I didn’t wake up this morning planning to re-launch the Plus Runners site. It’s been almost four years since I last wrote, and the thought of trying to find time in between work, family, and self-care to engage with this awesome community seemed the farthest thing from my mind.
Then I started looking at my financial health, and reviewing renewing payments to vendors (it’s something I do at the end of every year to assess last year’s spending and budget for next year’s cash flow). The cost to maintain this little site is small each year, and each year, I do it, thinking that I’ll return to form – to writing form, or running form. And then a few weeks pass. Budgets are finalized at the office. The travel starts again. Chicago’s winter scene overtakes me and I think ‘maybe next year’. Maybe next year, I’ll write more, run again, complete a triathlon that I love. I’ll hike more, lose weight, and get things in a better place.
The “this year I’ll” tradition is almost as embedded as the budget. Only I seem to handle the one just fine – and the other, well, let’s say it’s been a few years since I could proudly call myself an athlete. I miss it. I miss the fresh snow on a morning run, the feeling at the end of a good gym session. And yet, still, every January, I have that inkling of hope.
We get to 31 December, and it is as if a bell begins ringing – the toll of new habits, (and of course less weight). I’ve always been an advocate of being healthy and active at any weight, and yet I can’t be the only one who looks at January 1 as the clearest ringing of the bell for a new, fresh slate.
A chance for change. And yet.
The change management expert in me knows that hope is not a business strategy. Change occurs through planning, knowledge, support, understanding, and reinforcement. Who among us has all of those items lined up and ready to fire on 1 January of each year? And what would it look like if we did?
Planning seems to be the thing that many of us are great at – we plan our workout, our running buddies, and our menus. We tell our husbands and wives that we are going to shop once a week, stock the fridge, and make it work. And then Friday night comes and it’s pizza and wine – or it’s Tuesday cupcakes at the office, or the report you meant to finish during the day, but ran out of time for, and suddenly it’s 7 PM and you’re trying to remember what’s on the plan while ordering dinner from Grubhub.
Hope is not a strategy.
So how do we invite change?
I think there are a few things I’ve learned that are helpful as we ease into the last sunset of 2018.
There’s doing the hard work, first and foremost, to really consider why we choose to become active, whenever that opportunity presents itself.
Because as any good change expert will tell you, the “why” for the change is the cornerstone of the effort. Why move more? Why commit to small changes?
Everyone’s “why” is personal. But it’s fairly obvious that at the heart of our reason for changing must be because we want it to happen. The change must be for our bodies, our lives, our hearts, our selves. And that can be tough for many people – to put yourself first, to turn the light inside and focus on what we need first. But there’s nothing to be lost from seeing that no matter what form our bodies take, we deserve the right to enjoy the lives we built in the bodies we love. It may be that that body has more to it than the “average”. Other people might call it fat, or heavy or curvy or thick. (Lord knows, if you need an adjective, just hop on over to Twitter and you’ll see millions).
But the beauty of the new year is that, like it or not, we get the chance to change the words we use, and choose what will best describe us the next time we look in the mirror.
We will move this year. We will run, or walk, or hike, or bike, or swim, or practice yoga, or climb, or punch, or train – so that we can can demonstrate the other words we know, in our hearts, are far more accurate descriptors of who we truly are:
These are our words, no matter when we choose to move. These are our words, the words of change.
See you on the path.