Friday, January 15, 2010

Taking That First Step

Here's the deal, and I've said it before. It's the reason why this blog is titled "Shut Up and Run." As humans, as mere mortals, we will find reasons to not challenge ourselves, to not do the things that are difficult. Sometimes all we really need is a jump start. We have spent so long on the couch, neglecting our bodies or simply being removed from them, that it is tough to take that first step. For some of us, we don't really want to work hard. For others, we have goals, but part of what we do is that we put them off. We know not why we do this. But we are crafty at it.

We come up with excuses that we keep justifying to ourselves and to those around us. But, we know they are bullshit. We know if we set our minds to things, we can do them.

There are stories of inspiration everywhere. Unfortunately, those are sometimes overshadowed by the stories of laziness, poor eating habits, or lengthy time in front of the TV or computer (where I am now). Most of the people we run into are not walking the walk. The talk around the water cooler is typically about what people are planning to do (diet, start a new exercise plan) or what they have just started for a x number of days (diet, new exercise plan). The thing that bothers me most about all of this fixation on the new diet, the new exercise plan is it becomes so much about us and what we are doing. It becomes a very self centered activity.

It's a bit less common to hear people talk about eating clean everyday, getting enough sleep and sunlight and actively and routinely exercising. You know why you don't always hear from these people? Because they're just doing it, not talking about it. It is how they live every single day without resolutions, or gimmicks, or the Hollywood Cookie Diet. It is a way of life. You do not expend every moment of everyday fixating on yourself and all that other stuff. Living a healthy lifestyle every day allows you space to give back to others and to get the entire focus off of yourself.

So, today, if you need that extra boost to get you going, take a look at this octogenarian. She's 81 years old. She runs at least three marathons a year, but didn't start running until she was 52. She looks amazing. Fit, toned, thin. She is in her right mind. She has made a lifestyle out of running. It has given her life and longevity. Meet Joy Johnson:

One of the single best ways to start something new, something you've been putting off is to just start. It's not about running the marathon today. It's about taking a single step in the right direction. We all know Rome wasn't built in a day (duh, whoever thought it really was). We also know that anything worth its weight in gold can't be done overnight. Running a marathon is a metaphor for any major undertaking: losing weight, getting a degree, going through a pregnancy. It takes time, effort, and pain. But the payoff? The payoff is like nothing you have ever experienced. It becomes less about having run the 26.2 miles, and more about believing in yourself. So take that first step. Today.

I am curious. What is something you've been putting off starting? Why haven't you taken that first step?

Drinking: Starbucks Colombian coffee.

33 comments:

  1. Very well put. I think the key to anything is baby steps. You're not going to go from overweight to healthy in "Days! Weeks!". It's going to take time and effort.

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  2. Wow...Joy is amazing! I really hope I'm still active like that when I get to be her age!

    The thing I've been procrastinating the most is starting swim training. It is my least favorite part of the tri and it's the thing I'm the worst at. So...why don't I work harder at it? What I need to do is suck it up, get up at 4:30, and just take those first steps...once I do that I know it will be all good! Thanks for the motivational post!

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  3. AWESOME POST TODAY! Love it! Thanks for sharing about Joy, she is truly an inspiration!
    This post makes me want to go run! I can't wait for my 20 miler tomorrow now! Thanks girl! :)

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  4. Losing weight.I need to start NOW!!!!!

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  5. Thanks for sharing - great post!

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  6. Excellent post. It's so true that those of us living a healthy lifestyle are the ones less likely to TALK about these things... well, except on our blogs lately.

    Less TALK, more ACTION.


    Oh, by the way, I thought of you in one of the port-o-potties on the Disney course. Some disgusting person had decided to take a dump in the urinal. A steaming pile right there in front of my nose while I was sitting on the toilet - you know, where you are SUPPOSED to poop. Anyway, I thought 'Shut Up and Run would love this.'

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  7. That's very cool... always good to find inspiring stories!!

    I haven't started looking for a new career, even though I KNOW I need to soon. Why? The security of my current job (that I HATE) is very nice and I'm having a hard time leaving it to do something I enjoy.

    Happy Friday!
    Stephanie

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  8. the last half of your last paragraph just became my staus update for facebook. Great post...thank you!

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  9. I am on this same soap box (move over). I hate hearing about people who are going to start losing weight or working out. JUST DO IT! This is a way of life for me, so I just don't understand I guess. I think that runners are just a different breed.

    I keep putting off giving up beer. Because it tastes too good.

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  10. Hey, when did you get so smart? Great post.

    My theme song is "I Can't Get Started" by Bunny Berrigan (circa 1930). "I've been around the world in a plane. I've settled revolutions in Spain. The north pole I have charted, still I can't get started... with you." Haven't gotten around to any committed long-term relationships (and I'm not a kid). Why? Well, that's a long story involving two dead fiancee's, a neurological disorder and a load of crap. Maybe two loads.

