700km in Selfies

Back in December, I told you about my running streak that started with James Clear’s Atomic Habits book.

Well... I had a little setback. I ended up with a hamstring issue that turned into a painful injury. 6 weeks of ZERO running later, with the help of Sean the athletic therapist, I have been able to get back out there without my hamstrings seizing up and throwing my hips all out of whack.

The first few runs back felt pretty good considering that I thought I needed to give up running forever. But it was so frustrating to feel slow, sore, and incapable after putting so much effort into improving my speed and distance. I felt exhausted after runs that I used to find breezy, and I didn't look forward to lacing up my shoes like I used to.

And then. Ho-Lee-Shit. The fucking habit stacking principle in James’ book came to my rescue.

So, here’s what I never mentioned in my last post: I took a selfie after every single run. Over 100 runs. Over 100 copies of my sweaty face! Why? Because James told me to build on newly developed habits by stacking new habits on top of them.

My speed and distance logged were overshadowed by facts that couldn’t be captured by my running app. The content of those silly selfies reminded me that focusing on the process is so much more rewarding than the outcome.

1. I ran in every condition. Ice, extreme heat (ohhh, Puerto Rico!), snow. I ran in the dark after a long day of work. I ran in the morning to beat the heat.

2. I ran on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, my birthday. Maybe holidays aren’t the best example of what I’m trying to get across...because, really, I was running so that I could stay out of the kitchen.

3. I ran with friends. Sometimes in silence because we were exhausted from running. Sometimes we had meaningful conversations. As I look at their sweaty faces next to mine - they had no choice, and there were NO retakes! - it reminds me of what an important role community plays in keeping up a fitness routine.

4. I ran a couple of races. I set a goals. I achieved them.

These 700km in selfies bring make me smile from ear-to-ear. They remind me of the joy, satisfaction, challenges, and friendship that I felt throughout the process. It is making it so much easier to work through this little slump and stay motivated to keep moving... even if I am a little slower.

How can you set yourself up now, so that when you hit a little setback, it won't derail you forever?