To put it simply - there are 4 steps, or thought processes, or whatever you want to call them that I went through, without really realizing it at the time.
1. "I can't." For a very long time, I told myself that there was no way that I could do any sort of running. I hurt too much, I was too out of shape, I didn't have enough time. Other people told me that I was too fat and too lazy. "Can't" is a very strong word, and it has the power to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, if allowed.
2. "I should." As my self-esteem started to improve by tiny increments, I started to realize that I did indeed need to do something about my health. While I wasn't morbidly obese, I was very out of shape - due to a combination of factors including my depression. But honestly, just changing my thoughts from I "can't" to I "should" made a huge difference. While "can't" implies that something will not happen, "should" implies that it can happen.
3. "I will." This is where my stubbornness came into play. Once I set my mind to something and decide that I am going to do it, there isn't much that will stop me. It might not get done immediately, but it WILL get done.
4. "I have." I have done it. I have started walking/jogging, I have completed 3 official 5Ks and a half-marathon. I have gotten healthier, I have increased my stamina, and I have accomplished something that I never thought that I could do.
This doesn't apply just to exercise, or getting healthy, or anything like that. These thought processes can be applied to any situation.
Think about it. Think about something that you've been putting off doing for whatever reason.
I can't clean my house.
I should clean my house.
I will clean my house.
I have cleaned my house.
I can't lose this extra weight.
I should lose this extra weight.
I will lose this extra weight.
I have lost the extra weight.
I can't give up my addiction.
I should give up my addiction.
I will give up my addiction.
I have given up my addiction.
I can't get a job.
I should get a job.
I will get a job.
I have gotten a job.
I can't get out of this horrible living situation.
I should get out of this horrible living situation.
I will get out of this horrible living situation.
I have gotten out of this horrible living situation.
I am absolutely not saying that something this simple will work for everyone, and I know that it most certainly will not work for every situation. Honestly, I didn't realize that this was the thought process that I was going through with the running until very recently - it started to hit me when I was having a brain dump while running this past week. And then I realized how these 4 steps could apply to so many different situations, especially in my life.
There are things that I know I should give up - caffeine, nicotine, fast food...
There are things that I need to do in order to stay true to my "2 year plan" - save money, get some bills paid off...
There are things that I need to do in the house - get more organized, keep things cleaner...
And I think that it's time to start putting some plans down on paper. Time for me to stop saying "I can't" and work toward saying "I have".