March 29th, 2012
05:30 AM ET
Jeff Dauler is one of seven CNN viewers participating in the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. Three months into the program, he's using the month of April to reaffirm his commitment to an active lifestyle.
"I'm doing a triathlon in 2012" is one sentence that contains a couple dozen New Year's resolutions. I needed to train every day. Eat healthy. Go to bed early. Drink more water. Drink less beer. Manage my time better. Blog frequently. Give my life over to my coach. Make the triathlon a priority, no matter what.
That announcement was almost three months ago. I've come far … but not far enough.
I have to make some April Fools Day resolutions. I have to re-resolve. I took Dr. Sanjay Gupta's challenge because I needed a restart after a tumultuous 2011.
I'm restarting my restart.
Starting on April 1, I'm making some promises:
And I'm only promising the above for the month of April.
A few weeks ago, I accidentally ran my first 5K. I was on a trail near my house that I've walked or run no less than 100 times. I know it intimately. I set out to jog a few 15 minute sets, and as soon as my feet moved from walk to run, my head started to play its usual games with me. I heard "that" voice loud and clear.
"Your shins hurt. You're getting splints. Walk."
"Your back hurts."
"You didn't hydrate, you're going to get cramps."
"I think you're missing a really important email. Go get your iPhone."
I decided to run until I didn't hear that voice anymore.
I started to think about anything and everything just to clear my head.
I thought of my upcoming move. Bills I needed to pay. Friends I needed to call. The voice was still there, but the announcements were becoming less frequent.
I thought of groceries I wanted to buy. My car I wanted to sell. My brother Dave in North Carolina and my parents in New York and their annual visit this summer. Errands I had to run.
A trip I recently went on. Some pictures I needed to edit. A return to make at the mall.
And then the voice was silent. Even when I consciously thought of it being gone, it stayed mute.
This was a milestone.
My head wasn't trying to convince my body to stop this running nonsense. I realized that I was past the halfway point on the trail, so I decided to keep going.
I became a 5K version of Forrest Gump.
It was hard. It wasn't what I planned on doing. But I saw a hill up ahead and decided to repurpose that annoying voice. I used it to tell my body to just run over the hill. When I cleared the hill, I used it to tell my body to get to the fork in the trail. Then to the bridge. Then back to the main trail. And then I saw the finish line.
I ran a 5K. Because once I won that mental game of "shut up," I was able to use that head space to shorten the challenge ahead. I stopped worrying about the finish line that was so far off, and just focused on the next marker that was in my sight. Stack a few of those together, and the complete race happened.
That's what the month of April is for me. It's a marker in my sight. This month, I'm not looking at the triathlon in Malibu (a little less than six months from now - yikes!) but just these next four weeks. I can do anything for thirty days. Easy.
So can you. Join me.
Make an April resolution … or reaffirm the January one. Start anew again. It's springtime. New beginnings. Fresh blooms. And when that voice starts protesting, just keep going. It'll shut up, you just need to let it know you're the boss.
My guess is that by the time May gets here, we'll all just keep on doing what we're doing and add a couple May resolutions as well. And I'll bet we'll have left all those negative, complaining voices back in April.
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.