A couple weeks ago I went running.
I know what you’re thinking. “Wait a second. Misty runs?”
And the answer is NO. No, actually, I don’t run. I prefer to do things like stretching and Pilates because it can be done indoors (and away from mosquitos!).
But this week I went running. I had an upcoming trip for Dance Revolution, a convention where I’m on faculty and will need to participate in group choreography. Learning choreography doesn’t come naturally to me so I wanted to make sure my fitness level was up to par for the upcoming rehearsals. I decided to ramp up my fitness ahead of time by adding some running as cardio to complement to my normal yoga and Pilates routine.
With my 13-year-old son Sam as my coach, I set out to run a mile. Even though he was cheering me on, “Mom! Keep going! You can do it!” I had to stop and walk at the three-quarter mark.
I felt like I let both my son and myself down. The thought that kept rolling through my mind was, “Why on earth can’t I run one mile? Fourth graders run a mile!”
I chewed on my disappointment for three whole days before deciding that I was going to do it again. The next day I put on my fancy workout clothes – you know, the ones with the mesh cutouts on the pant legs to make you look more aerodynamic? My theory was that if you aren’t actually fast, you might as well try to LOOK fast.
So I started running again and I was feeling pretty good. I even congratulated myself on how much BETTER I was this time. Surely I must’ve just had an OFF day earlier in the week. I reasoned with myself that perhaps I was a runner after all.
But three-quarters of the way in I didn’t feel fast anymore. I felt downright slow, trying to catch my breath. Negative thoughts started creeping in: “What was I thinking? I’m not a runner! Why does my stomach look this when I run? Why are my pants sliding down? Why won’t my legs move faster?” I was ready to stop.
Then I realized I was at almost the exact spot I had stopped earlier in the week and I thought, “No. Way. I’m not stopping again.” In that moment, I made the snap decision to change my perspective and finish the stupid mile. I focused on the beauty of bluffs around me, the sun shining, and the breeze. My dogs, who were playing on the trail at a distance, could not have cared less about my slow pace or body-consciousness.
For the rest of the mile, I talked myself through all the good things I saw instead of the discouraging things I felt.
And you know what? I finished! I did it! I’m sure to some of you this would have been no obstacle at all, but to me it was HUGE. I felt awesome and I’m not going to lie … I broke that imaginary finish line like it was the Olympics, hands up and all!
It felt awesome because for me, it was REALLY HARD. I’ve never been a cardio gal. If you need someone for you business team or stretching team, I’m the one. I’ve avoided cardio activities my whole life, but it’s what I need to do to move my fitness forward. So, I’m doing it even though I’m not great at it. #UglyRunningInFancyPants
I believe we all have a version of this “one mile obstacle,” something that’s new and difficult … and maybe requires a decision to change your mindset.
Maybe for you it’s the exact same thing it was for me; maybe it’s a physical challenge. Or perhaps for you it’s a difficult conversation you need to have with an employee, or the budget meeting that needs to happen with your accountant.
So I ask you this: what is the boulder blocking your path that you need to move away?
What is the “one mile obstacle” for you RIGHT NOW, this week?
I ran with my son Sam again not long after my triumphant solo run and guess what? I actually ran OVER a mile, with him cheering me on! I still have no form and I’m getting through it on sheer will, but I’m choosing progress over perfection.
Whatever your challenge is, my advice is to stop telling yourself you can’t to do it. Stop slowing yourself down with the negative self-talk. Instead, change your perspective. See the good in making it happen. Think about how motivated you’ll feel once this obstacle has been conquered! And go ahead and throw your hands up like Rocky at the finish line when you do it!