Commencement represents graduating from one life chapter into the next while contemplating the future. When I taught middle school, every June a recurring dream envisioned my death and a funeral to follow. I wondered who would attend and how would anyone know of my demise (prior to social media). A relentless sadness engulfed my psyche. With concern my death was imminent, a friend set the record straight, suggesting that the end of each academic year brought with it feelings of completion of one life, while a new set of students started the process again in September. As my current twelve-week exercise and weight loss journey ends and a new one commences, I contemplate the future with fresh eyes, ears, and actions.

With one week remaining, taking stock of the experience flows into my consciousness. Many prior participants fail in second, third, and fourth twelve-week program attempts, as their practices become lackadaisical, laid-back, and rebounding pounds return while former, poor eating habits resurface. Fueling motivation to reduce future failure like the initial fire that sparked my first twelve weeks requires exploring, searching, and digging for inspiration. Engaging with each twelve-week challenge, as if brand new, requires intention, goals, and determination that pave the path to continue what experience has taught me, while releasing less than optimal actions. When failure occurs along repeated journeys that were once successful, inner healing waits an awakening.

Getting to the core of underlying emotional issues along the weight loss journey sounds an alarm. The initial accolades that complemented your journey from outside sources as friends, neighbors, and strangers, cannot remain prime motivation. Internal praise, the heart or soul’s applause, contain the continued fist bumps. Transitioning to a long-term healthy lifestyle, growing comfortable in a new body, and healing within, must differ from the initial bout in the ring of past weight loss failures. Going ten rounds in the fight for maintained weight loss, fitness, and inner healing, is lengthy, hard, and requires stamina, consistency, and perseverance. Each leg of the journey commences, graduating from an ending to new beginnings. Repeated finishes and starts are lessons in completions and renewals, freedom from past transgressions, and a movement forward to pastures of personal growth. Let the commencement begin.