Elaine Doll-Dunn, Psy.D.

There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

“Open the gate ‘n let me have ‘im!” Jaw set, spurs poised, a two fingered hand high in the air. How many times did I watch him come out of that chute, rocking to an instinctive rhythm with the horse, spurring high and wide as though he were in his easy chair at home. Eight seconds. He had eight seconds to impress the judges, compete with the bronc, and maintain his seat in the weathered saddle; then survive either a mighty fall in the dusty arena or a heart stopping rescue by the pick-up men. It never got any better, and eight seconds can be a long, long time…either a-horseback or perched on the corral fence.

Having spent my formative years growing up on a ranch, I went to my fair share of rodeos, survived a few informal bucking experiences myself, and endured watching my best friend win, lose, or draw at many a performance. I learned that eight seconds is a long time to show your stuff and that eight seconds is a really short time to show your stuff. Eight seconds can determine whether you go home with a shiny new silver buckle and money in your jeans, or a battered and bruised body and ego and broke again. It’s how you use your time.

So you know where this is going. We all only really have eight seconds. Figuratively, we have very little time in each of the phases of our lives, and how we spend that time well determines if we wind up with a buckle in hand or a bad taste in the mouth. Feeling good is our choice, but it does require that we face the demon, mount up, and ride to the whistle. Actually, the metaphor is quite apt…there are many opportunities to buck off, grab leather, or just not get on. It is so easy to quit (or just not start!) and so difficult to maintain. Keeping at our regimen requires that we really want that buckle and that we’re not afraid of what it takes to get there.

But also, just because we land in the dirt occasionally, doesn’t mean we can’t climb back on. That’s winning. That’s remembering there is always another show, that muscle memory is a reality, and that anybody can do anything for eight seconds. It’s reminding ourselves that the buckle is worth it, and that we’re worth the buckle. A pile up in the arena just means a heroic tip of the hat and on to the next opportunity…fitness is an entry fee away, and eight seconds is within anybody’s time frame. (Okay, so the metaphor falls apart a little; eight seconds, one hour, it’s just semantics.) FT HPNZ (fit happens), and it’s by the numbers.

Y’ with me? Mount up, think “eight” and out the gate. See you on the road.

Fitness by the Numbers
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Alphabet of Fitness
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