I have got this thing won.”
I stayed strong for a few weeks. Meanwhile, Donna had been quietly and systematically exploring new green vegetables. She discovered a new love for fresh asparagus. We were both eating greens three times a day.
Christmas week hit. I got a cold. And, well, I quit the greens. My will power floundered in the face of Christmas cookies. My head cold wanted ramen, not broccoli. I couldn’t stand the sight of spinach. I hoped my strong start would carry me through to victory.
It didn’t. Donna won. You knew that was coming.
You knew that was coming, because you know, like me, that slow and steady wins the race. Donna doesn’t shoot out of the gate. She enters the race carefully, thoughtfully. Her performance isn’t a roller coaster, it’s a straight line through Kansas. Whether she’s lifting weights, pedaling the Air Bike, or eating greens, she’s consistent and methodical. She doesn’t let her emotions get the best of her. She sets a goal and charts the course and gets to the end without whining about it.
Only 58.4% of Americans who make a New Year’s resolution keep it past one month. If you made a resolution to, for example, read the Bible in a year and you’re like me, you started strong and during the first few days you wondered what all the fuss was about. “This is easy,” you said to yourself. Then you got busy and by about day 15 you were already behind. Or you worked out for five days straight and haven’t been back to the gym since. Or you ate greens all day for one week and then decided to never buy spinach again. Ever.
I wanna be Donna when I grow up. Her methods are actually biblical, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5). Or as the Living Bible puts it, “Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty.”
Steady plodding, you guys. Anyone can do that. February is next week—let’s get back on track. Coincidentally, our workout crew is gathering this Sunday to share 3-month goals, 6-month goals, and 12-month goals. It’s a good thing I just preached this little sermon to myself. Because Donna will be there.