There is something supernaturally invigorating about keeping your promises with yourself. The first time I experienced what keeping a pact with myself felt like I was a young adult at the age of 19. I am now 38 years old and I still experience this natural high and sense of accomplishment when I am able to keep my own promises.
Committing to Running 22 Days Straight with a 9 day layover into September.
My most recent promise that I have been sharing with social media is a 1 mile run challenge that Mara Morris created to keep herself accountable and active for the month of August, 2020. Now to be honest with you, running is something that I enjoy, but due to the quarantine, scheduling, and race relations of this country, I decided to give it a rest over the quarantine. It is my time to meditate and organize my thoughts especially when balancing so many things simultaneously.
I have been wanting to get back to running more consistently after the quarantine period, especially after gaining about 15 extra pounds from all the delicious eats I create. This challenged seemed like the right place to start and Mara was the perfect accountability run buddy so I decided to piggy back her promise to herself.
MY Pre-Quarantine Norm
Before the quarantine period, I was in a really good cardio rhythm. I was running at least 10 miles a week, getting about 30 miles through teaching spin classes, choreographing, teaching, and dancing about 30-35 hrs a week. Some days I would spend about 3 hours choreographing in the morning, then teach a 45 min spin class in the evening, then run 5 miles immediately after, and then teach an hour long dance class an hour later. I would call those days my Be Moved Triathlon day. They were tough and challenging but it made me feel incredible the next day after some good rest.
However, I just recently I realized I need a little more of an outside boost to get me started back on my goal to get back to the my routine of pushing my limits physically on a weekly basis. I saw that Mara was getting up early every morning and staying committed to her goal and I wanted to get back to that commitment. Therefore, I made a promise to myself that no matter what happened throughout the last 22 days of August I was going to run every single day with the possibility of an additional 9 days to complete running for a full month like Mara.
The craziest things happen after you make a commitment to something challenging. You learn about your weaknesses, your strengths, and the grit you possess. They are some of the most beautiful things you will ever learn about yourself. Overall it is always a learning experience but I had some personal best days, I had some I have to walk to finish my goal days, I had some you are holding this pace till you finish days, and I had some wow that was amazing days. They all started with some of this possible excuses that could have deterred me from the journey.
My Internal Excuses
First of all, it was not easy. I struggled the first week. I second guessed myself every time I went downstairs to start and complete my run. My mind would tell me to just walk or it would try to convince me that I don’t have to run. Saying things like “You dance and teach spin on a weekly basis; what additional exercise do you need. You are doing too much.” The most reoccurring excuse button that my mind would throw at me was that running was not conducive with me being 100% ready to teach my weekly dance classes. However, if there is one thing I learned over the years about making promises with myself is that during the process my mind will want to keep me in a comfortable/manageable space. It is up to my higher self to break me out of that comfort zone if I want to keep my promises to myself.
Some External Excuses
During the 22 days of August it also rained, I had some emotional family days that were debilitating, I was exhausted, I had a physically overloaded day, I was overly stressed, I did not eat enough, I was sore, I had shin pains, I had calf pains, I had side pains, I got sick of the same route, I missed my planned run time, it was dark out etc. Regardless of all those actual excuses that I could have used for 22 days I chose to run and because I did I noticed some amazing things about myself.
Results of Getting up and Running Regardless.
I was happier after ever run. I felt more focused on what I needed to do. I felt accomplished. One of those 22 days I ran a 7min 36s mile and a half. That has been my fastest recorded mile since I started running again. There were days when I thought I did not have it in me but I did it anyway made me feel invincible. Also there were days when I felt like I had it and just could not finish that goal I set from that positive feeling. The most important thing to me was that I ran at least 1 mile a day, anything after that I treated as a bonus. That’s exactly what I did.
Here Are The Keys to Keeping Your Promises to Yourself.
This is how I kept my most recent promise with myself and countless other promises in the past. So if you are making promises, or setting goals you want to achieve/accomplish, these are the things to keep in mind. First of all, your mind will try to keep you in your comfort zone so do not believe it or give those thoughts life. Always challenge those thoughts or start working on your goal before you have too much time to think about it. Your body will also tell you that what you are doing is too much. Do it anyway! There is a difference between soreness and an actual injury; You will know the difference. Life isn’t going to make a way for you to keep your promise but if you really want to keep that promise you will find a way. The weather is not going to cooperate so be flexible. Plan your day but be flexible in getting it done, especially if you are balancing many different things throughout. If you lack motivation find individuals that are doing the same thing you are trying to accomplish so they can help keep you motivated to fight through your struggle days. Speak to yourself in a positive way regardless of the expectations you set for yourself but still hold yourself accountable. Control what you can control and be flexible about the things you cannot. Lastly commit to executing what you need to do the day before then wake up and do it. Additionally if you know yourself then you know the excuses you make to so plan om the counters to keep you on track. Finally, be connected to the why you want to achieve this goal. For me being in shape, and running every day or as often as 4 days a week, makes me a happier person, a more organized person, my cognitive acuity is sharper, I am more patient with everyone, especially myself, and I believe that I am capable of achieving anything I put my mind to. That is my why so going through a few struggle days is minor compared to the overall result of what completing a promise does to my being.
Summing It All Up
I could have given up or broken my promise to myself for any of the reasons I mentioned above but because I didn’t give any of those excuses life, there is a level of supernatural belief that grew inside of me that no one ever told me existed. A level of belief that I now know happens when I challenge the comfort zone of my mind, spirit, and body. You cannot cheat it, you cannot make it up, and you cannot lie to yourself about it. You will only find out how rewarding it feels after you’ve kept your promise to yourself. Knowing that you did it, and no one can take that from you because you stayed committed to yourself is a sense of accomplishment I know you cant wait to experience. So no matter how 2020 has gone for you so far, there are still promises that you can keep to yourself to salvage what is left of the year. Its your time. Go get it!