Did I really just run every day for a year? When I attended my first Momentum Run class, I would have easily – hands down – been elected “LEAST likely to complete a run challenge.” I whined about everything from strength training to breathing, and I especially whined at the mere thought of getting up early to run. There is no way anyone could have predicted that I – me???, the one who hated the thought of becoming a runner – would become someone who would incorporate the daily discipline of running at least one mile a day into her daily routine.
Seriously!! If you looked up the words “exercise,” “runner,” or “discipline,” in the dictionary the only way my photo would appear would be with a big red circle around it and a diagonal line through it like those “no smoking” signs. I was the opposite of those words! You may be asking, “How did she become so disciplined?” – “How did she become someone who runs every day for 365 days – a whole year?!?” Believe me, I continue to ask myself the same questions.
“Rock Bottom” & Life Change
Wayne, Steph, Angela and I met recently to brainstorm about a new challenge to inspire people to maintain control of their food issues and weight during the holidays. We talked a lot about how, why, and when people decide to change. We all agreed that there is no actual “rock bottom” as long as you are still breathing. We shared thoughts of our own personal struggles and each of us shared how we know we could have gone further, deeper, darker into our own addictions and compulsive behaviors. We each talked about how we decided to make changes in our lives before traveling further downward towards the proverbial “rock bottom.” I believe people decide to change when the pain of where they are becomes greater than the fear of change, or the fear of what could be. How, when, and why each of us reach that point is still a mystery to me.
Continual Intentional Improvement
On the flip-side, we also talked about how there is no ceiling. We can always find areas in our lives that need improvement. It may be a relationship you need to improve, or a habit you need to break. It may be to eat healthier, or get physically stronger. It may be to run faster, or memorize more scripture. For me, I simply wanted to become more disciplined. More disciplined in my marriage relationship, more disciplined in my spiritual life, more disciplined about my health, more disciplined in dealing with anger… the list could go on and on; but, the word that kept coming back to my mind was DISCIPLINE!
The Transforming Power of Non-Negotiables
I didn’t just “out of the blue” set a goal of running at least one mile a day for a year. I knew I
wanted to establish some daily disciplines… or as I’ve heard Coaches Wayne Burns and Rod Key call it: “non-negotiables.” It was November 2014, and we were headed into the holiday season. I had already registered for the Borodash 4 mile run. I had run a few 5Ks in 2014 and had learned how to run. I was (still am) slow, but that year, I had reached my first goal of being able to run an entire 5K without stopping to walk.
The day after Thanksgiving 2014, I saw a post on Facebook about a running challenge of running one mile a day from Thanksgiving to New Years. I thought, “hmm…that’s doable.” I thought that it would be a great way to combat the normal phase of over eating and increased sedentary lifestyle often brought on by the colder weather and the holiday gatherings with an abundance of food. My motive, at that time, was simply to not gain the usual 5-10 pounds I would typically gain each year during the holidays. However, this was just the beginning. This 40 day challenge got me to thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. I wanted more than typical resolutions that often fade away by mid-February. I spent a lot of time thinking about my goals for 2015. I knew they had to be simple and attainable. I knew they would require discipline, because truly it was discipline I was actually trying to attain.
A Goal that is Simple & Attainable
After much consideration, I laid out my 20/20/20 Challenge for 2015. My goal was simple. My goal was daily. The goal I sat on January 1, 2015 was to run at least 20 minutes a day, spend at least 20 minutes a day reading and meditating on God’s Word, and do something for myself for 20 minutes a day. Mentally for me, 20 minute chunks of time were doable. Within three months, I dropped the “do something for myself for 20 minutes a day,” because to be completely transparent, that really wasn’t a challenge. At the end of summer, I decided I needed to get my calorie intake and food choices under control. I needed to get a grip on my food issues! I ate for pure pleasure, enjoyment, stress, sadness, anxiety, you name it… I used food to console myself and reward myself. Adding the food and calorie goal was an important and much needed adjustment. I still have a ways to go on improving my nutrition and I need to tighten up and be more consistent on my calorie intake. But I’m happy to report that focusing on a daily calorie goal versus a specific weight-loss goal has resulted in a surprising, yet steady weight loss of about 1/2 pound a week!
Today, Thanksgiving Day 2015, I celebrate! I celebrate 365 days of running at least one mile a day in a row! Today I celebrate reaching (and most days exceeding) my daily goal. Last year, I ran the Borodash 4 mile race at a 12:00 minute average pace. Today…11:05!!!! What?! That’s CRAZY!!
One Day at a Time…
I’m faster, I’m stronger, and I’m more disciplined. Oh! And I know a lot more about the Bible than I did this time last year. So far this year, I’ve read through the New Testament, done a deep dive study of the book of Joshua, and am in the middle of doing a deep dive into the book of Romans. I’ve also read some really good books about discipleship and some encouraging daily devotionals. One of my favorite verses from Joshua is found in chapter 1, verse 9: “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” I still don’t focus on running every day for a year. I simply focus on running today. And tomorrow, I’ll do the same thing. After all, Matthew 6:34 says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
My goal is simple:
To live intentional every day to be the best me I can be. Intentional daily disciplines that I cannot achieve by myself. “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” – Matthew 19:26
About Jill Spry: I’m a simple girl from a small town, living one day at a time; a fellow struggler, following Christ. I choose intentional living over living by default. If I can… with Him, so can you.” #IAMfortified
Read more From Jill: I’ve Always Been a Runner