I’ve run a mile every day for 250 days.
That’s all I can really say.
Also, check my math. I’m not 100% confident it’s 250 days (but I’m pretty sure I’m close).
On January 1st, 2023 I set a goal of running a mile every day for the entire calendar year.
So far, so good.
I plan to send out another email on January 1st, 2024 to brag about this accomplishment🙂
But this article isn’t to brag.
It’s to let you know that I hate running or at least I did. That was until I found a way to enjoy it.
Every time I’ve run in the past there was an outcome attached to it.
- to burn calories
- to help me get leaner
- to train for a marathon
- to improve my mile time
Basically, do X (run) in order to get Y (outcome)
This time there was no outcome other than simply going out and running every damn day.
The first three weeks of this challenge I started by running on a treadmill in my apartment or at my buddy’s gym.
I hated it.
So I adapted. I mapped out a 1-mile loop around my apartment complex and started running outside.
Still hated it but a little less. Being outside made the experience more enjoyable for me and made it go by faster. A nice perk.
Then one 5 am morning I wondered if my dog would be able to keep up. So I grabbed Ka’lani and we headed out for a run together.
I loved it.
Ok, love is a strong word. Maybe I didn’t love it but I was mildly warm to it.
I’ve continued running with her and I can say that this has contributed to my keeping it up over the last 250 days. But running with my dog isn’t the only thing I think that has helped.
Table of Contents
Setting the bar low helped
About two weeks in I remember sitting on my bed debating whether or not I should go on a run. I was tired and had a headache. Plus, I had already been running for 14 days straight. It wouldn’t be a big deal if I missed a day.
And in all honesty, that is true. If I would have decided to not run that day I could have picked right back up the next day and the world would have been ok. I even put on my running shoes, took them off, put them back on again, and took them off again. Talked to myself about why I should go on it and why I shouldn’t. The entire thing was ridiculous and shouldn’t have been that difficult.
If I would have made this goal to run 3 miles (5K) every day I don’t think I would have done it. The bar would have been to high and I don’t think I would have physically held up to the demand either.
By committing to something that felt more approachable for me it made it easier to talk myself into doing it on the days I didn’t feel like it. And there were a lot of those days.
Telling people about it (External accountability)
My Mom was doing a dry January challenge at the same time and we had a few discussions about our experiences. I didn’t want to talk to her one day and say I had not gone running. External accountability, who knew.
I also told a couple of friends but they didn’t care as much – so F you guys. Just kidding.
Creating a “routine” around it
I put routine in quotes because it’s important to be flexible within your routines. Life has a way of doing life things. During these times it’s important to be adaptable.
I started running every morning right after waking up. I noticed the longer I waited to run the more likely I was to push it off. Sometimes I did push it off because… Life.
But overall, having this routine took out a lot of the thinking for me. I knew when I was going to run ahead of time and didn’t have to try and figure it out on the fly.
Accepting that discipline is a part of this but it’s not everything
A lot of clients come to me saying they just need to be more disciplined. Sure, I get that. But discipline isn’t a switch you turn on and off. Friction and barriers make discipline harder to do.
For example, if you’re not sleeping well, are overly stressed, and are exhausted it’s hard to do things.
If you work full-time and have 4 kids to take care of that’s another set of friction and barriers.
It’s also perfectly normal to be motivated to do two things at once. You can be motivated to eat healthier and prep some meals but you can also be motivated to crash on the coach and watch your favorite show.
The one that’s more enjoyable and easier to do will usually win out. This is an example of where actually adding friction and barriers can be helpful.
Motivation, willpower, and discipline are important.
But more important may be to identify what friction and barriers you have and to find one small action. ANY action you can take that gets you moving toward your goals.
Do the hard thing
Doing things is hard. It’s even harder when you’ve told yourself for years you don’t like it.
- I don’t like cooking
- I don’t like running
- I don’t like working out
- I don’t like dating
- I don’t like X, Y, Z and 1, 2, 3, and all of the things
We create narratives and then seek out ways to confirm these narratives.
Do you really not like cooking or is the cleanup you don’t like? Do you really not like dating or is it the awkwardness of a first date?
When it comes to creating change, building new habits, and identity for yourself, sometimes you’re going to have to do the hard thing. Not always fun, convenient, or tasty. But way more rewarding.