whoever you want to be…

Just Do It! by AnneMarie Flanagan

I spotted the bright t-shirt with the ‘Just Do It!’ slogan on the rack with all the other sporty ones and very nearly bought it – but didn’t.

It wasn’t anything to do with the massive global company behind it – I have no political axe to grind, it’s a sentiment I totally agree with.

Just do it.  Imagine if we did? If we stepped out of our comfort zone, took a risk and ventured into the unknown. It’s an exciting thought, and twenty years ago it’s one I might have even conjured up myself.  It would have been during one of my (many) youthful inebriated moments, surrounded by pals, oodles of confidence and thinking the world was my oyster.

But times move on and situations change. Once you have kids it’s not very easy to lead a singular, self-centred life. The positive ‘Just Do It’ on the t-shirt now reads ‘Why I didn’t’.

Things that you might have once tried don’t happen anymore – risks aren’t taken and that old pioneering spirit is filed away and left gathering dust in the loft.

But maybe I’m making too many excuses.  I love the idea that we hold the key to whatever we want to do or whoever we want to be.  Henry Ford, famously said:  ‘ Whether you think you can or can’t you’re right ‘ and he was right – but self-limiting beliefs are pervasive.

I’m going to be running a half-marathon in September, and currently full of  doubt.  My inner voice reminds me continually that I am unfit, overweight and not the sort of person who should be running.  It’s very hard to find the motivation to begin training.

Signing up for this run has brought lots of issues to the surface. Why am I doing it? I’m not a runner and am enduring rather than enjoying it. So, if it’s not about the running what is it all about?

It’s about me. Thirteen years of child-rearing has left me wondering who I am and, to be honest I feel rather lost.  Once I was defined by my career as a BBC journalist, it was something which gave me credibility and helped my esteem. When I took redundancy and became a work- from- home parent my confidence plummeted and of course my earnings took a nose-dive.

My children’s needs have taken centre stage for a long time, but now it’s my turn.  Saying I shall embark on this marathon journey is one tiny step in a new direction for me – venturing out of my comfort zone and going into the unknown – but the next step is even harder.

How do you motivate yourself? I find it extremely tough.  I have 101 excuses why I can’t do things – and they are all valid, but they are excuses and they need to be cleared away.

I asked friend and personal life-coach Eve Menezes Cunningham for some motivational tips and the idea of rewards came up. Given that I am rather impatient for change – and am not seeing the ultimate reward of a svelte runner’s body – I need to find small treats to keep me encouraged.

Eve says:  ” Far from self indulgent, rewards trigger the release of the feel-good neurotransmitter, dopamine. The more we feel it, the more motivated we become to do more because we crave the release of more dopamine.”

She says to allocate rewards which are appropriate for different milestones in the training.  So for example something small after each time I go out and run ( a bath and early night would be a treat for me) and for each milestone like 3miles/5miles/7miles/10miles something a bit bigger (beauty treatments perhaps?)

After I complete the marathon I should have something extra special lined up… hmm a weekend away maybe?  By keeping these rewards in mind I should hopefully be able to get round even on the wettest, coldest runs.

Eve mentions her favourite coach, Martha Beck, who talks about ‘turtle steps’ i.e. steps so small that they feel effortless. I think she is right. Perhaps I have been trying to do too much, too soon, and I need to build up from these tiny steps and be proud of each one however small.

So it’s back to square one and literally one step at a time.  I will get round that marathon route –  it may be just much slower than most.

I’d be interested to hear your tips and hints on how you motivate yourself – not just running but in every sphere of life…perhaps I will buy that t-shirt after all.

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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3 comments on “Just Do It! by AnneMarie Flanagan

  1. Helen
    July 10, 2012

    I can relate. In fact I’ve just written something similar on my blog. If it is to do with the family or someone else I can motivate myself and achieve something. In fact, I’m a real go getter. But when it comes to myself…well, I self sabotage and end up feeling worse. This time I’m approaching my fitness the way I did my house move. Lists and charts and a countdown!

  2. bodhimoments
    November 4, 2012

    When was the marathon? DId you run? I bet you did, and much faster than you expected! 🙂

  3. annemarieflan
    November 4, 2012

    Yes I did it (very, very slowly) but
    didn’t come last! Just completing it was my achievement https://beamagazine.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/i-did-it-but-silencing-the-inner-critic/

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This entry was posted on July 10, 2012 by in Bea Adventurous, Bea Careers, Bea Healthy, Bea Inspired, Bea Spiritual, Bea Sporty.
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