If you’ve been considering implementing healthier lifestyle choices, starting a running routine could be one of the best to make.
Aside from improved cardiovascular health, more energy, and better sleep, you also won’t have to worry about questions you’ll inevitably field during an interview for life insurance if you’ve got a regular running practice.
But, getting started may seem intimidating, though. While you don’t need anything besides good shoes, aren’t runners kind of…crazy? Maybe. But if you’re curious as to why, there are some mental habits you can establish now before even hitting the pavement which will help you along the way.
Commit to making these four statements part of your daily self-talk and set yourself up for an exercise regimen you’ll enjoy and be able to maintain for a lifetime.
#1 – “I make time for running.”
The wording is key with this one. You don’t have time to run (or anything for that matter); you make it — as in, you create it. No one has spare time simply rattling around in their pockets like coins; if you want time, you free it up by intentionally saying no to other activities.
If you want to be a runner, something else in your schedule will have to go.
And some of the activities you nix from your schedule will actually feel great to say goodbye to — mindlessly scrolling through my phone was one I didn’t know took up a significant amount of time, but my screen report said otherwise. I was glad to get rid of that sneaky stranglehold.
With other activities though, like staying up late to binge Netflix when you have an early morning run planned, you may feel the sting a little bit more.
It’s a dangerous mental trap to keep using phrases the rest of our busy society seems to cling to out of comfort:
- There just aren’t enough hours in the day.
- Where does the time go?
- I have zero downtime
Replace these phrases with “I make time” and then do the work to make it happen.
And no matter what, remember the truth in the old saying if it’s important you’ll make time. If not, you’ll make excuses.
#2 – “I deserve these benefits.”
This statement ties in closely with #1. With the hectic pace of life and the demands on our time from every direction, it’s easy to feel guilty for taking time for yourself, especially if you’re a parent. But no one will prioritize or care about you more than you, and you can’t fill up anyone else’s cup until you fill your own.
When your sliver of time arrives and you’re wavering between running or not, remember why you were initially inspired.
Were you looking for stress-relief? You deserve that. More energy for your kids? Yep, you deserve that, too. Improved immune system? Of course, you deserve that.
Whether your goal is to run around the block or run a marathon, continuously remind yourself that your body and mind deserve the benefits running has to offer.
#3 – “This is hard, but I can do hard things.”
This is a mental practice to adopt now so that once you begin running, you can cling to it when the conditions are tough. Whether the distance seems impossible, the sun is scorching, or your legs are screaming, you’ll call this mantra to the forefront of your mind when you feel like you are slogging through quicksand and are about to quit.
Unless you are someone who thrives off of the Pollyanna approach, the lack of sugarcoating with this one will feel refreshing.
Give yourself permission to acknowledge that yes, running is difficult. (If it were easy, everyone would do it). But then remind yourself of life’s real trials, of times you’ve overcome situations that dragged on for days, weeks, or even longer.
You wouldn’t be here today if you didn’t have a track record of making it through, so be your own motivation, and remember this run won’t last as long as that trying period.
The jolt of energy you’ll feel of pride at your own previous overcoming will propel you to keep moving forward.
#4 – I am a runner.
The fourth piece of self-talk is all about owning the title of “runner.” It’s incredible how much power we give superlatives, and withholding a title from ourselves puts an imaginary barrier in our way.
Don’t wait! Until you run a certain distance or for a particular length of time to dub yourself a runner.
Throughout your day as you face health-related choices, remind yourself of your title and act accordingly. I’m a runner, so I make sure I get enough sleep. I’m a runner, so I allow myself to spend money on good shoes.
I’m a runner, so I eat foods that will fuel my body.
Commit to Mental Practice First
These phrases will feel unnatural at first. Say them anyway.
All of our habits in life have a starting point, a first time, and adding some motivational self-talk to spur on your running routine will be a habit you’ll be glad you adopted.