Posted by: thehungryrunner | January 4, 2010

Taking that first step for your resolution: What can you do TODAY? Or this very minute?

I keep another blog, in association with my business — — and wrote an entry there on how to determine if your New Year’s Resolution has any chance of succeeding.  One of those four points focused on the immediacy in which you’re putting that desire into action.  It’s been my experience as a fitness professional that one of the greatest predictors of self-improvement successes among my clients and students is how quickly the person said, “I want to change”….and then began making that change immediately.  As in, that day.  Or MAYBE the next day, but that next day did not have to be Monday.  Or the first of the month.  Or after the weekend.  Or….I think you see where I’m going with this.

The truth is, I don’t know whether the inclination to put off ’til tomorrow that which we could do today is in itself an indicator of a person’s readiness….or if the habit of looking at it that way is what causes our readiness to fizzle.  Either way, the postponement, though it momentarily feels like a mighty relief (“Whew, yes, good, I’ll begin Monday.  Meanwhile, I can go ahead and eat this pizza….”), undermines tremendously the energy of a goal.  “Strike when the iron is hot” has always been my philosophy, and this especially holds true for taking action when the light of desire first registers with you.  It’s almost a mind game:  Before your mind can truly grasp the full impact of the undertaking you’re facing (“Whoa whoa WHOA, hang on there a minute, Cowboy, do you really know what you’re getting us into???”), you’re already jumping into the lake and beginning the task of swimming /wading/ hitching the occasional ride from a kindhearted boater to some distant, beckoning shore.

Whatever the psychological or physiological rationale behind beginning a resolution sooner than later, I now return to the topic of today’s post.  So you’ve made a resolution.  Or maybe not an official one, but you nonetheless can name a goal you’d like to achieve.

I hereby ask you to pause and really ask yourself what you can do TODAY to bring you one step closer to your resolution or goal?  Better yet, what might you be able to do this minute?  If you think the answer is “Nothing, I’m at work,” or “I can’t, I’m not in the position to right now, it will have to wait,” you’re not letting yourself think through this.  With some creativity, there IS *something* you can do right now.  Or at least today.

Since examples are often the best way to stimulate the creative juices, let’s take one example so that you see what I mean.  Let’s say you’re goal is to start a running program.  GREAT!  In that instance, I can see why you might think there isn’t anything you can do right at this minute to advance that goal, especially if you’re in the office or attending to your kids.  But this is where you need to adopt the attitude of working towards this goal like your life depends on it.  With that in mind, here are some ideas of immediate action steps a person could take if they’re working towards the goal of starting a running program:

  • Get up and stretch for 2 minutes.  You will need to stretch to keep your muscles supple, even (and especially) once you begin a running program.  By starting this now, you not only establish the beginning of a good and constructive habit to support your soon-to-be-running body, but you also “preview” the joy you will feel from adding more movement to your life!
  • Do a quick Google search for 2 beginning running articles, and print them out for bedtime reading.  Help get yourself psyched up for this new and exciting adventure of yours!
  • Choose a different lunch than your usual.  Sure, people have sustained a running program while still eating Snickers bars and McWhatevers, but you’ll feel much better and increase your odds of success by adopting eating habits that support a more active body.  Your choice need not be radical and in fact it should still be something you anticipate enjoying — maybe a turkey sandwich on multigrain bread, or opting for a side of fruit in lieu of chips.  But that small action will help reinforce your commitment to becoming a more active person through running.
  • Get up and take a 5-minute walk break.  Take note of how you feel upon returning to your desk.  Seeing what a difference just a small amount of added movement can make in your well-being, you’ll reinforce the important lesson that you don’t need to sweat buckets or make like an Olympian marathoner in order to reap the benefits of running.  One small step at a time.
  • Assemble your gym/running bag.  So you can’t go running right now, but you can certainly gather the tools needed so that you’re all set to go.  Make sure you have good quality running shoes and clothes you feel comfortable wearing, as well as the other essentials, such as a water bottle and towel.

Obviously I could go on, but I’m hoping these examples will help you to move from having your New Year’s Resolution “in your head” to “in your body” as soon as possible!  GOOD LUCK.


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