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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 week 6-7. Mastering small transitions

Ruth Tearle - Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The hardest part of any change, is managing transitions. I struggle with the transition between sleeping and waking. I have no trouble sleeping, and once I'm up, I am fine for the day. But falling asleep and waking up is difficult. I've also noticed that the most difficult part of running, is not running, but rather it is the transition between sitting and exercising. It is packing my gym bag and grabbing my car keys.

Does this mean that the real challenge of sustaining a change or achieving any goal is really about mastering small transitions?

Monday 16th April

Achieving anything new is really about mastering small transitions.
I tear myself away from my computer and pack my gym bag. Driving to gym is easy. Getting my shoes on is a cinch. Going up the stairs to the treadmill feels harder. I easily set the treadmill to the 7% incline, and the time to 20 minutes. Walking is easy. I begin running. I wonder if I can do 2 minutes running this time, and 1 minute walking. My lungs are working hard, but its doable. In fact its great. The 20 minutes whizz by.

Tuesday 17th April.

It is one of those days where I am just too busy at work. I rush from one task to the next. Taking time out to run, just falls right off my priority list. Besides, I do believe my knee is hurting. By the end of the day, even though I achieved at work, I am feeling crabby and depressed.

Wednesday 18th April

My knee is hurting. I wonder if I should run today. But if the hardest part of change is managing transitions, or changing a focus, then the next habit I need to form, is simply getting to the gym. Deciding that I will have a knee friendly gym session today, means I have no excuse. I motivate myself to pack my bag. At gym, I do 10 minutes rowing and 10 minutes on the bike and a few strengthening exercises. I feel great.

Thursday 19th April

Do I run today? It is always a battle to move away from my computer and pack my gym bag. I am always in the middle of something. At the gym, my toes won't cooperate and it take a few minutes to get my shoes on. I wonder if I can do 2 and a half minutes running for every minute of walking. I walk a minute and then run. The first two minutes goes easily enough. My lungs are bursting for the last half a minute. I walk for a minute. I repeat the process. But I find that the transitions between walking and running are harder than running itself. I reckon that running for longer, means less transitions. My 20 minutes of running seems easier today. I only have 6 transitions to get through.

Monday 23rd April

When it becomes a habit, you are on your way to achieving your goal.

I've never really understood why people say that managing change is about managing habits - until today. When I feel tired at work, without thinking, I head to the gym. I do my 20 minutes of alternating between running and walking. 2 and half minutes running to one minute walking. I am surprised at how easy it is emotionally. No agonizing. No resistance. Just a bit of breathlessness as I run.

Wednesday 25th April.

Once you're done with resisting, change is easy. It is even enjoyable.

I am starting to enjoy my running. Instead of requiring discipline to get me to the gym, I now see my running as a treat. With loads of benefits. I feel more alive. I've developed calves again. And the weight is sliding off my body.

Now that I'm in the habit of running, I have exchanged emotional battles with physical ones. I am struggling to breath. I could use the excuse of being an asthmatic - but I know I simply need to build up my aerobic fitness slowly. A half a minute a week. Next week I will run 3 minutes for every one minute of walking.

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