Quitters day is only a week away.

So those of you who took a new years resolution, have you quit yet??  Are you thinking of quitting??  Bet you can't go a week longer?

Image credit: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/
According to Strava and a number of other sources, 80% of New Year resolutions die out around the second week of February (Strava claims the 12th Feb). 

So as we are only 7 days away, how are you doing?  How has the past one month and one week been?   Is the resolution in tatters, wavering or still a full-bloody-minded force to be reckoned with??

If you've stumbled across my blog reading the endurance cycling bits and have been inspired to ride further, keep at pushing through!   January here in the Northern hemisphere can be harsh but judging by the high temp headlines coming from Australia, you southerners have your own challenges.   This winter I've had various sub-zero rides ranging from 1 to 5 hours, the roads are gritty and salt strewn, can be exposed to winds and washed through at times, but there are a lot of highlights.   Riding wrapped up at -6C in the early morning sun with you body temperature coming up into cruiser mode is a joy.   Feeling the early morning Sun across frosty fields and seeing the mist rise inspires to ride on.

What did you promise yourself?

As a reader, there are certain questions I can ask but only you can answer.   If you stated on December 31st that "2019 will be the year that I........." only you can tell if you are on track to close the year with "2019, that was the year that I......"   As the blog hits the publish date coming up to 80% of those resolutions are starting to break, so isn't time to give your resolution a rocket up the arse??

For specific resolutions, my blog can't help.   If you want to be the savior of the US and remove Donald Trump you:
  1. May be an inspired idealist and been inspired to go into local and national politics.   Go you!   Trump is likely to be out of office before you get there, but dream big!
  2. A seasoned US Senator and politician with the true potential to oust Trump through politics or legal.  If you are, kudos to you, and I doubt you need my advice over your team of political advisers.
  3. A fringe radical with a gun and potential unbalance mental state.   If you are, please speak to someone and put the gun down.
For those with more manageable resolutions (getting fitter, getting in shape, changing a lifestyle habit), then there is time to be in that 20% who go on and make the changes stick long term, so get yourself into the 20% club.   Even better, be in the 8% club that last the whole year and improve themselves long term.

Rephrasing your ambition

If you feel that your new years resolution is fading, readdress the phrasing of your resolution.  I don't mean "I was going to run a marathon, but fuck it, if I can watch a TV marathon, that's the same, right?"   If you're of that logic, you're well into the 80% that's pretty much wasted and probably giving up reading this post right about......now.  Thoughts like that are just stupid, run in to r/Fatlogic and you've probably hung around Facebook and Tumblr too much.

On the run up to the 31st of December, wild optimistic ideas usually under the influence of alcohol give batshit crazy ideas.  Some are crazy good, but know which ones are crazy unrealistic and if they are, look at rephrasing it into something that can be worked.
Rephrasing should along the lines of taking your original crazy idea;
"my god, my resolution was ambitious! I intended to to C25K in a month, half marathon by end of Feb and a marathon 5 weeks later! What the fuck was I thinking!"    
And rephrasing the resolution into something more manageable, such as;
"I've still got 5 Christmas bellies, so C25K mid Feb.   1/2 marathon will be June and I will complete a Marathon in November.   No fast times, but I'll do the distance.   Now to focus on mid-Feb......"
Your New Years resolution is still there (running a marathon), but now manageable.   Splitting it into chunks means that now you can actually see the wood, trees, and take time to smell the fawner too. 

Hey, while going for the impulsive batshit crazy ambition, do a 5k Park Run to see what it's like.  Could be an hour of hell one Saturday morning, or a decent surprise of "I enjoyed that!" without too much effort (realistically, 90 minutes of your week, or 1.3% of your weeks waking hours).   Whatever the outcome, biggest respect will come from "I did that.  I was breathing through my bum hole, it hurt, but hell I did that!"

If you've done that, re-running 5k then isn't too much of an alien concept.  May sting abit, but not as much s the first time.   If you've done it once, you can do it again.   And it really can't be as bad as the first time, right?  You can do the same Park Run for familiarity, or go solo and explore a little (personally, I like the explorer option and see something new.  Repetition is good so that you don't overthink the route planning, but variations on a theme are far more enjoyable).

