It’s a New Year, the year that YOU are going to do it, and do it BIG! You’re never gonna miss a day of running, stretching, eating your veggies or getting 8-10 hours of sleep…You’re going to run your first 5k, qualify for the State Meet, break 3- hours in the Marathon, become All-American or heck, a World Champion! Whatever it is you’ve always dreamed of doing. Anything is possible.
These are the thoughts that millions of runners around the World are thinking on this day, the first of the year, a fresh slate. But what separates those who stick to their New Year’s resolutions, and those who never seem to follow through? If you’re worried you’ll end up as the latter, or you’ve already “failed” to keep your resolution, don’t lose hope yet. All you need is a little resolution revolution.
To become a better runner, or live a healthier life in general, there is always something to improve. A stronger core, better form, more rest, a healthier diet, more confidence in races…the list could go on forever.
Step 1: to a successful resolution is choosing ONE aspect of your training you want to improve.
For some of you runner’s out there, choosing only one goal seems impossible. By nature we’re a goal oriented, type-A, breed of perfectionists. But research shows the best way to form new habits is breaking just one bad one at a time. That doesn’t mean ignoring all other aspects of hard training and healthy living, but let’s be real, one goal achieved is better than 10 different failed attempts. So STOP reading right now, grab your pen and paper and jot down several ideas. Then, circle one goal that is both realistic and challenging and will have a strong impact in helping you become the best version of yourself. Research shows it takes about 3-4 weeks to form a new habit, so if you do things right, you can challenge yourself to a new resolution every month of the year instead of just the stereotypical January 1st. But remember, don’t try and change 12 habits at once!
Step 2: Specify
Let’s say you want to focus more on your nutrition this year. So what exactly are you going to do? Is there something you are going to do daily, like take your vitamins or eat more veggies? And what exactly does more mean? If your goal is to loose weight, then how much and by when?
Ask yourself the what, where, when and how and write these details down!
Step 3: Create Accountability
One of the most common reasons people don’t follow through with their New Year’s resolutions is because they have no one (including themselves) holding them accountable. To avoid this you’ll need to create rules of self discipline. Start by setting up reminders such as an alarm on your phone or sticky notes in your home, car or office. Ask yourself what you’ll do if you skip out on your plan. Will you punish yourself with extra push-ups? If you don’t eat those veggies will you skip dessert? Think of ways to keep you from slacking but don’t be too strict to where you lose hope. It’s also important to remember that nobody’s perfect and we all slack off on our resolutions at some point, but instead of sulking and calling yourself a failure use your setbacks as a time to practice positive self-talk. Again, don’t get caught up in the January 1st start date, any day can be the day you decide to make a change, even if its the 100th time you try.
Finally, don’t be afraid to share your resolution with someone else. I know I’ve never been one to share my ultimate goals, but when I think of the times I was too scared to verbalize them, I ended up just as scared on the starting line. Be confident that this is not some far-fetched dream but a reality in the making. Ask your friends, coach, or spouse to hold you accountable for your goals and do the same for them.
So now you’ve got a specific plan with some form of accountability, the last and most important component here is your motivation.
Step 4: Remember Your Motivation
Whether its hitting a time, a certain place or just finishing the race, every runner has goals, visions and dreams racing through their brain. What separates the champions from the rest is their relentless ability to live, breathe and think like a champion 24/7. Long before they crossed the finish line in record breaking time they already lived that very moment inside their own head. Now its your turn. Start right now by imagining yourself achieving your goal. Go ahead, close your eyes right now!…
You WILL do it if you tell yourself you WILL!
Last but not least, remind yourself of the underlying motivation. Why do you run? Why do you love racing? Is there a person or foundation dear to your heart in which you are running for? For me, I’m always motivated when I stay focused on my faith. I believe God created us all with special talents and we can glorify Him by using them to the best of our abilities. I’m continually amazed at how a little faith and determination can get you a long way in this sport.
I know I’ve got a million things I could improve on this year to become the greatest runner in the World, but I also know I just need to focus on one step at a time, and if I do it right, every forward step will help me get there.
Happy New Years!
Feel free to share your New Years Resolution in the comments below!
Since my last two Outdoor track seasons have ended from injury, I resolve to never miss a day of doing the rehab exercises and stretches I need to stay healthy so that I can race (for the first time fully healthy) at the USA Outdoor Championships and qualify for the World Championships! 🙂