Start Slowly – With Who You Are

Written by: Jorinde Berben
Image credit: Pexels.com

I recently started running. This is not the first time I’ve made that resolution. I’ve started more times than I care to divulge here, but never lasted longer than 3 running trips.

I have a long history with sports, and it’s not a happy one. I was not the most athletic kid in school, even though I always loved swimming and enjoyed playing badminton with my family as well. Whenever I did sports I enjoyed, such as dancing or frisbee, they just didn’t feel quite that athletic. Because, you guessed it, I wasn’t an athletic person so nothing I did could possibly be perceived that way.
I’ve written about this paralysing nature of convictions in this post.

So, back to that running bit. This ‘not being athletic’ is obviously not a belief I’ve been very happy with, so there have been multiple instances in my life where I’ve tried to change it (usually around January 1st or in September). At those times, I often act out of disappointment with my life as it currently is, or with myself as I currently am. My go-to response seems to be to act in a way that totally negates who I am or where I’m at physically: I overdo it. The last time I took up running, I went from never running at all to deciding I should last at least 30 minutes without stopping. I did it, and then ached for days after, taking away any incentive I might have felt to go for another run.

But, with awareness comes change. This time, the running doesn’t mean running away from who I am. I’m running together with my partner, using an app that helps you build up from zero, and this time we’re running towards something rather than away. We’re running towards better health, more energy, and more strength.

I’m also not starting with some kind of imaginary version of myself. I’m starting where I am, as the person I am, with the energy I have. That means slowly working my way up. And with the biking back and forth to school and swimming once a week during the kids’ swimming classes, I already notice my energy changing without feeling like I’m expecting things from myself that show disrespect to my own body and its limits.

I know there are many other areas of my life in which this lesson applies. I could take it into account in parenting, in my relationships and in my work. Just as with running that first 5km, it’s a matter or taking it one step at a time and keeping it feasible and enjoyable.

Where do you tend to overdo yourself? Where do you jump in too deep only to find you can’t keep up? And what’s the slow way to reach that same goal? The way that respects who you are and where you are at this very moment?

You might just find that change comes along for the ride.

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