On Sunday, May 1, while most Cincinnatian runners were competing in the misty rain and gloomy weather at the Flying Pig Marathon and Half Marathon, I was recovering from the Country Music Half Marathon held the day before, which was a beautiful, sunny day in Nashville. No, I’m not going to go on and on about how bad our weather has been around here lately, because I know you know. I mention it only because seeing the sun was a topper to a great experience.
The stars were aligned for me that Saturday. I did have a great race, but more importantly, I had a great experience that I’d like to tell you about in hopes that it will give you some thoughts to ponder about reaching goals. On the shuttle bus headed for the start line, I met Lori, who shared her story of what brought her there. As I listened, I realized that without even noticing it, she had reached her goals by utilizing three key behavior change concepts. These concepts are outlined in the book, Change or Die, by Alan Deutschman, and hopefully I can bring them to light with Lori’s help.
Lori started out by telling me that she never dreamed she could even run a mile, much less 13 of them. But that day she was completing her second half-marathon and very confident she would cross the finish line and enjoy every minute of it. Her dream started on its path as she watched the contestants on her favorite TV show, The Biggest Loser. Lori and her sister were increasingly inspired by the contestants’ progress – especially following the episode where the very-overweight contestants completed a marathon. Lori’s sister told her, “If those guys on The Biggest Loser, who weigh 300 and 400 pounds can run a marathon, certainly we can lose half that weight and run half that distance”.
Those inspiring words were exactly what Lori needed to get going. She and her sister vowed to start the journey together…with small steps, literally. They noted that the contestants didn’t start out running, they walked a little at first…and then added to it. So they started walking. They also took the nutritional tips to heart and started practicing some of the eating habits from the show. Mile by mile and tip by tip, they started making progress until walking turned into running and they were eating more healthfully. Using these methods, they both lost over 50 pounds and were successful in their goal to finish a half marathon.
If we break it down, what was it that they did to be successful? They utilized 3 key concepts of change:
1) Relate: forming new emotional relationships with a person or community that inspires or sustains hope. Lori related to the contestants on The Biggest Loser and was inspired by the fact that if they could lose that much weight and run that far, she could move in that direction too.
2) Repeat: learning, practicing and mastering new skills and habits. Lori took note of the new habits and practices being mastered by The Biggest Loser candidates and tried them out.
3) Reframe: learning new ways to think about your situation and life. Lori’s sister brought to life a new way to look at things – that if those guys could run a marathon with all that weight on them, they could certainly do ½ that!
So take some time to think about that goal that you really want, but haven’t taken a step toward it yet. Is there something you can do to relate, repeat and reframe?