Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grandparenting.

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Conquering Obstacles to Self-improvement - Lesson #1



The first challenge to creating change can be summed up in this statement. “You are going to have to get over yourself.” Before you decide to be offended, please read on. I think you will agree.

While it is true that the first step to creating change is recognizing the need for, or having a desire to, change, that’s not the first obstacle. Obstacles or challenges occur once the decision to change has been made. If there is no need or desire for change, then there can be no hurdles to clear.

Why would I state something so harsh as, “You are going to have to get over yourself?” Isn’t a desire for self-improvement the very thing that pushes us to set goals, step out of our comfort zones, and learn new skills? I would argue, “Yes.” I am not suggesting that one abandon his or her desire for improvement. Rather, I would submit that he must abandon those things, usually thinking habits, that are keeping him from moving forward. Let me illustrate with a running story. (I know. I use these stories a lot. Hey, life is hard. So is running. That’s why running is such a good teacher.)

I was once a non-runner. At the tender age of 47 (you read that right) I became a runner. Runners run.  That’s all there is to it. Non-runners who wish they were runners tend to come up with all kinds of excuses why they can’t, shouldn’t, or won’t run. I know. I found several of my own.

“I’m too old to start.”  Yep, I said that.

“I don’t like to run.”  I said that one a lot!

“It hurts to run.”  Uh-huh.

And then there is this one …

“I don’t want anybody to see me trying to run.”

Well, for those of you who are hanging onto this excuse, I have some news for you. NOBODY is looking at a runner and thinking this …

“Boy, that runner sure does look stupid.”

Nor this …

“That runner shouldn’t be running. She’s too big, old, fat, short, weak …”

In fact, those non-runners driving by in their cars with their car snacks by their side are most surely thinking something like this …

“I wish I were a runner. I wish I was strong enough, brave enough, in shape enough … to run.”

I know this to be true. I was once one of those non-runners.  And the runners that happen to be in a car while you are running are thinking …

“Look! There is a runner!  Maybe we could be running buddies!”

“I’m jealous. I wish I was running right now.”

“Wow. I hope I can still run when I’m as old as that guy!”

“I am so proud of that runner out there getting in shape!  Way to go, Runner!”

Early in our running quest my running buddy and I would search for the most hidden routes we could find to avoid being seen, but I got over that. I have learned that if I admire other runners when I am inside a car then surely others are not judging me while I am on the run. This applies to runners and non-runners alike.

It doesn’t matter if you have great running form or a cute outfit. The car riders cannot tell what your pace is and they don’t care. They only know that you are out there putting one foot in front of the other. They respect that, especially if they, too, are a runner. So get over yourself and just run!

Let’s take a look at those same excuses as they apply to other lifestyle changes.

“I’m too old to start a new job, write a book, lose weight, and so forth.” For every “too old” argument you can find, there is someone older than you making those changes today.

“I don’t like change.” Most folks don’t, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a worthy pursuit.

“It hurts to change.” Yes, this new venture is probably going to be a bit uncomfortable.

“I don’t want anybody to see me trying …” Because you might fail? Not trying is failing.

NOBODY is looking at you and thinking this …

“Boy, she sure is stupid to try to change!”

Nor this …

“She shouldn’t be going back to school or making a job change. She’s too dumb, old, fat, short, weak, tired, poor …”

In fact, most people watching you strive for self-improvement are going to be cheering you on thinking something like this …

“I wish I were doing something new and interesting. I wish I was strong enough, brave enough, in shape enough, hopeful enough … to change.”

I know this to be true. I’ve been one of those wishing for change. We’ve all been there, hesitant to strive. The others that are well on the road to their goal? They are your best cheerleaders …

“Look! There is a striver, a goal setter!  Maybe we could help each other!”

“I’m jealous. I wish I was working on my goal right now.”

“Wow. I hope I can still learn new things when I’m as old as that guy!”

“I am so proud of that person out there making improvement!  Way to go, Person!”

I have been guilty of keeping my goals to myself, much like my running buddy and I tried to avoid being seen. I have learned that if I admire others for their attempts to achieve, then surely they are not especially critical of me while I am striving for self-improvement. In fact, they are most likely cheering me on.

It doesn’t matter if you have it all figured out. The passersby do not know how far you have come or how quickly you are improving and they don’t care. They only know that you are out there putting one foot in front of the other. They respect that, especially if they are striving to better themselves. So get over yourself and just work towards your goal!

Achievement  Exercise #1:
Begin by making a list of all your excuses - all the reasons you can't. 
Then address each excuse. Is it actual or perceived? Can it be overcome? Is the goal greater than the obstacle?
Clear those hurdles, cross them off, and move forward!


Are you still feeling offended? Tell me what is keeping you from beginning your quest for self-improvement?
Happy Running!
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