How Saying “Yes” One Time This Year Could Change Your Life

Cathy Goodwin
5 min readMar 24, 2020
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

For the first part of my life, I was a couch potato and a wuss. Then I said “yes” to an invitation that took me way beyond my comfort zone and my whole life changed.

Being A Wuss Was Really Comfortable

As a child, I walked a lot, mainly because my family didn’t own a car. But it never occurred to me to play on a sports team. In fact, I spent grade school recess hiding from dodge ball.

In high school, I found dozens of reasons to skip gym class. We were learning the rudiments of basketball; since I would run every time the ball came my way, I had little to contribute to the team effort.

Choosing teams? I wasn’t chosen last. I wasn’t chosen, period. I never left the sidelines.

Years later, at a reunion, a female classmate told me she’d played intramural volleyball. I had no idea we even had intramurals, let alone volleyball.

Somewhere along the way, I picked up the idea that I was doomed to fail in all things physical. I took for granted that I couldn’t hit a softball. “Uncoordinated” was part of my identity.

“There’s no way I’m gonna be able to do this.”

As an adult, I was thrilled to be free from the required Physical Education classes. I walked a lot and did some yoga on my own. We didn’t have videos: we had “how-to” books. Try propping up a book while attempting a tree pose. My posture improved but my attitude didn’t.

One day I was visiting a friend in New York City. We were supposed to meet for brunch. But when we met, she wanted to work out before brunch and she insisted I come along. She even brought a plastic bag with an extra leotard and tights — “just washed,” she assured me, as if that were the biggest obstacle on my mind.

The class was a combination of yoga and ballet. We didn’t use any equipment. We didn’t sweat. We just moved in a well-choreographed pattern. I couldn’t follow. I was lost. I wasn’t sure I had muscles, let alone how to isolate them.

Years later, a gym owner would point to the entrance and tell me, “The toughest part of your workout is opening that door.”

Cathy Goodwin

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