Road to 26.2
Friday, January 3rd- 6 weeks, 1 day, 21 hours until my first marathon
New year, new you? This is the message we’re all seeing on TV, in our social media feeds, and from friends and family at this time of year. Everyone is rabid to change something massive about themselves and jumps in this hyper energy into New Year Resolutions. What if we don’t need a massive change? What if we don’t need a new year or a resolution?
The problem with resolutions is that they’re generally unrealistic, sometimes unnecessary, and we end up not sustaining them over the long term. Does that mean that I am not an advocate for change? No ma’am. Growth is part of all life, as is changing and moving. Setting intentions and goals, and working towards those in a sustainable way to impact real change is going to be more beneficial.
Let’s take a common goal this time of year, “I want to lose weight.” Instead of looking at the negative side, I need to be skinnier for a swim suit, This number is too high, etc… look at the positive feeling associated with what you will gain. For example, if losing weight means you can easily chase after your son in the park, it means you will gain quality time with your son. Your goal is then to provide more quality mom-son time, and losing weight is one part of that. Maybe adjusting a work schedule or nightly habits is also part of it. Get down to the real reason for the change you want to make. What will change in your life because of this change? How will your life feel differently with the change? When you achieve your goal, how will your life be different? When we are clear on the intention behind the goal, it is so much more empowering and impactful.
A strategy we sometimes take when we are tackling a big goal, especially at the onset of a new year, is that we jump in with both feet and wear ourselves out before we have had the chance to really get started. A few years ago, I wanted to get stronger so I decided I was going to work out 6 days a week and really get this thing going. Well, I made it for two days, and was so sore I couldn’t do the workout on day 3. I skipped the rest of the week because I didn’t want to get off track. I started the next week doing the same thing. By week 3, I stopped trying.
Sound familiar? Of course! We are so excited about this new thing we are doing that we do too much of it! It’s like when I got my first CD player in 6th grade. I received one CD with it and had to wait to earn more money to buy another one, so I listened to that CD over and over and over. The CD was Meatloaf, not a great one to begin with, but I still cannot even hear any of his stupid songs without cringing. I wore myself out on Meatloaf. Just like I wore myself out on too much, too soon at the gym a few years ago.
Forming the habit of this new change you’re making is more important than the content of what you’re doing. If you’re wanting to become active again after a hiatus, let’s say you have decided to commit to three days a week of walking. Maybe it’s 10 minutes of walking and that’s all you can do. Maybe it is 30 minutes some days, and 45 minutes some days, and still 10 minutes some days. The important thing is to keep going and form the habit of three days a week. The speed and distance aren’t important, the habit is. All of that will come, don’t worry, just keep showing up consistently.
When I started really getting into the idea of running a marathon, I had already ran two halfs in the past year and knew I needed a good plan. My plan has four days of running and two days of cross training, for 20 weeks. During my first week, my long run was 5 miles. Next week, my long run will be 18 miles. It is not the long runs each week that make it possible to continue to run longer distances, it is the consistent miles under your feet with each run and the strength gained with every cross training workout. The change in distance is cumulative, not overnight.
Authentic goals that you show up for on a consistent basis will lead you to the change you’re looking for in your life. Two resources that I recommend with a road map of starting off this new decade, are Dave Hollis and Mel Robbins. They both have great ideas with specific plans to help with finding the why behind the goal, how to set a plan, and how to keep going with your plan when it gets hard.
This year, this decade, I hope for positive goals and beautiful change for you. Hope is not a strategy for change though, sis. That shit takes work, and today is as good as any. Don’t just pick any old goal because you saw someone on Instagram; this is your life, choose wisely, start small, work hard, you’re worth it.