Today I have the lovely Kate joining me to write a guest post about when she decided to create a community to help motivate herself and others to make changes towards being healthier and happier. I’ve been realising, more and more, how much easier it is to stay accountable to myself, by being more accountable to others.
Here’s her story.
Fake it ’til you make it and other secrets to being awesome.
As of this week, I have three children at school (and one still at home). What this means is I have a whole new audience of school parents to roll their eyes at me each morning as I hover over my little boy in my running shorts and tank top. The vice principal has taken to calling me Sporty Spice when she sees me and commented that I always look like a bit of an athlete in the mornings.
They do not know my secret, but I am going to share it with you.
I’m faking it.
I could count on one hand the amount of mornings that I’ve woken and thought ‘YES! I’m going to run again!’. Most days I wake up thinking ‘How can it be morning already? Where is my coffee? Is it Wednesday? Where is that coffee? I’m tired I can’t be bothered running today. Coffee?’.
I’ve spent most of my life using every excuse in the book not to move more. Here are some of my favourites:
I’m a smoker (well was; I quit 4 months ago after 20 years and damned straight I am proud)I’m uncoordinated (true, but not a reason not to try)I’m too tired (welcome to parenthood)I have four children (but I also have a pram, a cheap and nasty treadmill and some free workout apps)I have a shift working partner (as do many other people, and many have no partner to share the load. Suck it up princess)I have too much else to do. I’m not worth it.
When I stared down my excuses and realised that most were just a way for me to embrace my natural state of laziness (because I do love lazy, I really do), they suddenly didn’t look like such great reasons not to try and move. But when I got to the heart of it… that in running a household and raising my children and coping with the challenges presented by living with autism and working from home I had decided that I wasn’t worth the effort. And in deciding that, I was showing my family the exact same thing.
Because of that natural propensity to couching, I knew I was going to need support. Someone to tell me to get off my bum and to give me a high five when I did. Someone to help me keep doing it day after day even when I was over it.
Which is why in September of 2012, I created Operation Move. It started as an idea on my own blog, Kate Says Stuff and over time it grew. Women just like me with families and stress and busy lives and bad habits decided to give it a go as well. Each month we committed to moving for however many minutes we could, and each week we checked in with each other. And together we started getting stronger. We started getting fitter. All these non-athletic couch-preferring people just deciding to go for a walk or visit the local gym, and being held accountable to our OpMove family.
Then something amazing happened. Over time more and more people joined in. Every time I went for a run, no matter how much I couldn’t be bothered, all these people would give me props on Strava or comment on Twitter. And on those drag-your-heels type mornings, knowing what was waiting when I was done was enough to get me started.
All this time later I’m still faking it.
I still wake up inventing excuses not to move. But I get up and I put on my workout gear because if I wear it to school drop off then DON’T exercise I will feel like a tool. Some runs I spend nearly every minute thinking about what I will share on the Facebook page when I’m finished because I know there will be people telling me I am ace, even if I don’t think so in that moment.
Maybe we are all faking it, really? But what I know for a fact is that I am happier in myself than I ever have been before. I look different. I feel different. I am PROUD of what my body can do and I treat it with some respect after decades of loathing and abuse. And if I have to fake it to get started then that’s a small price to pay for awesomeness.
If you are good at faking it or if you like workout gear or if you want to feel really really good or if you just like coffee, I challenge you to give us a month. Come and check out our February Walk Challenge or our Learn to Run group. Join the forums and find your people and see what we can do to help you make it too.
How cool is Kate. I’ve been watching from the sidelines and she works so hard to make real changes. You have to admire that.
And here’s where I admit that I fake it too. I have signed up to the Operation Move forums, had a quick look around, but am yet to post a single entry. In fact, I am yet to put my actual sneakers on. I have gone for a few walks and have gone rollerskating, but I have not fully committed to the “community” or the exercise. But as I keep saying “I am taking things slowly”. At this stage I’m focussing on changing my food choices and abstaining from booze. I’m getting less tired and less grumpy. These are good things right?! Next week, I’m going to commit to do more exercise – even if it’s just adding one big walk to my weekly routine. Small steps people.
Do you fake it (and I’m not talking about in the bedroom)? Do you just push on through or let the negative voice in your head win?