Week 5- Responsibility & Control

AFS EducationAFS Education Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner admin

Happy Monday No Cave Novemberers (that works, right?)!

Welcome to week 5 of the challenge. To this point we have covered a number of quite deep and hopefully impactful topics. That being said, this weeks topic, while simple, has the potential to have the greatest impact of all... Responsibility.

Responsibility, in one of the more simple definitions, can be described as having the ability to act independently and make decisions.. or, the ability to respond.

In this weeks video Devin & Nate explore the idea of responsibility, and searching for the things we have control over in what often seems like a sea of things outside of our control. Check it out below, and if you feel comfortable sharing the areas you identify where you plan to take more control/responsibility over, we'd love to hear them.

Mid-Week video update:


Your AFS FitFam


  • Beth ManoogianBeth Manoogian Member Rank ✭7✭

    Ironically, I failed at my original goal this week (working out 6x/week), because I am trying to be more responsible when it comes to recovery. I had a really difficult FSX class Saturday (15-20 reps of barbell back squats at 115# x 3 sets which is a PR for me in this ridiculously boring rep range, followed by wall sits, squat jumps, squat hold with a foam roller while boxing, and low speed hack squats), followed by SS sunday, and I am still not able to walk normally today. I am thereby taking an unplanned rest day today in order to try to heal these busted legs for 6am FSX tomorrow, rather than try to beast through a difficult 60 min peloton class. I am also going to be more responsible in eating more protein after these workouts because I think that’s at least 50% why my legs feel terrible today - I had to run errands right after both workouts so I was only able to take in 50% of my usual post workout protein.

  • Cheryl EsfahanCheryl Esfahan Member Rank ✭2✭

    This is a very interesting topic. As I was listening to the video, I realized that I generally don't take responsibility for times when my wellness plan goes awry. In fact, I completely avoid thinking about it and analyzing the reasons for what I'm doing. Last week I was in a lot of pain so I decided to skip AFS workouts to give my body a chance to fully recover. The only problem is that I forgot how important exercise is to my mental health, especially during the winter, and I didn't make a backup plan. As a result, my mood got worse and worse during the week. I was grumpy with everybody, I was dissatisfied with everything. I ate whatever was at hand, falling back on old habits of candy and junk food, I ignored every tug of my conscience to get back on track. I felt helpless, like I was in a storm, and not able to get a handhold on anything stable. I felt like a victim. I know this sounds dramatic, but that's what last week felt like at the time. My body wouldn't do what I wanted/expected it to do and it totally threw me off. Today, after working out for the first time in a week, I was in a good mindset to listen to this week's video and process the message. I realized where I went wrong (aside from not having a backup plan for exercise lol). By shutting down and not taking a break to really listen to the needs of my body and spirit, the out of control behavior lasted a lot longer than it might have. I have to own that. Now that I have taken responsibility for my actions, I realize I also have the ability to change the trajectory of the next bump in the road.

  • Andrea SpanglerAndrea Spangler Member Rank ✭5✭

    Well....I did good with my exercise goal of (4-5 times per week last week); this week it will be 4 times and did great with my pre/post workout snacks!  Where I need to take more responsibility is the eating part...I do really good during the week and then tend to lag on the weekends.  Not that I am eating bad (I am just not being as mindful as I should be) - I am still keeping sweets away (my mom is keeping all of the cookies at her house) but it is the savory snacking that is killing me.  My accountability - I did not go into the events with a solid plan; so it was a bite of this and a bite of that.  Now....this week so far, I am back on track (but it is only Tuesday)!  lol

  • Corinne AlbrechtCorinne Albrecht Member, AFS Staff Rank ✭8✭

    missed a week but we back at it!

    Devin: Alright, welcome back! We are on week five. I can’t believe how fast this is going, actually.

    Nate: It’s flying by!

    Devin: Flyin’ by. New years approaching quickly. But this is one of my favorite weeks to talk about and I know it’s one of yours, too, because we are talking about something that we literally will talk about as friends for hours on end--and that is: responsibility.

    Nate: Just the word.

    Devin: Just the word, how to spell it, different ways to spell it--ha, no, but seriously: responsibility is a huge part of this entire thing. Not just this challenge, but all of our lives. I think I can…(sigh). When you ask someone to take responsibility, in the most literal way--like if you don’t want your hand to hurt, don’t hit it with a hammer type thing--when you tell someone to take responsibility for that action, for some reason in our culture that’s got a really negative, like…

    Nate: Whenever I hear that word, it sounds punitive to me.

