A few weeks ago, Aby and I were talking about the beauty of being part of simplify 101’s online workshops, and it hit us both how much this is like running. You probably know that Aby is a runner. And if you’re around my husband for any amount of time, he’ll find a way to proudly tell you that I’m a runner, too. For me, it’s a harder to say that, and I’ll be honest with you – it makes me feel a little tingly! See, up until 15 months ago, I absolutely, positively hated running. I hated it my whole life!
But, I kept getting these little nudges to try it…
- I wasn’t content with my fitness level or weight, even though I already exercised regularly.
- I was fairly bored with the exercise I was doing, so I was looking for something different.
- Every time I talked to someone who looked fit and healthy, it turned out they were runners.
- I had numerous friends who had great experiences with the Couch to 5k program.
- Finally, I watched this video. And then, I laced up my shoes.
One thing Couch to 5k really encourages is not just to be able to run the 5k distance, but to actually sign up to run a race. I found a nearby 5k race that coincided with my training schedule, took a deep breath, and registered. Because I was NOT a runner, to say I had doubts about running 3.1 miles is an understatement.
That first day, I will tell you it was incredibly difficult to run a full minute. But I did it, and you know what? It felt really good. By the next week, I was ready to take it to the next level. And on and on I went, achieving the mini-goals that led me to the pinnacle – running for a full 3.1 miles.
When race day rolled around, the truth is that I’d already run that distance a couple times already. So, why would I pay money to get up really stinking early, drive 45 minutes away, brave the cold weather, and run that Jingle Bell run with a whole crowd of people? Why wouldn’t I just hop on the treadmill in the privacy of my climate-controlled basement and run a 5k at my convenience? Surely it wasn’t the 6-sizes-too-big T-shirt I received?
I think it was this:
- Signing up for that race put a date on my calendar. There was a real target to work toward, and that got me out of bed plenty of early mornings.
- I was being held accountable. I had a friend who’d signed up with me, not to mention all the people I’d told about this goal.
- Achieving a goal with a whole group of people is simply indescribable. For one thing, I discovered that running with other people brings out my best effort. And for another, runners cheer each other on. If I start to struggle, it’s likely someone is going to run up from behind and remind me that I can do it. Once I get my second wind, I offer encouragement to others, or cheer the ones who zoom past me at a pace I can’t comprehend.
- Having a professional measure the distance and time made it official. (I even got a medal to prove it!)
I think all these same points hold true for our workshops as well. We find the people in our workshops are ready to make changes they haven’t been able to make by going it alone. Often times, they aren’t sure they can really do it. But then, they take those first steps and find themselves gaining confidence and motivation. Like the experience of a formal race, our participants find a whole community of people sharing the same goal, offering each other encouragement along the way. And through it all, there’s the support, advice and encouragement of an expert.
Today, even with another 5k, a 5-miler, and two half-marathons under my belt, I’ve been feeling my motivation wane. So, I found out what my running friends are up to, and I’m planning my next couple races. I need those targets on the calendar and the friends to keep me running towards that finish line!
Happy New Year,
P.S. Could you use a little help in achieving your goals? Are you hoping to make 2012 the year you get and stay organized? Take a look to see if one of our upcoming workshops is just the thing you need!
P.S.S. What are your goals and resolutions for 2012? We’d love to hear them!