A few years ago I was duped into running a half marathon. Sounds ridiculous, but tis true – duped. My wife and her best friend agreed to run a half marathon and knew they needed their husbands to participate with them. Here’s what the conversation sounded like in my house:
Salli: “James is running the half marathon with Kristen and me. Are you in?”
Me: “James is running it?!”
Me: (Pride in tact) “Absolutely.”
Unknown to me at the time, here’s what the conversation sounded like in James’ house:
Kristen: “Salli and Aaron are running the half marathon with me. Do you want to run with Aaron?”
(Note: James’ response was much more enthusiastic and supportive because he is one of the most humble and gracious people on the planet. Also understand that neither James nor I had run in about…ever.)
So that’s how James and I were duped into running a half marathon. Now that we were on the hook to run this thing, it was time to get running. Running requires a lot of discipline particularly for someone who despises the activity as much as I do. But if I wanted the freedom to run 13.1 miles, I needed the discipline to train for the event.
How do you stick to a discipline routine to gain the freedom you desire? Here are 5 tips:
1. What if analysis
– What will be gained if I stick to this discipline? I will have accomplished something that only a fraction of people ever accomplish. I will be healthier. I will have more energy. I will have a stronger bond with my good friend. Write it down on the left hand side of a sheet of paper.
– What will be lost if I do not implement this discipline? Status quo. Disappointing my wife and friends. Missed joy of finishing the race. Write it down on the right hand side of the same paper.
2. Put a start and finish date to your discipline routine
For my half marathon training the start date had to be tomorrow, and the finish date was race day. There is a very powerful motivator to pull on the shoes when you know the starting pistol will be going off in 12 weeks whether you’re ready or not.
3. Overcome hurdles to sticking with it
Start to really analyze what will prevent you from the activity the next time you are scheduled to do it. I get up early to work out. The night before I lay out my socks, workout clothes, shoes, and even put a full water bottle in the refrigerator. None of these prep tasks seem very big obstacles but with the sleep still clouding my eyes and competing priorities of sleep over strenuous activities, any one of these might be enough to cut the legs out from my workout routine.
4. Set up a reward system
Put a goal in place and when you hit it celebrate! Mini goals along the journey with a big goal at the end will keep the adventure attractive. Did you complete a full week of getting up early? Then reward yourself with a day to sleep in on your rest day. The reward for our half marathon training was participating in the race itself and also seeing our dear friends James and Kristen who live 800 miles away.
5. Have a partner
Knowing that you are not going through this alone can be enough to keep you going when it gets difficult. Having someone to call who can relate to what you are experiencing, hold you accountable to doing the work, and encourage you along the way will make a big difference in your discipline routine.
One final thought: if you are serious about making strong healthy changes in your life to bring about the freedom you desire, choose one at a time. Your freedom may require multiple disciplines. It probably will. But wait to get one new freedom into a habit before adding the next. And don’t worry about falling off the wagon. Expect yourself to fall off course from time to time. If you need to lament your loss, do it quickly and get back into the race with the determination to win. You can do it.
What freedom have you been toying with and need to establish some disciplines to finally break out of the chains you are in? I would love to hear about it!