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Why Starting is the Hardest Part.

Over the weekend I went for a run.

What started as almost a 1-minute jog turned into a strong 2 miler. What changed the outcome? Being able to master my mindset.

When I first hit the pavement the Midwest winter chill hit me full force. My lungs and nostrils were burning and it hurt to breathe. My hands felt as if they were slowly dying. The negative thoughts started coming in hot.

“What are you doing?”
“Go back.”
“Just turn around now.”
“You’re not going to last long.”
“It’s too cold to run.”
“You need more layers.”

“Try again another day.”

These thoughts almost convinced me to turn around. They almost won.

I chose to talk back to them instead.

“It’s cold right now, but maybe after a while, I’ll get used to it.”
“I’m sure I’ll warm up throughout the run.”
“You can do this.”
“You can do hard things.”
“Push a little bit more.”
“Hang in there just a moment longer.”
“It’ll get better.”

“You may not get another sitter to go for a run in the next few days.”

I continued to play a game with myself and convince myself to run “just a bit further,” to see if the run improved.

I challenged myself to run to the upcoming traffic sign. Once I got there I told myself that I could at least make it a few more blocks. Once there I convinced myself that I could keep running until the grocery store up ahead.

“Then you can turn back,” I kept telling myself, although secretly I knew I planned to keep pushing myself further.

Before I knew it I was a mile in.

My body warmed up, my breathing regulated, and I felt strong and capable.

As I turned around and made my way back I thought about how I was able to overcome those negative thoughts and how thankful I was because my run ended up feeling so great. Those thoughts almost won though. I was so close to turning around barely a minute into the run.

Starting really is the hardest part.

No matter what you’re starting, remember that. Challenge yourself to keep going and to stick with it just a bit longer to see if it eases up. Most of the time it does and you’ll be thankful you persevered.

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