    Devin: Yes! 

    Nate: Like you, uh, TP’d your friend’s house and then the mom calls and is like, “Who is responsible for this?!”

    Devin: Yes! And so, when someone tells you to take responsibility, it’s like ugh! That hits you right in the gut--

    Nate: Yeah.

    Devin: --It’s actually not a bad thing because that’s exactly what we all need to do. Because what is responsibility? Have you ever actually broken down the word and thought about what it is? I hadn’t for a long time until I was running the business and trying to help people grow and responsibility is just this: the ability to respond. You can’t control what actually happens, but you have full control over your response to that thing. And so taking responsibility in any situation means to respond in the way that you want to respond, not in the way your emotions are telling you to respond, okay? Does that make sense?

    Nate: Yeah, and you literally have the ability to respond in a way that you choose over whatever the emotion is pulling you towards.

    Devin: Yes.

    Nate: You’re able. You’re able!

    Devin: Mmmhm. Meaning--and this is going to sound simple, but it’s true we don’t think about it--if you have a bad day, let’s say you tell yourself, “I’m not going to eat bad!” and then you go to a party, have a few drinks, and you eat really bad, wake up the next morning and you’re like, “Ugh, I feel terrible.” In that moment you can take responsibility and ask yourself, “Okay, I need to respond to this--what am I gonna do?” Because a lot of times, in that moment, people say, “Ugh, now I’ve already screwed it up, I was good for four or five weeks and now...whatever. I’ll start in January.” And so for the next three to four weeks they just eat whatever they want because they’re unwilling in that next day, right away, to take responsibility and say, “Ugh, I made a bad choice.”

    Nate: So they’re just surrendering that--

    Devin: Yes.

    Nate: What we’re surrendering, what we view as a burden--and I don’t know if it’s our society or our humanity, you know? I don’t know how far deep that goes, but...yeah. You’re surrendering it and then no longer are you gonna take action.

    Devin: And we’re allowing ourselves to become a victim of our own “personality.” If that’s how we believe we are, then we’re a victim to that.

    Nate: Yeah, yeah.

    Devin: Taking responsibility just means recognizing that in any moment you can choose to respond in any way you want. It’s really hard to get there, but it’s a really important thing. So, this week, I want everyone to think about: what are the things you can do better taking responsibility for? What are the things that you been saying, “No that’s completely out of my control”--rethink that and say, “But if I could control one thing about that situation, what’s that thing that I could effect?” Even if it’s only 10% of the thing! “90% is out of my control,” what is the 10% you can take responsibility for?

    Nate: A really easy one here to kind of like, uh, paint this up in something that’s concrete to look at: people who fail to attend their--let’s say that they have a long commute to work, you know, you live by me in Rochester and you have to drive all the way to Troy--some of those folks still have their workout scheduled for after work, when a lot of things that you can’t control could possibly be a barrier for you to get there. So it’s being responsible enough to know you have other choices, like you could get up in the morning or you could just actually, like, go even after you’ve sat in traffic the whole night. Like, there’s a lot of different things you can do in that situation, but it’s just recognizing that you have all those choices.

    Devin: Yes. And that is the whole focus of this week, is really to recognize--when you’ve come to a conclusion on something, “Ohp! It’s not my fault, couldn’t do anything about it!”--could be true, don’t get me wrong, that could be true, but 99% of the time--

    Nate: Is it useful if it’s true, though? That’s the thing.

    Devin: Yes!

    Nate: That’s the question you should ask. Like, does the truth even matter? What’s the most productive outcome you can create? That’s actually the question to ask. 

    Devin: Yeah.

    Nate: Cause the truth you can kinda just pull into having an excuse, right?

    Devin: See, what I’m doing here is I know we’re gonna get someone throwing, “Hey, I had a friend, this one time, that this happened--”

    Nate: Oh yeah! We always jump right to the--

    Devin: And it’s like, yeah, but that was one person out of how many millions? The rest of ‘em could do it. So I know--what I’m trying to say is I know there’s examples out there where someone could take full responsibility and still get the raw end of the deal.

