A New Year … a new you! What are your resolutions for 2015?
Check out ten ways that running with Team World Vision can help transform your life!
This New Year, I am committing to a healthier and more purposeful 2015. How about you? To be honest, I have a rather poor track record for sticking with my resolutions. I’m not alone. University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year goals.
But don’t fall into despair and think, “Why bother?” This year can be different.
It’s time to get motivated. If you’re like me, we need all the encouragement we can get. Here’s 10 surprising benefits that I’ve discovered while running with Team World Vision that will help you get healthy, keep you motivated, and transform your life.
- Tangible goals help you be successful. One of the most powerful ways to get started is to sign up for a race. First, you decide your fundraising goal and your race goals, but the key to success is to break it down into achievable, incremental goals. For example, instead of saying that I want to run a half marathon and get lots of people to donate money by race time, I break it down to something like: “This week I want to increase my weekly running mileage by 10% and ask 3 more people for a $100 donation.”
- Develop a healthy habit of exercise that sticks. You may have heard that it takes 21 days to develop a habit, but that’s a myth. A study from the European Journal of Social Psychology shows that on average it takes 66 days before a new behavior becomes automatic. The Team World Vision training plan for a half marathon is 12 weeks. That’s plenty of time for you to develop a healthy habit that will help keep you motivated long after the race is over!
- Sharing your story keeps you accountable. Once you start telling others that you are raising money for clean water projects, your friends and family will be captivated by your story. When they donate to your campaign they are not just investing in the lives of needy children, they are investing in you! You won’t want to let them down. That will keep you accountable and help strengthen your resolve to be ready for race day.
- Grow in your faith through perseverance. Hebrews 12:1 describes the spiritual life as a race: “Let us run with endurance the race marked out for us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (ESV). If you are a person of faith, and running with Team World Vision is an act of obedient response to God, it will no doubt reap spiritual growth in your life. You might discover that running against the wind builds mental toughness that translates to increased perseverance in other areas of your life.
- Be more productive and creative. Try to resist the urge to listen to music when you run. Use the time to let your mind wander. Chances are, you’ll discover the solution to that problem you’ve been trying to solve and be energized for the rest of the day!
- Discover the joy of running. It’s real. You really can enjoy running. I hated running when I first started, but I honestly love it now. You can find the joy of running too, but it takes time. For me, it took 6 weeks of running, 3 or 4 days a week before I started to “run happy.” Give yourself permission to do an easy jog at least once or twice a week. Enjoy the benefits of being fit! It will help you prevent burnout and over-training.
- Gain a greater sense of purpose. We all crave to do something epic. It’s great if your day job is meaningful, but there is something powerful about committing to a voluntary effort. Participating on a Team World Vision team requires you to be generous with your time, effort, gifts, talents, passions … every part of you. When you live generously, you increase your capacity to bless others, and thus live a life full of purpose. “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, with through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:11 (ESV).
- Connect with other runners. People call running an individual sport, but most runners will say differently. Team World Vision runners are powerfully connected together by a common goal to complete their best race and make a difference in the lives of children. Support from other runners is very important—there’s nothing quite like a good training partner to help get you out the door. And with each shared stride, you are forging a long-lasting friendship.
- Cultivate gratitude. Asking for money is a humbling experience. When people give, remember to say, “Thank you.” Gratitude is like a muscle, which requires exercise to stay fit and functional. Each time you say “thank you,” you are cultivating a heart of thankfulness. There is a growing body of scientific evidence that shows that thankfulness offers a range of benefits including better mood, stronger relationships, and better health.
- Success breeds more success. Try success and you might just like how it tastes. Once you accomplish a goal, it’s amazing how it can motivate you to set ever increasing goals. The trick is always keeping another achievable goal in front of you. For example, if you are new to running, sign up for your first 5K. When you complete your first 5K, have a plan for your next goal; perhaps a 10K. Then build up to a half marathon and then a full marathon. Step by step, you’ll be doing what you previously thought was impossible.
Daniel Carver, better known as Dano, enjoys writing long run-on sentences (cheesy pun intended). When he’s not working his day job as an Account Executive or trying to keep his two young daughters Danika and Tori alive (3 years and 1 year, respectively), he can be found jogging a 10 minute mile or painting with acrylics in a small tree-fort-like studio loft.
He’s the team leader for Half Crazy, a group of runners from the U.S. World Vision office in Federal Way, WA who are running the 2015 Seattle Rock & Roll half marathon. The team goal is to collectively raise at least $15,000 – the cost of a well in Africa, which can help provide clean water to 300 people. Follow Dano on Twitter.