I do not run. I don’t like running. About 15 years ago I tried to become a runner because I thought “being a runner” was cool. I worked up to running 6 miles and thought I was going to die the whole time. Where was the “high” I had heard others talking about? After running two 5K races I decided I never wanted to run again. I’d rather walk.
In October 2018, a coaching client told me that she was running a mile every day in 2018 and was on track to run 365 miles in the year. I was so amazed that someone could do that. How do you run every day? How do you stay motivated…and discipline yourself?
This client told me she ran slow, really slow, and that she wasn’t a runner either.
On December 31, 2018, around 8:00 pm after debating for over two months and trying to get several friends to join me (no one did), I made the decision to run a mile every day in 2019.
As of today (the end of April) I’ve only missed one day – the day after having the stomach flu. I had ran an extra half mile previously so the following day I ran an extra half mile and am on track for my 365 miles in 2019.
Here’s what I’m learning…
1. MAKE A DECISION.
This is the key. I decided. No turning back.
Making a decision is where it starts. There is no right or wrong. Be sure you want to commit to your decision.
I decided I would do this for one year, every day, and then I’ll make another decision regarding running after that.
2. DO SOMETHING EVERY DAY.
I didn’t realize how powerful deciding to do something every day was. It makes all the difference.
There is no mind drama.
I never have to negotiate with myself. I have no conversations in my head in the morning about whether or not I feel like running. It’s not an option. EVERY DAY. Period.
Here are some ideas for daily activities you might want to consider:
- Wash a load of clothes every day.
- Go through your mail/paperwork every day.
- Give your spouse a hug every day.
- Take a walk every day.
- Make your bed every day.
Just pick one thing…that you’ll do every day.
3. REDUCE DECISIONS BY PLANNING AHEAD.
Making decisions ahead of time reduces the decisions you make in the moment.
We use our prefrontal cortex to plan ahead of time. When you plan ahead of time what you will do, you have fewer, or no, decisions to make in the moment.
In the moment is when our primitive brain decides things based on how it feels. Usually, in the moment, we’d rather sit, eat junk, sleep, social media surf, etc.
The night before, I plan what time I will run. I set my alarm. Done. I wake up. No decision has to be made in the moment.
Here are a few examples where making decisions ahead of time is helpful:
- Two options for breakfast – eggs or oatmeal. That’s it.
- I will never drop clothes on the floor again. You’ve eliminated any decision about whether or not to hang something up. You just do it. No mind drama. You’ve already made the decision ahead of time.
- Tomorrow at noon I will declutter and organize the pantry for one hour. Done.
4. NOTHING IS WRONG WITH MY BRAIN.
I started running very slow, a 4.0 or 15 minute mile, on my treadmill. That was actually easy for me even though I hadn’t ran in years. After a week or two I moved it a little faster…a 4.1. If I moved it too much my mind told me I was dying. It was too fast. Go back to where I was comfortable.
My mind is fine if it’s comfortable.
I’ve slowly worked up to being comfortable at a 5.0 now (end of April.) When I run at a 5.5 my mind starts to tell me I need to slow down, it’s too fast, I can’t make it.
I’ve been curiously noticing my thoughts during the times when my mind starts to panic.
I talk to my brain to calm it down.
These are some of the things I tell myself:
- “I can do hard things.”
- “It’s okay, Brain. We’ll be fine. Our body is strong. It can do this speed even if it’s hard.”
- “This is normal. You can panic or we can think about _________.”
Sometimes I slow down the treadmill giving in to my brain throwing a tantrum. Other times I run the whole mile at the faster speed.
Soon, a 5.5 will be easy. Imagine that!
When I think about running a 6.0 I can’t imagine it being easy. But, it’s possible, right?
You know the saying, “How you do one thing is how you do everything?” That’s how my brain is.
It’s trying to keep me from being uncomfortable in the moment.
That is its job. It’s really doing its job well.
I’m willing to be uncomfortable.
I wrote about being uncomfortable in order to reach my goals here.
I remember when I started writing a weekly email to my email list.You can sign up here (plus get my eBook free!) Making the decision was big. It was hard and scary and uncomfortable. Now it is easier. It takes less time.
Or, when I put my deposit down for coach training. Whoa. Talk about a brain freaking out!
What about when I first started speaking. Or, January 1st when I ran my first mile and thought, “I only have 364 more to go…how am I going to do this?” Or, the day I didn’t eat a cookie even though my brain was throwing a tantrum…
I’m getting better at watching it with curiosity and realizing my brain is normal.
It’s good at its job.
What about you?
What are you working on? Where is your brain acting normal and you’re a little freaked out about it?
Life coaching helps us become the CEO of our brain.
I teach tools that help you become aware and manage your thoughts. I give my clients the tools that will help them learn how to be uncomfortable, feel emotions and show up as their best selves to reach their goals.
Want to see what it’s like? Sign up for a free call here. It’s FREE! No risk. I’m super nice, too. 🙂