Accountability & Community (BOS)

People often ask me, what is November Project all about. Is it running group? Is it a boot camp? Is it…a cult? The answer to all of those is mostly no, not exactly. But what it IS really, is probably better described by what NP offers you. And the answer isn’t just about stairs, hills, and burpees. November Project has this unique and significant way of offering accountability and community. And that might just be what most everyone is looking for.

Think about what most often gets in the way of working out. What is most often missing from the scenario that you need to feel motivated to get your body moving? And what really helps you feel even a little hyped to get up and go? What would make it more fun? More motivating? More exciting? More worth it to get past all the internal voices telling you to stay in your warm bed and make false promises about everything you’ll do tomorrow, if you just don’t do it today.

What if you weren’t going to be alone? What if you knew that someone else would be there to do the workout/run/movement… with you? Would it be just a little more exciting? Would it somehow feel easier to commit to doing it because you don’t have to make it happen all by yourself? You bet your ass it would. Since the beginning of time, the hard stuff is easier to do when we do it together.

That was the beginning of accountability at November Project. The motivation to be responsible for showing up came because two friends both committed to “just show up” because the other one would. And then if they didn’t, they’d lovingly and jokingly call each other out. Just enough that it reminded them that showing up really does matter. That we actually, truly miss you when you’re not there, and we’re the first ones to tell you, “I’m glad you’re here” when you do show up. The whole point of accountability is that it matters when you show up–and we want to keep reinforcing that accomplishment when you do. AND that it matters when you don’t show up–so we want to reinforce showing by letting you know that we notice when you’re not there.

Here’s the interesting part of November Project and how it’s evolved over the years. Back when everyone literally knew everyone because the group was small, it was easy to look around and know who’s missing. It was also a regular thing that people would #verbal– give a verbal commitment to show up to the workout. THIS precise thing gave everyone the option, the possibility of holding each other accountable–of actually saying, “hey, you told me you’d show up with me and you didn’t. Are you okay? And what do you need to make showing up next workout the thing you do?”

But November Project is bigger than that sweet small group of friends of 8 years ago. And so within the larger group, November Project offers each of us community. Sure, there’s the bigger NP_Boston community, but none of us (not a single one of us, even us co-leaders) knows e v e r y o n e in the group. But what happens when November Project becomes kinda magical for you is you find, within that bigger group, your community. Your people. The humans who seem to see you, feel you, and get you–even when it’s only because they too get up for those cold, dark 5:30am workouts and you share the camaraderie of climbing stairs every single week, you’re connected. And sometimes you also get to know them more, learn their stories, even connect or hang out outside of workouts. But even when you don’t, if you let November Project become a part of your life, you also get this community who gives a shit when you’re there and notices when you’re not. They tell you, “good job” and you believe it. They encourage you and you try harder. They struggle and you help pick them up. You tell them, “I’m glad you’re here” and they believe it. And we become accountable to each other, even though we’re a giant group.

November Project gives you accountability and community. And I dare you to go talk to anyone in the world who cares about their own fitness and movement. Somewhere in their story of fitness–what’s worked and what hasn’t worked– are accountability and community. Even the most individual athlete benefits from (and sometimes wants) connection with others during workouts. And most people end up seeking out sports/fitness/movement as adults because we want community.

Community that gives you the experience of sharing the burden when the things feel hard, and amplifying the celebration when the things are good. It just makes life better.

And accountability is the desire we all have to have others help “make me do it.” Because it’s mentally exhausting to have to decide to do the workout, AND decide what the workout is going to be, AND to start the workout, AND to work hard during the workout, AND to finish it, as planned. But if even a single other person says, “you can do it.” Or offers to do it with you, or sticks with you all the way through the end, or simply keeps an eye out to let you know that your efforts still matter, then it’s sooo much easier to follow through on the responsibility we set for ourselves. And if our community is the right kind of community, when you don’t follow through on any part of your commitment and responsibility to your fitness, then the community holds you accountable to being your best self. Which sometimes means offering a friendly and figurative “kick in the pants” to make sure you’re re-motivated to show up next time. (Remember, if you’re sleeping, someone is still there at NP. Don’t leave them alone out there!) BUT other times means they validate your choice to rest/heal when you’re sick/injured. And sometimes it means reminding you of what you’re capable of (which helps you step up and see what you can do), while other times it means reminding you of your humanity (which helps you step back and see that you’re enough and don’t need to be perfect/do everything). Accountability is more than some absolute rule–it actually matters what we’re being accountable to.

As a whole, November Project is accountable to always, always showing up. We will always be #weatherproof, and we will always choose to show up with positivity and inclusivity. As individuals, you get to show up to November Project if you want to be in this “not-like-every-other-gym/boot camp/fitness class” kind of place–where you can get all the accountability you need, and all the community you want.


This is the last week to order BUFFS–please order yours using THIS ORDER FORM.

MONDAY WORKOUT 11/25 at 6:29am will be in the Fenway area, near the Landmark Center–use THIS MAP to find the exact location.

FRIDAY AFTER THANKSGIVING WORKOUT 11/29 at 6:29am on Summit Ave will definitely happen. Come celebrate your Thursday feast by running hills with friends.

THE NEXT WOahMAN of the Winter WOahMAN series will be the 2nd friday of December. That’s Friday, Dec 13th. Starting at 5am. #justshowup it’s #goodluck

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