I was reading Runners magazine at the library today and there was something in there about really understand why you want your goals. Having this understanding makes it more likely you will stick to them, so I’m writing this to explore that.
For the month of January, I will be doing two things every day: running and writing.
For followers of my blog, you may have noticed that I am not blogging as much as I used to. There’s a few reasons for this: I’m tired; I am working on articles for other sites; I am basically in charge of a group blog called Species and Class; my self-esteem took a dump.
About those things: I am really happy that Upside Down Studios, a new website with an ethical lifestyle blog, is letting me create content for their page. And Species and Class is a learning experience for me, albeit a stressful one. The founder and main editor abruptly resigned and now I am managing it. I will also be contributing an article for another website sometime in the next couple of weeks, which I am very excited about.
But. Blogging is a lot harder than I thought it would be. Back when I started this blog, I basically envisioned myself writing posts every day, maybe even multiple times a day. There are bloggers I enjoy who are able to do that, and I admire them so greatly. But I personally could not hack writing new content every day plus working or job searching.
By the end of this past year, writing became more like a chore, something I wanted to put off doing. And then I’d feel guilty about that. And worried — I don’t want to lose followers and I know that by not creating new content, I run the risk of exactly that.
I am in a better mood now, mostly because I finally found a temporary job (it’s terribly amazing what unemployment does to one’s self-esteem) and because it’s a fresh new year. And now I have a new goal: which is not to create content every day, but simply to write every day.
I really want to be a runner, but I don’t feel like one. I am slow and awkward and I feel dumb while doing it. But I have this idea in my head that I will be a runner who can do marathons and ultras and trails and everything. The reality is that I barely made it through 10K back in November and my pace is around 12:45. I really hated running when I first started doing it (I can’t pinpoint when exactly I started running because I’ve been so on and off about it for a while), but now it has this stubborn appeal to it. I honestly prefer biking, but wouldn’t it be great to do a duathlon or a triathlon one day? That’s what I want to do. I want to be good at it and it’s frustrating me that I feel like I’m not “good” and I know I don’t have discipline. I’d run, feel good about it, and then not run for like a week or more. So then the next time I ran, I’d feel terrible, and not want to do it again.
But now I’ve decided! I am going to run a little bit, I don’t care how slow, every day, for the month of January.
And to be honest, my last few runs have got me feeling pretty good — On Christmas day, my boyfriend Spencer and I went for a 5K run down at the beach because it was abnormally gorgeous weather for December in New York. These little running accomplishments mark a return of my self-esteem and outlook on my life.
So that’s what #writeandrun31 is — a pledge to commit to running and writing (or any two activities of your choosing) every day for the month of January. I heard about it through Matt Frazier’s website, No Meat Athlete. A month or so after I went vegan (2 years ago now!), I went to the Vegetarian Festival with Spencer, and we met Matt who was promoting No Meat Athlete. I impulsively bought a “Runs on Plants!” shirt from him, even though I hadn’t ran in god knows how long. But Spencer is a runner — much more dedicated and stronger than I am — and I credit both him and Matt’s blog for inspiring and motivating me to run and to stick with it.
For my writing for the month, my focus won’t be on creating new content every day, but rather writing (or drafting) a blog post or doing a private free-write. Free-writes are, well, freeing, and will be focused primarily on my creative writing, like exploring ideas for stories or reflecting on my dreams the night before. I think this will help alleviate some of the “writing is such a chore!” sense I developed. I know it’s early on in the challenge, but I already feel better about blogging.
I’ll be posting about the journey as the month goes on! And with the publication of this post, Day 2 is officially done. 🙂