Last month I did something crazy and awesome. I signed up for a 30-day challenge to run a mile a day. In December.
The “in December” thing wasn’t hard because of winter, I wasn’t gonna run outside, silly. I got a membership to the closest gym to the house so I could pop over every morning for my mile.
The “in December” thing was hard because of all the holiday stuff. Like everyone, I had a lot going on. A very full month. Social events. Family events. Travel. Wrapping things up for the year with my clients. Yowzer.
The good news? I was already working out at OrangeTheory Fitness twice a week and always got in a mile each time I was there. I just had to add 5 more runs to my week.
I did it though.
How did I do it? This won’t be a surprise to those of you who know me. I planned my runs. I looked ahead a week at a time and scheduled my runs. Even on the mornings I had my networking meeting. The one where I had to get there at 6:45 to set things up.
It didn’t take long for me to start going to bed earlier.
I didn’t want to miss a day. It wasn’t a big deal if I missed a day, I would just have to make it up the next day by running 2 miles. No thanks. I wasn’t going to miss a day.
The other reason I was able to pull this off? There was a private Facebook group set up for the challenge where every one participating checked in every day. We were expected to report our celebrations, struggles, insights and anything we learned along the way. Being the rule follower I am, I reported my progress and insights. Every day.
Not everyone was running a mile a day for the challenge. My girlfriend was drawing for 15 minutes each day. Other people were journaling every day. Some were committed to planning their day each morning. Some committed to one mindful meal per day.
What we all had in common was that we wanted to explore building a habit and we had come to accept that we do better when we are doing things (even different things) with other people. We all showed up in that group to be accountable AND to support each other.
This next part breaks my little perfectionist heart. I didn’t do all 30 days. I had actually planned out all 31 days in December and completed 28 days. Here’s the thing, all the planning in the world can’t anticipate when a very determined stomach virus will hit you. One hit me, hard, on December 29th. I was down for 5 days.
December ended and I hadn’t completed the challenge.
I ran 28 more miles in December than I ever have before AND I dropped a couple of pounds. (Note: I restarted Weight Watchers back in October, but I wasn’t the best student in the month of December, so I know these runs saved my jeans from getting smaller. And this weight loss was before the stomach bug kicked in…I dropped a couple of pounds after it kicked in too. Not how I want to loose weight.)
So, can I count my 30-day challenge as a success? Yes. Yes I can.
Just the other day my girlfriend said, “You did a February size challenge in December.” Get it? 28 days? She’s so sweet.
January rolled in and I started feeling better. Just in time to get back to work. I also got back to my Orange Theory workouts by January 4th. Even in December I knew I wasn’t going to stick to a mile a day moving forward, but I wanted to work out more than I was before the challenge. Yet, I was back to my Monday & Friday Orange Theory workout routine. So what was I going to do about that?
And then I got an e-mail from Audible. I was going to lose a credit so I better buy a book soon. About the only audiobooks I can stand are memoirs read by the author. Michelle Obama’s book Becoming was featured on Audible that day. I checked and sure enough “read by the author”. So I bought it.
Listening to Anna Kendrick read her book Scrappy Little Nobody got me through my December challenge. Her stories of pursuing her Broadway and Hollywood dreams inspired me and distracted me as I pursued each mile in December.
Now, I had Michelle Obama’s book all ready to go. But when was I going to listen to it?
My January challenge is to write for 15 minutes everyday and that is not gonna give me time to listen to Obama’s book.
So, I found myself checking my schedule last night to see what time I had to get up to get to the gym for a run.
This morning I discovered that Michelle Obama is a great running buddy.
Being a part of this challenge was exactly what I needed to explore and change my habits. I have resisted my need for community and accountability in the past. Not anymore. I know that community and accountability are critical ingredients to making change in my life. So the December challenge was just the beginning. I’m all signed up for the January challenge and I’m ready to change more habits.
What do you need in order to make the changes and growth you are pursuing this year?
Stop resisting it.
Go get what you need.
PS: If you want to join the challenge, you can contact Coach Mari for a complimentary consult.