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The Change Designs Blog is a collection of insights, personal stories and real life experiences from people working in organizations. In this blog you will find real life stories depicting magical experiences and struggles, where the truth is richer, stranger and more practical than any theory or model. If you've ever wanted to read the diary of a leader, strategist, change agent, consultant, facilitator or a coach, or you are grappling with problems at work, then you will enjoy reading this practical blog.

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Barefoot Running-Resistance to change. Week 2

Ruth Tearle - Friday, March 16, 2012

Overcoming resistance means no more excuses.

Monday 12th March 2012

Today is my "No Excuses Day." I will get to the gym and run in my new shoes!

I wake up feeling ill. My head hurts. My stomach isn't happy. I barely have enough energy to make the coffee - let alone run. The kinder part of me is amused. Two ready excuses on a No Excuses Day. I motivate myself to simply pack my gym bag for a really short session. 10 minutes will be good enough for a try out. Before I know it, I'm at the gym. The shoes go on easily. I set the treadmill to 7% and begin walking. After a minute I try to run. I notice how, without any effort, my style has changed. I am landing on the side of my feet. There is no jarring on the knee at all. I continue running - for about a minute. My breathing hurts. My calves are straining. After a year and a half off running, I have forgotten how tough running is. After 1 minute I revert to walking, and then alternate between walking and running for 12 minutes in total. I am delighted my knee doesn't hurt. But the rest of me does. It is going to be a long journey before I can do 20 minutes continuous running!

Tuesday 13th March 2012

There is less resistance from me today. When I am tired of thinking, I go to the gym. I slip on my shoes, wiggle my toes, and the shoes are on. I am surprised at how easy it is. I get onto the treadmill, walk for a minute, and then begin running. My knee hurts! It takes me 20 seconds to think about the three simple instructions my doctor gave me. Wear natural running shoes. Set the incline to 7% and build up. I was so excited about getting my shoes on, that I forgot the second instruction. I was running on a flat surface. That is why my knee hurt. I set the incline to 7% and my knee holds. 

It reminds me of a basic principle of mastering any change - The 21 rule. They say it takes 21 times of being aware and practising something new until it becomes a habit. 

Being aware takes effort. It means that instead of letting my mind wander while I run, I have to focus on how my feet are striking, how my knee is feeling, and how the machine is set. But I know that without the discipline of awareness, I will simply go back to my old habits of running without thinking. Unless something (like pain) or someone gives me feedback, on what I are doing, I simply won't master the new way of running. 

Today I did 19 minutes - of alternating walking with running. And I was aware of what I was doing for at least half of the time.

Wednesday 14th March

My knee feels sore today. But I am still motivated. So I go to gym and do some knee friendly exercises. 10 minutes rowing. 10 minutes on the bike and a few floor exercises. Not sure if that is an excuse or not... It is 3pm as I climb onto a chair to reach something, I miss my footing and land heavily on my knee. If it hurt slightly before, it really hurts now.

Thursday 15th March

I slept badly last night. Feeling like I can barely hold anything together. Didn't run. Didn't go to gym.

Friday 16th March

It is cold and rainy. The one thing I really don't feel like doing today, is going to the gym. I have an internal discussion with myself. My higher self says "Who is stronger? A few lazy brain chemicals - or me?" My weaker self responds "You don't have time to run today, you have too much work to do." The lazy chemicals win the battle.

But then I remember that it is time to update this blog. What will I write?  Can I really say that I haven't run for three days because of excuses? I notice a few more people have signed up for this blog. Talk about external pressure! I pack my gym bag and off I go.

Climbing the stairs to the change room is difficult. Every muscle in my body is rebelling. I slip on my shoes. I climb the stairs to the treadmill - aching and grumbling. I set the machine to 20 mins and the grade to 7% and begin. Alternating one minute walking, one minute running. The first 6 minutes takes forever. I stop for a drink. The next 14 minutes passes in half the time of the first six. But I can run. Without pain in my knee. And its good.

I have made a start. If it takes 21 times of practicing something new to create a new habit, I have done 3 practice sessions. Now I just have to adopt a "no excuses policy" for another 18 times. The battle between lazy brain cells and the higher me continues.

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