Make Progress Not Excuses

20150311_BAS_Make Progress not Excuses
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When I went running earlier, the first raindrop hit me right when I was waiting at the very first traffic light. The sky looked pretty dark, and I immediately contemplated heading back home. This was after not wanting to head out in the first place because that abrasion on my right heel sort of hurt a bit when I put my shoe on.

Obviously, when that marathon I am training for comes around, I don’t have a say in the day’s weather and cannot perform a miracle healing of some minor ailment. And I sure as hell won’t postpone my big race because of some rain, snow, bruises or blisters. This is why my destructive mindset made me so mad that I actually forced myself to run up all the stairs you can see in the picture.

I am no stranger to excuses. My mind provides me with an armada of them on a daily basis, explaining why today—only today—is not a good day to go running. And half of them are not even as lame as the ones my weaker self spit out today.

I go running anyway, at least four times a week. Running, I have learned since I seriously started training for that marathon in fall, is mostly a mind game.

First off, it’s free, so my usual workout motivation—I’ve paid a lot of money for it, so I’m going there to get my money’s worth, if I like it or not!—can’t be applied. And secondly, there’s nobody who kicks my butt. When I work with a trainer, I never self-sabotage; I just do what my trainer tells me. Because I trust that they know what I am capable of doing, even if I don’t know that yet. And it feels oh-so-good when you manage to go beyond what you thought was your limit.

Running, on the other hand, can be done at any time and for however long I like. Plus, I am accountable to nobody but myself. Well, and maybe my friends on RunKeeper. But that’s a somewhat theoretical concept of accountability.

And this is where those annoying excuses come in. Not that I give in to them, mind you. That would be a really, really bad idea—especially now that I have registered to run my first 15K ten days from now. Even though I haven’t set myself a time goal for this very first race, it’s not a good time to be a slacker. So I don’t slack, but all these excuses my brain offers me for not running at all or cutting a run short really stress me out. That was supposed to stop now that I have started to enjoy running, right?

I can only guess that someplace inside of me, buried under the Me who has committed to seven workouts a week and super healthy living for most of the next nine months, there must be a couch potato who is severely unsatisfied with how this year is going. I guess that’s the Other Me who didn’t want to stop smoking either, who would like to have a glass of wine—or two, or three—before going to bed, who would like to work much less and party much more.

I can see how being that Other Me is no fun at all this year. But I have a trip to Germany coming up, which is mostly a vacation. So that might appease my obnoxious weaker self, and hopefully make it more mellow—or at least tired so that my discipline and commitment is not constantly tested with every little abrasion or raindrop. Because I have made a decision: I want to make progress not excuses. End of discussion—or there’ll be another run up these stairs!

Olivia de Winter is most of all an avid writer and reader. Though she likes to consider herself a cosmopolitan, she is quite European - or German, to be honest - in many respects.

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