Once upon a new year, there was a story that had a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Alex’s new notebook was laid out on the desk, the pen by its side. A hot cup of tea was ready for drinking.
“My resolution is to go running,” Alex wrote.
“I will run every day, come rain or shine! At home or away, sprightly or tired, run I shall!”
And so, Monday to Sunday, Alex ran. On days where it felt great, on days where it was an inconvenience, and on days when it was the last thing anyone could have wanted to do.
On Monday, Alex went to work early. The train home was late, then cancelled, then overcrowded, then cancelled again. No time to run before the pub quiz. Run or pub quiz? Pub quiz.
“I must run twice tomorrow!” wrote Alex. “Before work, and an easy jog in the evening. Run I shall!”
On Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Alex didn’t run.
Friday night. The notebook was on the desk (under the electricity bill, a pizza menu and yesterday morning’s tea mug).
Ping. A WhatsApp from Sam.
“Coming for a run? Coffee after! Cal is coming too. Come!”
Alex is reluctant, but Alex runs.
A few Saturdays later.
The notebook is filling up with ideas, plans, dreams.
Alex likes to run on Saturdays, for chats, coffee, fresh air. To feel feelings and shake off the days in between.
A resolution not kept isn’t a failure. Rather, it is the first setting of the pendulum, where we pull it right over to the far side, ready to drop. We release the pendulum and ride out the swing. Back and forth, we succeed and fail, succeed and fail. With the gradually decreasing swings we find the sweet spot.
Those first swings, the biggest ones, are where the drop is biggest and we need to hold on tightest. We use up the most of our brave. We are tired. But eventually, if we accept the back and forth – if we accept that we have succeeded and failed, succeeded and failed – we find our centre. The habit which fits our own centre of gravity, our sense of self.
Claire Eadington geeks out on workflow management, performance and wellbeing. Claire’s TEDx talk about barriers to performance for exceptional women kicked off the 2017 TEDxWhitehallWomen event in London.
Claire writes a weekly blog, Self Curious, on NPW’s website.
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