When we think about what stops us getting out there and being active, most often we might think of physical reasons – like worrying about not being fit enough or embarrassing yourself in front of others. But what I’ve realised in the last few months is the mind can play a big part in stopping you from doing things too.
My first experience with Jog Derbyshire and the Draycott Joggers at the end of the summer [read the blog here] was a great one. Despite my mind telling me I hated jogging thanks to prior experience, it actually turned out I wasn’t too bad at it and more importantly I really enjoyed it.
Since then I’ve been out with another couple of groups – Jog Crich and Alfreton Jog Club – and had an equally good experience. Each time pushing slightly more than what I thought I was capable of. So one lunchtime, spurred on my enjoyment of it, I decided to brave it on my own and go for a lone jog.
What a disaster that was. In the cold light of day and without a group to hide behind I suddenly felt completely alone, thinking everyone was staring at me. Despite knowing I was physically capable of it, my mind just wouldn’t let me do it. I’d nervously try a few steps, see someone approaching and quickly return to a walk. Eventually I admitted defeat and returned home with my tail between my legs.
Fast forward a few months and the arrival of Jog into January gave me the shove I needed to give my local group – Chesterfield Jog/Run – a go. They literally go from the bottom of my road. I’d watched them go past my window as I settled in for my nightly shift in front of the TV but I still hadn’t quite taken the plunge to join them.
The turn out on that first night was amazing, a good 20 or so people braving wind and rain to try something new. Being a part of a group of people all starting on the same journey was really nice. Despite it being a mix of complete beginners and some getting back into to it after a break, there was a real sense of everyone being in it together.
As we approached the mid-way point the regularity of going out with the group had given me some more confidence. People were coming back each week with tales of having gone out on their own and I decided it was about time I tried again too.
After struggling with cabin fever during a few days of rubbish weather I was desperate to get some fresh air. Instead of doing what I’d usually do – have a quick walk round the block – I announced quite proudly that I was off out for a jog.
And that’s exactly what I did. I didn’t stop every time I passed a stranger, I just did what I knew I could do. Sounds so simple doesn’t it? This time it did feel a bit more simple, but it certainly wasn’t when my mind had other ideas.
Moral of the story? Never accept that you can’t do something just because you think you can’t. Don’t let one bad experience stop you from doing something and don’t worry if you have setbacks along the way. You could be missing out on something pretty special.