    Nate: Oh yeah, we all have that happen.

    Devin and Nate: ...But!

    Devin: If you take responsibility for everything you actually can, you’d be amazed at how things slowly start to change in your life because it’s perspective that you’re coming into every situation with and it’s more important than people realize. So.

    Nate: That’s the power we talked about earlier in the series. It’s empowerment. It’s taking that responsibility and embracing it. 

    Devin: Yeah. So, what realizations might you have this week if you think about responsibility in a different way? And then what actions are you gonna take in order to take that responsibility? It’s really empowering for us to hear and see those things, so please share ‘em on the forum and that is your “homework assignment” this week. Two more weeks to go!

    Nate: And who’s responsible for eating my meal out of the fridge?!

    Devin: :) wasn’t me :)

  • Heather  QuinlanHeather Quinlan Member, Inward Journey Meditation Group Member Rank ✭7✭

    As I was driving home from work today, I reflected on this week's message. What kept coming to mind was how the old me wanted a diet plan to be responsible for the success I was seeking. If I follow (insert plan), then I will find what I'm looking for. Unknowingly, I wrestled with that for years trying diet program after diet plan after weight loss brand. I put the responsibility on the program/plan (whichever flavor of the month that was) instead of on myself. I expected "it" to fix me. This year, I've given up diets and have dug much deeper within myself for answers. I am still digging. I'll be digging for many years to come. But that's OK because I now have a better perspective on who the responsibilities lies upon.


    It's actually liberating when you realize you're strong enough to figure out what you need (even when it's scary). It's not always easy, but it's a freeing state of mind.

  • Sawyer Paull-BairdSawyer Paull-Baird Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin
    edited December 2019

    @Heather Quinlan Yes! I can't tell you how much I love what you just said. I can't tell you how often myself and others at AFS, and in the fitness industry as a whole have wrestled with this conundrum: what sells in fitness isn't what is best for the client. What's best for the client, often doesn't sell.

    The expectations of the consumer are that they will be given a meal plan or other system that will deliver them fitness. The consumer expects strict rules.. eat this.. don't eat that. do this.. don't eat that. THIS IS WHAT SELLS... However, it also is highly ineffective at making long-term lasting change.

    When you tell someone who is interested in working with you that there are no set in stone rules or regulations.. no meal plans.. no diet to follow.. and that we will be working on establishing healthy habits gradually over time, that are specific to the individual, and that require us to talk, critically think, and come to a consensus together.. People look at you funny.. It is such a foreign concept in the fitness industry.. And unfortunately, that often doesn't sell. On the bright side, I do think we are starting to shift a little bit as both a society and industry away from the "diet" mentality.

    I never thought about this through the lens of responsibility like you just did, but that makes so much sense...

    Anyways, I could talk about this forever, but I want to give you major props for coming to this realization.

    Sawyer Paull-Baird BS CSCS ACSM-EP PN-Lvl1
    Agent of Change / Fitness Innovation & Education Coordinator
  • Tricia NaultTricia Nault Member, AFS Staff Rank ✭7✭

    I often blow off taking responsibility for slacking on my workouts or for eating foods I shouldn't. But I actually think I'm torn between wanting to take responsibility for my shortcomings, but at the same time trying not to load on the guilt. I've always laid the guilt on myself when I've screwed up in my wellness-plan, but I guess I need to think through if there is taking responsibility without piling on guilt?

    I do like what @Heidi Morris said about ownership. I think ownership has less of a negative connotation than responsibility. To me the word responsibility brings up more feelings of being bad, doing something bad, and then that leads to guilt.

    Anybody else have thoughts on this?

  • Sawyer Paull-BairdSawyer Paull-Baird Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin

    It's been great reading the response this week.

    I think ownership in the context we're framing it here is close enough to responsibility that it serves the same mental purpose I think. The one distinction is just thinking of responsibility as your ability to choose how you respond to any situation, even one that is not directly under your control. Ownership, to me at least, doesn't necessarily have the same sense of response-ability., and speaks more to just taking control over a situation. Certainly you could adjust your own mental picture of ownership to include this though, and if the word comes with less baggage, then I can see it being more helpful.

    Good stuff all around here!

    Sawyer Paull-Baird BS CSCS ACSM-EP PN-Lvl1
    Agent of Change / Fitness Innovation & Education Coordinator
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