Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year’s Resolutions

I like, many people, have had resolutions regarding weight loss over the years. Often, I’ve done pretty well, and even hit those goals for the scale. But once the goal was reached, the slow decline began, and I would find myself back in the same boat all over again.

So for 2013, I changed my mindset. I committed to no longer focusing on my wellness as a number on the scale. After all, the scale doesn't tell the whole story. Don’t we all know thin people that get winded walking up a couple flights of stairs? I didn't really want to be thin; I wanted to be fit.

Forbes has a great article on the 5 Ways to Make Your New Year’s Resolution Stick, and I think these same components were key for me in 2013.

Choose one not many
I began with a simple goal for 2013, log 350 miles of running by the end of the year. This goal was also a pure fitness goal for me, as that kind of consistent running would translate into making me more fit, even if not significantly more thin.

Set action commitments
I also figured that I realistically could average about seven miles per week or one mile per day. This also made for easy tracking. Either I ran seven miles that week or not (or 28 – 31 miles for the month). This became a very actionable goal for me; two to three runs per week would give me the miles needed.

Put your goal in writing and Tell a friend
I made my goal public, posting it on dailymile.com and telling several friends and co-workers. The logging of my runs on dailymile.com and other social media sites helped to hold me accountable. And the positive reinforcement of friends helped keep me motivated.

Reward yourself
This is one step that I did not focus on. What would be my reward? The warm fuzzy feeling of accomplishment? The feeling of good health? Food? More on that later.

In the early going, some weeks/months were tougher than others. Life sometimes gets in the way of our best laid plans, but we must find ways to overcome those obstacles. I missed just one monthly milestone, completing just 27 miles in February, falling one measly mile short. I resolved to not allow that to happen again.

As the weeks and months progressed, I began to really notice the mental/emotional therapeutic benefits of running. High stress days were better after a run. Upcoming ‘big days’ were less stressful and that much easier to deal with. High workloads and big deadlines were more easily managed. I began to refer to this as ‘run therapy’ and tagged many of my social media running posts with #RunTherapy.

The running bug began to hit after that. Beginning in July, my weekly run totals moved from 6 – 10 miles to 15 – 20 miles. The feeling from my RunTherapy slowly became my reward. The activity itself became the prize. Even a ‘bad run’ produced the RunTherapy benefit that I had come to enjoy.

So, how did I do on that 350 mile goal? I hit 350 miles in August, followed by 600 in November. And while not focused on weight or diet, my running helped me to drop about 15 pounds over the course of the year as well. But I am personally much more proud of my first double digit run (10.12 miles) than anything to do with the scale.

As 2013 comes to a close, I have logged 706 miles. I am signed up for my first half marathon, the Groundhog’s Day Half scheduled for February 2, 2014. And while my ‘shape’ isn't perfect, I am the most fit I have ever been.

In 2014, I will first be focused on the half marathon. After that, I will continue to reap the benefits of consistent RunTherapy, as I pursue another 700 mile year. Other goals will come, as I feel they will produce the desired fitness (emotional, mental, and/or physical) result.

So in 2014, set one goal and make it happen, whether fitness, financial, personal, or work related. And if you want my advice on something that can change your life, Go Run! And experience what RunTherapy can do for you!