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  11. LOVE IT! Thanks for the inspiration! It seems that the people who are "Doers" have enough internal gratification that they don't feel the need to talk about their efforts or accomplishments to others. They do it because of how it makes them feel, not for the need to impress others.
    And don't things get easier once we get the momentum going...putting one foot in front of the other???
    Thanks!
    Deborah
    P.S. I am a new reader to your blog...love your style of boldness, "realness" and inspiration.

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  12. Wow...that lady rocks!!! Thanks for sharing that video! :)

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  13. Great motivational post!
    I've been putting off GRE studying. I'm afraid I'll do badly anyway.... so it's been hard to find motivation, but I'm Finally starting! I'll start with the vocab, which is one thing I enjoy.

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  14. Great story about Joy! I just blogged about making excuses with my biggest loser club, too. Something must be in the air I think. Happy Weekend!!! :)

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  15. So what is it you are trying to say again?

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  16. Totally agree!! I get so many people say what an inspiration I am, and I keep saying to them that I'm just a normal person ... nothing special about me at all. Anybody can take that first step and keep going, and feel so much better for it :)

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  17. What an inspiring lady! Thanks for sharing!

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  18. I just want to say that woman is amazing. I hope I'm still moving like that when I'm her age! Then I might be able to finally win some races in my age group! Thanks for sharing!

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  19. This is great...thanks for posting. I took a big step last year with joining a pretty serious/dedicated group of runners knowing I would be the slowest and have been with them for over a year and would not change a thing.

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  20. I love your post and I love JOY!
    I need to stop dog paddling and learn to really swim already.

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  21. Go Joy! How inspiring is she?? Wow. I need my degree and a marathon under my belt. I started school last week and I'm training for a half. I've started, now I just gotta stick with it! Love the post, as always :)

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  22. Fabulous post!!! That Joy is the bomb and I hope I'm still running when I'm her age! What have I been putting off? Maybe, giving up beer and wine..... mainly because I love it! But, now I think I need to give it up, not all together, but not so much of it, because I think THAT'S what's making my waistline disappear! Dang it!

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  23. There is an older running couple near me that race all the time. They started running later in life and are such an inspiration!

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  24. I think of Matt Damon's response to a reporter years and years ago about how he lost weight for a particular role he was preparing to play. He said, 'I ate less and did more'. We complicate our goals often. It can be just as simple as 'Just Do It.' I'd like to add. 'Just Be It'. Runner, healthy eater, patient mom, writer, duathlete - whatever. Because we put our own stamp on our goals. We are are the bad asses of our own lives. Pushing out my self-induced boundaries is what I've been putting off. Sick of being safe. Here goes.... one day at time, one limit at a time.... poooof! gone.

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  25. I totally agree!

    baby steps! :)

    have a great weekend!

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  26. I love stories like that. I workout with a guy who is 91 and a cycling fiend. He'd still be running if had not broken his hip recently even so, he recovered faster than anyone younger than him. Amazing. Inspiring.
    I thought I'd put off running a 50 miler until I was "older" and my kids were older. Ah well. Here we go. :-)

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  27. ahh love this! hmm what am I putting off..call someone to stretch the carpet? i think i've really been trying very hard to take action this year because I don't ever want to look back and know if I had only tried...

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  28. I love your "just take that 1st step now" approach! I put off starting school for a long time, but I'm proud to stay I'm my first couple baby steps in ;)

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  29. Whenever I'm feeling unmotivated, I tell myself:
    OK, you just have to put on your running clothes and walk a mile.
    Obviously once the clothes are on, and I take that first step out the door, I'm going for a run. And once I start running, it's not worth the shower I'm going to have to take unless I run at least ___ miles (depending on my fitness, this can be anywhere between 4 & 7). But the first step always is getting dressed!

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  30. Great post! When I see women like that, I hope that is what I am like when I am that age.

    I am not even around people "talking the talk." I wish I was. People make fun of me for trying to eat healthy and exercise.

    Something I have been putting off is cutting back on processed foods. I think it is time to develop a plan of action!

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  31. What an appropriate post for me as I have put away my homework for the night, it's after 10 (i.e. I should be in bed), and I'm catching up on your blog.

    I recognized myself right away: setting goals but making excuses, and I am working on getting a degree. (It's really sink or swim this quarter, everything you mentioned.)

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  32. I love this post; I try to remember that I do everything I do because I enjoy doing it and not so I can talk about it later. Sometimes it feels like if you don't constantly Facebook/Twitter every single thing you are doing, it doesn't "count."

    I just found your blog and it's really funny - I'm looking forward to reading more!

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