The post on Run Richmond Monday has been shared and read by more people than most other Run Richmond post. I think that proves my point on two topics. First, Run Richmond, and the running community in general is a community of people that really support each other. The headline for that post was announcing that success at the Renfro Rock N’ Run. People wanted to share in the success of those that had it. That is a great thing. After getting into the post I talked a little bit about what winning looks like. About how you should be judging yourself and your success. That is the part of the article that had people contact me. That is what I believe prompted people to share the article with others.
I think we may need to dig a little deeper into that mindset. As people that want to get healthier, we are extremely hard on ourselves. Nobody looks at you and sees the weight you want to lose as much as you do. Nobody looks at your 5K time and thinks about all the people that did it faster like you do. We are almost always our own worst critic. We see failures clearly, but we struggle to find successes. For the most part, I think that is a natural thing. If we don’t analyze our current situation critically we will never see a need for change. If we are one of those rare (and hard to be around) people that believe we have it all figured out and are better at most things than most other people, we would struggle to find a reason to better ourselves. If you are already better than everyone else (in your mind) then why work harder?
The problem is that if we aren’t careful we let the personal criticism go too far. Our brains are on all day every day. They may start out thinking I need to lose 10 lbs, or even 100 lbs, maybe I should eat better and exercise. Then all of a sudden, thoughts of the last time and how it only lasted 1 week and then back to normal. Now you are thinking is it really worth it to just fail again. Our ability to prevent a positive change in our own lives is amazing. It can be as simple as seeing someone accomplish something easier than you. It can be one bad week to derail our motivation. There are thousands of reasons that we struggle to stay motivated to make positive changes.
The key (in my opinion) is to realize that healthy living is a journey. The most amazing way to get from LA to NY is to drive across the country and experience the people and the places. Sure you can hop on a plane and get there a whole lot quicker, but will that trip across the country be as impactful to the person on the plane as it will be to the person in the car. Rarely is the quick fix the best way. If we could blink and lose 50 lbs then there would be no reason to live healthy. We could just live like we want and when things got out of hand just blink and we get a reset. That sounds great, but the goal is supposed to be living a healthy life not having a healthy body.
The effort and energy put into making positive changes are what helps you remember you never want to go back. The things that you do that are hard are what change you. I am extremely proud of the 5:30am morning runs that I have done while training. I don’t like getting up at 5:30 to run. I do it because sometimes that is what is necessary to meet my goals. I count each one of those morning runs as wins. That is me doing something I don’t want to do to make myself better. That is a win.
Figuring out that wins are not the same for everyone is an important part of being happy with yourself. My wins are early workouts, sub 2 hour 1/2 marathons and people joining me on runs. Those things fuel my energy, determination and keep my perspective. Your wins could be completely different. Only you know what motivates you. Just remember that 5K records aren’t the only wins you can have. Let the experiencing the journey be your goal. Realize that over time you will become a better version of yourself. Sometimes it will be slow, sometimes it may be quicker. Eventually, you will see tangible results. Don’t sit back looking for the end of the process. Push forward and find wins in the journey.