The TOP 10 Lessons November Project (NP) Has Taught Me

1)“Just Show Up” – while this might reference getting my butt out of bed on even the crappiest, darkest, coldest and dreariest of mornings to be there at 6:29 am it also refers to your attitude in life. It reminds me to be present, to exist in the moment and to be there for my family, for work, for my goals and most importantly for myself.

2)Yelling “FUCK YEAH” feels really good (really, really good) – We are all taught from a young age that swearing is rude. In some cases such as a fancy dinner that might hold some truth however at NP shouting this statement out is a sign of power, motivation and declaring to the world that you are here and that you are a force to be reckoned with!!

3)It’s ok to NOT go to NP! – Wait….what? Yes, you read that correctly. Let’s be honest – life happens and these days it seems that everything we do has turned into a juggling act from work to family to free time. If you are showing up in life (see lesson #1), being authentic and owning your shit then you are doing just fine. NP is a family who will be there to encourage, support, motivate and care about you no matter if you make it every Wednesday, once a month or once a year.

4)Judgement is NOT welcome! – When you participate in NP you are not measured on how fast you can run, how many burpees your body can endure or how many times you can go up and down a flight of stairs. NP is a judgement free zone! It is about doing things at your pace and in a way that is safe and right for you. *WARNING* in lieu of judgement you will be a) hugged b) high-fived and c) reminded that you are awesome exactly as you are

5)Connectivity Creates Community – NP was started by two brothers-from-other-mothers looking to foster accountability for their fitness goals and connection through the winter months. That grew into something far bigger. The connectivity spread as one brother brought a friend and then that friend brought friends and so on. Going to NP is not just about being in Beacon Hill Park at 6:29 am on Wednesday mornings. It’s about seeing a familiar face on a hiking trail in the middle of nowhere and hugging. It’s about asking fellow members for help volunteering for a race and having amazing people jump at the chance to support you. It’s about getting to know each other outside of the sweaty awesomeness that NP has become.

6)Giving Back ROCKS! – No matter if it’s to the community or to a fellow NP peep, giving back with a kind word of support, providing moral support, volunteering time for tagging shirts or for park clean-ups or for cheering each other on at special events….this is what NP is all about! This is an attitude I carry into my personal life and whenever I get the chance to ‘pay it forward’ I do!

7)Fitness CAN be FUN!!!! – This has to be one of my favorite lessons. Fitness does not always have to be about burpees, mountain climbers, push-ups, etc. It can be a game of capture the flag or tag. It can include piggy backs or crawling around on your knees to play a game of “Over/Under”. It is totally acceptable (and encouraged) to feel like a kid again and combine fitness with playing games – in fact I highly recommend that more of us do it more often and remember what it’s like to just playJ

 8)Just MOVE! – You are not timed, your distance is not measured, there is no count taken. You are there to just move your body. Movement heals, movement de-stresses and movement is GOOD for you!

 9)We ALL Have Stories!! – Disconnect is in abundance in our world today. So much out there is designed to make us think that we are connecting (i.e. cellphones, computers, TV) when really these devices are helping us to hide instead of really finding out about the person next to us. NP has served as a platform for me to share about myself and for others to share their lives with me. From celebrating joyous occasions together (like birthdays!) to grieving the loss of a member of the NP community, to playing a game where you have to hold plank and ask someone else a question like “What’s your name?” or “What’s your favorite kind of ice cream?” NP has shown me that if I am brave enough to tell my story someone will listen and they will care.

 10)November Project is NOT Bootcamp! – Whatever you do, wherever you go in life, whatever you say…..NEVER….and I mean NEVER refer to NP as bootcamp! Trust me on this one as I made that very mistake when I first started showing up. Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with bootcamp. In fact I go to one and enjoy it very much (yes, even the burpees). NP is more about reaching out and connecting with people you might not normally have a chance to connect with elsewhere in your life. It’s about holding yourself accountable in every aspect of life, not just your physical goals. It’s about being positive, caring and authentic human beings. It has elements of bootcamp like movement, hard work and sweat…..but it has hugs, high-fives, “fuck-yeahs”, playing like a kid, encouraging others, being encouraged, carrying and being carried. NP… a way of life!

Love D.