If you can do 5km and re-run 5k's and still enjoying it, then stretch it a little longer and further.  Be curious - what's around the next corner in the park?   Can I run for 60 minutes?  What if I run to the Park Run?   If I run past that shop, who will I see there this time?  Can I get to the next set of traffic lights?

(Confession time:  I used to do a running loop when I lived in Chester.   The loop went out from my student digs, ran down past the rowing sheds on the river Dee, up onto the city walls and back to my digs.  As I got fitter part of my motivation was not to look like I was about to blow my last breath while going past the rowing sheds.  My tactic was to pace myself and look strong all the way along that section down by the river and past the sheds.  Why?  Rowing girls.
  • The sections before the rowing sheds; Warm up and pace it evenly but conserve energy.  
  • Along the river front and by the sheds:  "Hey girls! Look! I can run a million miles!"  
  • The section after the sheds:  "My God my legs hurt!!  Why did I do that pace along there while the girls were doing their rowing warm up?!?!  What was I thinking!?!?   They're way fitter than me!  As long as I can survive and get home, I can die in pain there!"
After a few weeks/months of doing this, I was getting to be a better runner.   By the time I was reaching the post-shed section a couple months in, I was getting more comfortable and could sustain those paces for longer.   A very unofficial structure workout......)

By the time you are getting to 7.5km to 8km on a run, mentally and physically 10km isn't too much more.   So if you haven't got a 10km run booked or looking at a local longer Park Run, time to look at getting it booked in!

So you're at the start of your 10k.   Feel familiar?  Does it feel a bit like your first 5k?   If all goes well, you've completed the first complete manageable chunk of your run towards the marathon.   Now have a look at the last couple of paragraphs and repeat but with a bit more distance each time. 

And that is how habits form.......

As the resolution goes from 0% to 15% to 30% done, tweaks will be needed (techniques, nutrition, shoes choices, clothes......) but all the time, you are banking that resolution.   By Feb 12th, you're resolution won't be complete, but it won't have failed.

The perpetual "Quitters day is only a week away"

Building on the theme of keeping going, one way of think is to always putting it off.   Not "I can put off that run/swim/bike/exercise to another day.....and another day.......and another day......." until it's never done, but think of it as "I can always quit next week."   As next week is always 7 days away, then that's quit in 7 days time.   Every night, the clock resets, and guess what?   Another 7 days!   Just like putting of doing, you can also put off quitting.   If quitting day is always just over the horizon, and you keep motivated to get to the horizon, then quitting is perpetually "only a week away."

Consistency is key, get making it a habits

To do 100% of anything is a massive effort, BUT doing 1% of the task 100 times is more manageable.   If you do 1% per day, everyday, for 100 days, guess what happens on the 100th day?   Which is where consistency and habits makes this work.   Think of these consistencies on micro and macro cycles going into the single objective.

If I have a 1% 100 day plan, I can try to do 1% every day.   But it never works.   Family, parties, events, travel, holidays, disruptions all get in the way and the master plan then becomes the unworkable plan.   But if I can do 1.2% some days, 0.8% others, even 0.1% on one day and 2% on another and average 1% throughout, then tracking stays in focus because the micro cycle is variable but the macro cycle (any week or 10 day period) needs to roughly on track.   Again, if my 10 day or weekly cycles fluctuate (week 1 I excel to exceed my target but the holiday in week 2 drops it below) I can try and maintain a monthly target.

And if you want to go down the Team Sky / Brailsford philosophy of marginal gains, 1% extra every 10 days would give 10% extra by the end of the 100 day cycle.   Or averaging 1.1% per day would have the same effect, and how much effort would that be?   Equally, 1% missing every 10 days or settling for 0.9% per day average means you have either to settle at 90% done at the end of the time frame or you need to do an extra 10 days.

So quit next week.   You know, that "next week" which is always over the horizon.   Quit then.


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