At the start of 2019, I decided to do something I hadn’t done in years.
I had spent the silly season, well, being silly, so part of my New Year’s resolutions (yes, I’m one of those people who actually believe in making resolutions) was to start exercising again – and to hopefully maintain it past the month of January.
I’d completely given up on gyms after a long and drawn out on and off relationship, and although I love the super luxe boutique yoga studio I occasionally visit with its wafting essential oils and free coconut water, it’s not the cheapest of options.
But running – it’s free, requires no equipment, needs little skill, and you can do it at any time and pretty much anywhere. Also, I live right near a big park that’s perfect for running so really, I don’t know why I hadn’t started running before.
Oh that’s right, I’d never been any good at it. And by “good”, I mean on all my previous attempts to start a regular running (or more accurately jogging) routine, my motivation would inevitably fizzle.
I’d start with the best intentions, of course. You always do. “OK, I’m going to run three times a week for half an hour. That’s not trying to do too much, that’s actually achievable!” I’d tell myself optimistically, knowing full well I’d been here before and it always ended after a few weeks with runs that lasted maybe 15 minutes. (Look, I’m pretty unfit so that’s actually good for me.)
This same exact scenario went on for a few years before I decided that running just wasn’t for me. I couldn’t motivate myself. I’d never be able to maintain any type of regular routine.
But this year, it was going to be different. I knew it was going to be different. You see, I had a plan to trick myself into wanting run, and it was so absurdly simple that I just knew it would succeed.
Instead of listening to music while I run, I would now listen to podcasts.
Yes, that’s it.
Watch: Sam Wood demonstrates five exercises you can do anywhere. Post continues after.
I’d realise that all my past attempts at running had failed because I’d get bored. I was bored of my music, my own thoughts (terrifying) and the monotonous scenery of feet pounding pavement. Music just wasn’t enough to keep me entertained. Inevitably, after a few songs, my pace would slow down to a walk, no, not even a fast walk, before I’d decide that I’d done enough today and leisurely stroll home. Eventually, I’d stop going for runs entirely because it became another chore I had to do.