Going the Extra Mile in 2021
I'm running everyday in 2021!!!
There... I’ve said it so I’ll have to do it!!! When change is involved I tend to work best when there is maximum accountability so the more people I say this to the more I will be motivated on those days when I know I will want to pull the duvet back over my head!! So what has motivated me to run a mile a day and why do I think there are some useful takeaways here? This is all about behaviour change – a topic that we’re all grappling with during the current pandemic.
Last year I set myself the challenge of running an ultra marathon which unfortunately I just couldn’t complete as COVID scuppered my training plans. This year I have decided to be more gentle with myself – definitely a theme for this year and probably it’s been a long time coming – more on that another time!! The challenge of running at least mile a day really feels doable but also a big fat challenge as I know there’ll be days when I really don’t want to go out!
My original inspiration for the ultra came from reading the fantastic book The Rise of the Ultra Runners by Adharanand Finn. Finn explores the psychology of running ridiculously long races and the fascinating ride that the mind goes through. What struck me is that very often, despite having gone through pain like us mere mortals can’t begin to imagine and fighting the demons in their heads, the athletes will feel a huge sense of anti-climax when passing the finishing line!! So the way they battle this is by staying in the present all the way through, some don’t take watches & take no notice of mile markers so they are purely living in – and savouring the moment. Something to maybe think about as we face the challenges of a pandemic? As for me running an ultra… it is still very much on my agenda but I’m going to put it in the diary for 2022… a fitting way to celebrate being 50 I feel… run 50km!!
Mile a day minimum
Running every day was sparked by listening to my favourite podcast Slo Mo with the utterly brilliant Mo Gawdat. His guest was Joe de Sena the extreme sports and endurance nut! His mission is to get 100 million people off the coach by creating what he calls a ‘spartan lifestyle’. One golden nugget from that podcast stuck with me… if you can’t give me 1 mile a day everyday you don’t deserve a healthy body. Wow….
With the year idea still not fully formed I began to run daily with Red Together in January. This is a community that initially started to inspire, support and share ways to get active for mental health. January seemed like the perfect month for such an initiative, providing an opportunity to kick-start the year in a positive way. REDs aim is to ‘get active every day, to beat the blues away’ which I really resonated with.
A few days in I planned to continue to run throughout the whole of lockdown and quickly after that I went public with my intention to run every day for the whole year!!! The minimum distance I have set for myself is 1 mile so even if I’m feeling rough it should still be achievable. Nearer the end of the year I will be looking to raise sponsorship money in aid of Sport in Mind a charity that lends a helping hand to people experiencing mental health problems in the South East and Dorset. If you’d like to help keep me motivated by donating a couple of quid, please do so here >
I am absolutely loving the benefits of building this daily practice, I feel stronger both physically & mentally & love the lack of decisions I now make around running!! No more am I or aren’t I…. I just AM!!!
How to change behaviour – the basics
Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits. How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits. How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits. How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits. What you repeatedly do (i.e. what you spend time thinking about and doing each day) ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray. Everything from procrastination and productivity to strength and nutrition – starts with better habits. When you learn to transform your habits, you can transform your life. James Clear writes brilliantly about habit formation, read more here >
Three of the most useful techniques for changing behaviour are goal setting, action planning and self-monitoring. Both outcome and process goals are vital for behaviour change. One is unlikely to work without the other. Clear, measurable outcome goals or targets can really help clarify what you want to achieve, and process goals are essential to know the action steps required to achieve this. Goals should be specific, realistic, broken down into small manageable steps and goals should be important.
Setting specific action plans increases the likelihood of intentions (i.e. the goals that have been set) turning to behaviour (i.e. the desired actions to reach the goal). In other words, if you plan it, you are more likely to do it!
Self-monitoring helps to give a sense of achievement as you “tick” off progress. It gives an incentive to persist with behaviour change (as they want to be able to tick off their progress – seeing your behaviour written down can be a powerful thing). It also provides an account to help you review progress.
Read more about habits and how to make behaviour stick here >
The key to successful behaviour change is repetition so that’s it… I’m off for a run!!
If you would like to chat through how coaching could help you go the extra mile to achieve the changes you are after please book a FREE 30-min discovery call or email me if you have further questions.
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AUTHOR: ANNIE LEE
Annie is a coach, coach supervisor & coach adventurer! Warmth, depth & joy sum her approach up in a nutshell!