Just do it

I just found an old notebook upstairs, while looking for something. There was an entry dated February 2012, and it said something like “there’s no way I can go out running in the snow.”

Well, in January last year I did just that – I ran parkrun, 5k, on freshly fallen snow, and it was great. So that’s that excuse blown out of the water.

Because that’s what it was – an excuse. And I’m realising more and more that the excuses I come up with are  not reasons for not being able to do things, they’re the excuses I make when I don’t want to or I can’t be bothered.

Every excuse I can think of has now been shattered. Too wet? Too cold? Too tired? Too dark? No, I can think of occasions recently when I’ve run despite all those, and enjoyed myself. Not enough time? Nope, that one’s no good either. Not fast enough? Nope.

I’ve got to the point now when I love being active, and I feel like something is missing if one day I don’t exercise, but if I go beyond that one day it’s tough to get going again. I know, though, that any excuse I can come up with can be countermanded with a concrete example, either from my recent past or from people I know, and I can recognise it as a whining excuse and force myself over it.

This brings me to the new mindset I’m trying to cultivate.

When my children were young, I took them along on a playschool outing, to an indoor playground. A couple of weeks later, eldest son and I both started feeling ill, and the next morning we were covered in spots. In fact, half the playschool children did the same, thanks to the young child running around the indoor playground with chicken pox.

Now I had it pretty bad, and it took a while for the spots to heal up. Every day I would examine them and convince myself that I was doing so much better than the day before. Until the day when I started to shift my viewpoint and instead of thinking how much better I was than I had been, I started comparing myself to what I should be.

That’s what I call the chickenpox paradigm shift, that shift from comparing something with how bad it could be to comparing it with how good it could be.

That’s what I’m starting to do with my running – I’ve had enough congratulating myself with getting out there and doing something. Now it’s time to start really pushing myself and seeing what I should be able to do. It means getting over this mindset of how much better I am than I was, and getting used to the mindset of how much better I can do than I am already.

No more excuses.


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