It’s that time again, when many people’s thoughts turn to making changes, using the new year (and this time decade) to start (or stop) a habit. For me, the festive break was a time to slow down, and spend time being rather than always doing. And now I’m back to my (very welcome) routine, I want to continue some of the good habits I started.
In previous years, I have used this time to make some crazy resolutions, which come March have all but evaporated. Last year, my goal was to run two half marathons, as I had never run that far before. And I’m proud to say that for the first time, I exceeded my new year’s resolution, and did three!!
So it started me thinking and reading about why I was able to achieve my resolutions last year when previously I’ve failed. There were a few things that I did differently which really helped. And by reflecting on what they were, I’m hoping that it will help me with future resolutions or changes I want to make.
Firstly, I had plenty of support from the Carla Gilder Fitness family. I’ve been a member of CGF since Carla started the business, and in the last five years have radically changed my attitude to exercise. I now can’t imagine a week without it, and love going to classes not only for the exercise, but also to see my friends.
In the last two years, exercise has become a consistent part of my life. It’s an ingrained habit now, and I really miss it when I don’t do it. So training for a half marathon was more a case of changing what I was doing, not how often. And with the encouragement from the CGF instructors and members, it made it so much easier.
If you’ve ever wanted to run a half marathon, it’s pretty easy to find a comprehensive training plan. Whether you are starting from the beginning, or can already run the distance but want to get faster, there is a plan for you. Finding the plan was easy, and then it was just a case of sticking to it. Which wasn’t as hard as I’d expected – three (or four sessions) a week, with one long run.
Having a plan to stick to with what I needed to do took any decision-making out of my hands. I just needed to put on my trainers and go. Which was made easier with the support of the CGF Run Club with twice weekly training sessions.
Take time to reflect
One new habit I’ve started over the festive break has been to write in a journal most days. By letting my mind wander and write about anything I want, I’ve discovered various things I hadn’t realised about myself.
One of the things that I have reflected on a lot is that I succeed more easily when I establish small but consistent habits. Like walking to the station on my commute to work. Calling my mum when I’m walking, even if it’s only for five minutes. Taking time to plan my week in terms of exercise and food. Meal prep on a Sunday.
And I didn’t start all those habits at once – they have evolved over time. But they are easy to do now, and I feel the benefits throughout the week, not just when I’m doing them. The fresh air and (occasional!) sunshine from a brisk walk in the morning sets me up for the day. And I sleep better at night. Fun exercise classes with friends are sociable as well as benefitting my health.
Start small and be consistent
So what about my work resolutions for 2020? Well I’m going to start with small changes, and be consistent. Before the end of each day, I’ve been making a list of my priorities for the following day, so when I start work in the morning, I don’t get distracted with emails, but focus on my plan.
And we will be bringing this approach – providing support, having a clear plan and being consistent – to our clients in 2020.
We’d love to see you there.