It’s the time of year when we make all those promises to ourselves and within days, weeks or if we’re lucky a month or two everything falls apart. We all get caught up in new year; we’ve probably eaten and drunk a bit more than usual over Christmas. It naturally marks a new start and makes us reflect on the previous year and generally we tend to pick out the things we didn’t do so well rather than the things we did.
And then we come up with a whole list of things we want to change. We’re going to eat more healthily, get fit and stop spending all our time on social media. Of course there is nothing wrong with any of this but we set the bar too high and fail very quickly. Then we’re either hard on ourselves or make excuses for why we didn’t succeed.
Great swathing overnight change is almost never going to work so it is easy to be cynical around new year. However, there is no harm in using this time to be a springboard to incremental change that will help us achieve our main goals. To do this we have to hone in on what it is we really want and then pick out one or two things that will actually help get us there.
This is certainly true in running. If you’ve never run before it’s not realistic to start doing six days a week. Try one day a week and see how it goes. If it’s for you, sign up to a couch to 5k program in the spring. Maybe you’re a marathon runner and you want to get your time down. Instead of trying to go on a diet and ‘train harder’ and run more races why not just do one thing like add a strength session to your weekly routine.
If you’re already a runner but want to tackle your first half or full marathon then it may be easier than you think. You don’t have to be running six days a week and first timers can get round with a three day a week program. If you’re only running two or three days a week then this is an ideal way to ease you into achieving something new.
So I’m going to be positive about new year and invite you to think about things differently:
- Choose one thing to change/add/improve that will help with your overall goal. Remember that the initial enthusiasm of new year will wear off quickly so it needs to be something manageable that you know you can commit to doing. Most importantly, it needs to be something that matters a lot to you. If it doesn’t then ditch it.
- When reflecting on last year pick out one thing that went well and try to keep doing it. This is just as important as changing things in our lives, if not more so, because if we’ve already done something well we know what worked for us and can repeat it.
- Don’t be hard on yourself. It’s ok to focus on one or two things and let some things go or put them on the backburner. There may be more that we want to do but there is only a finite amount of time and effort we can give.
Finally, writing these articles is one of the small things I’m adding this year. They will be based on things that have helped improve my running. If there is anything I can help you with please let me know. Have a great new year!