The hardest part is getting started. Getting out the door. Saying, "I'm never going to stick with this but screw it, I'm going to try anyways."
It's easy to make running or getting active seem as simple as:
- Find and register for a race.
- Train for said race.
- Cross the finish line.
It's not that easy. Just figuring out how to get started and then stay motivated is the hardest part. It's difficult, that just knowing that quitting is inevitable stops a hell of a lot of people from getting to step 1.
Look, I know how intimidating and overwhelming getting active can be for those of us who didn't play sports growing up or who actively avoided being active. It's the story of my life. I still to this day find it hard to believe that I enjoy running because I literally spent the vast majority of my life president of the "I f*cking hate running club".
After decades dreading anything physically active, I had grown to accept the fact that I would never enjoy being active. That working out was the thing I would suffer through for the rest of my life only so that I could try to lose weight.
Turns out, that's not the case. Learning to enjoy being active or running isn't impossible. It's just really, really hard.
There have been two times in my life where I was so overwhelmed with what I was trying to do that I actually didn't know how to take the first few steps.
1. When I was adopting a healthy lifestyle change to lose weight.
and 2. When I started running.
Both felt so impossible that I would try, fail, and quit multiple times. With my weight loss, it took 6 months of trying for a week and then quitting when I felt like I was a lost cause before I totally committed. The hardest part was convincing myself that the hard work was worth it.
And with running, there's a reason I ran both my first half marathon and marathon incredibly undertrained. It's because I'd get a month in and feel devastated when it wouldn't get easier, and stop running for a few days or weeks. I'd go out for a 6 mile run and end up crying on a street corner a mile or two from home overwhelmed and frustrated. I'd spend the long walk home convincing myself that running just wasn't for me.
(I'm embarrassed to admit this but just two weeks ago, I had a melt down and had to walk the final mile home sobbing. I was so frustrated that I was struggling so much that I was ready to call off training for my BQ attempt during this year's London Marathon.)
The point is, sometimes just getting started or getting started again can stop you from even trying.
If you're having a hard time getting motivated or finding the strength to fight through those first few really tough weeks, use a daily goal. Everything clicked for me when I stopped focusing on my end goal. Whenever I'd compare where I was at to where I wanted to be, I'd feel defeated and overwhelmed. I felt like I'd never get to the finish line so I started focusing on what I could achieve each individual day. Whenever I want to cut a run or workout short and do more the next day, I tell myself to do what I can today. So what if I'm tired, I can't control tomorrow. I can only control today.
So don't lose sleep over what you think you are and aren't capable of accomplishing. Set a huge goal that feels impossible, develop a plan to work towards it, and then take it one day at a time.
This year, Oiselle and the bad ass force of woman known as Stephanie Bruce are helping you kick ass and take names with #WheelsUp17. They're breaking the year into monthly challenges and February's challenge is #WinWithOne, where you vow to make one change that you will implement every single day for the month of February. It resonated pretty deeply with me because my hardest challenge has always been finding the courage to take the first step and then stick with it.
So this month, my goal is to find the fun in my workouts every single day. AND, this isn't a daily commitment but a weekly one, I am going to go to at least 3 barre classes a week. I avoid them because I feel embarrassed by how weak I am in class. I feel like every other word that comes out of the instructor's mouths is "Don't give up Kelly" or "You're doing it wrong Kelly" because I'm either struggling to complete what we're supposed to be doing or I'm doing it incorrectly. BUT, I know I won't get stronger and prevent injuries if I let my embarrassment get the best of me. EVERYONE has to start somewhere and despite the fact that I'm the only new person in class who gets called out every 5 seconds, it's because the instructor wants me to succeed. So I vow to go. And I vow to have fun doing it damnit.
Remember, January is over. We're now an entire month into 2017. Don't let the year slip away because you couldn't find the motivation to take the first few steps. Use this month to develop new habits.
How do you plan to #WinWithOne? Maybe it's to do at least one 60 second plank a day for all of February (I'll join you on that one). Or maybe you'll throw in a run streak and run or walk at least 1 mile a day for every single day in February. Let @Oiselle and I know by putting your vow to #WinWithOne on Twitter or Instagram!
This sh*t is hard. You're not alone. We're all struggling together to make tomorrow a lot stronger.