April Fool's Day resolution: 'Restarting my restart'
Jeff Dauler, second from left, performs basketball drills with the Atlanta Hawks during kickoff weekend.
March 29th, 2012
05:30 AM ET

April Fool's Day resolution: 'Restarting my restart'

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:

  • I will run, bike, or swim six days of every week, and I will wear my Garmin and update Training Peaks with those workouts. (This will make my coach very happy.) I will drink 120 ounces of water per day.
  • I will consume food for fuel and not simply because it's there and I'm bored.
  • I will work on a regimen for the sole purpose of strengthening my core.
  • I will blog at least twice per week at my personal site, JeffDauler.com and will submit at least three blogs in April for CNN.com/FitNation.

And I'm only promising the above for the month of April.

Here's why:

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.

Good luck.

You can follow the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge on Facebook and Twitter.

soundoff (298 Responses)
  1. Karen

    love this! It is all about baby steps. Getting to that next telephone pole on your run or going one lap further in the pool. Triathlon is one big mental game. Keep it going!

    March 29, 2012 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. David Criswell

    Jeff, we hope you find TrainingPeaks to be a useful tool to track your training and nutrition, and keep you accountable, to yourself and your coach!

    Good luck in your tri!

    March 29, 2012 at 11:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Lauren

    WOW! As I approach my 35th birthday end of April – I'm using April as my re-engage in life month. Thanks Jeff for the motivation and honesty. We have to shut up that nasty voice in our heads. Good luck Jeff and keep it going!

    March 29, 2012 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Anjelica

    Jeff, you are truly an inspiration and I wish you well on this venture. Keep up the good work because you are inspiring others to step up to the plate and do something to improve themselves. That is what life is all about; continuing to evolve and grow and build on our successes.

    March 29, 2012 at 12:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Nancy Klinger

    I'm going to with you on this Jeff. May be the kick that I need.

    March 29, 2012 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. dowhatifeellike

    Congrats Jeff.

    Those mental barriers can be tough to overcome, but if you can focus on something inspirational it can work to your advantage. I ride my bike home from work, and reviewing the stresses of my day will often carry me for the first 25 minutes or so. By the time I get home, I'm done dwelling on work and ready to move on.

    March 29, 2012 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Michelle

    This is a phenomenal idea. I set the bar too high with my New Year's Resolution and this prevents me from being a total failure: re-gaging what is important and not overextending myself to only fall flat on my face and fail completely. THANK YOU!

    March 29, 2012 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Glenn

    hey Jeff I'm with you too brother.

    March 29, 2012 at 14:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Swim Bike Mom

    Wonderful, Jeff. Just great! I love this: "And then the voice was silent. Even when I consciously thought of it being gone, it stayed mute." Amazing. That's EXACTLY why I "tri"... to quiet the voices, to make sense of it all. Amazing.. and so ARE YOU.

    March 29, 2012 at 14:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. yourmom

    You should only run if you're being chased.

    March 29, 2012 at 16:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. BJohnson

    Getting my restart too Jeff, especially with it being my birthday, time to get back on it food wise. Gotta make smarter choices to the food I'm eating.

    March 29, 2012 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Kristin

    loved your story and your plan. I've been running for almost 30 yrs. I still "focus on the next marker in site" for every tough hill. Happy April!

    March 29, 2012 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Julie

    Great Challenge! I'm in. Thanks for the kick in the rear to get me "re"-motivated! And Good luck to you in meeting your goals!

    March 29, 2012 at 23:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Jennifer

    You are doing great on this challenge and I believe I can safely say you are an inspiration to us in a REAL way. We all need a re-start or to reafirm at some point in our lives. Keeping your eye on the short goals is a great idea. Here to cheer you on!!!! Thanks for sharing Jeff!

    March 30, 2012 at 08:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. eroteme

    What wonderful news! Way to go Jeff! Your goings-on make me feel good all over! It is such a pleasure to read about you! Please continue to expound on your progress or your lack of progress should that be the case. Should you have a lack of positive progress you could always lie, we wouldn't care.

    March 30, 2012 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Eizabeth

    Way to go Jeff! You are inspiring us all to get active and think about what we are eating. You should be proud!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Ronaldo

    My father-in-law was right. When you feel like exercising, just lay down for a while. The feeling will pass.

    March 30, 2012 at 14:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dennis

      It ill also show.It takes a lot of effort to accomplish that thought.

      April 1, 2012 at 10:21 | Report abuse |
  18. Syringa

    Good for you. Just keep clicking off the little things. Soon you will actually enjoy the runs. Or the bike rides. I used to do Tri races. Now I'm almost exclusive on the bike. It was the successes in the tri's that helped me find my sport. Hopefully this happens for you so it becomes a lifestyle thing.

    March 30, 2012 at 14:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. GBfromOhio

    Unless it involves chasing after a bouncing ball while holding a racquet, I don't run lol. Good luck with this, a worthwhile goal. I eat very healthy, do a lot of core, flexibility and balance training in addition to strength training and cardio, and play tennis, racquetball and table tennis. I lost about 18 pounds in three months without really trying to, cut out simple carbs like pasta and pizza etc. and replaced with veggies and greens, feel a lot better.

    March 31, 2012 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Baldwin4884

    I was disappointed, I thought the article was going to tell me that Rush went on a diet.

    March 31, 2012 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Dennis

    Before reading his article we all knew it wasn't the fat guy,Rush Limbaugh.The only parts of his body getting exercise are his mouth as he spews venom and his arms as he waves them in an animated gesture.One could be certain his brain is not getting exercsed daily.

    April 1, 2012 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. meperry

    Great for you! I have been running for three years, and those voices never completely went away. But that's not a bad thing. Best of luck to you!

    April 1, 2012 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Carrie @Tempo Llife coaching

    Beautiful post! I love that you recognize your head games and that you ran long enough for it to shut the heck up. Oh, we all have that voice…some louder than others. Mine often yells at an ear-piercing screech. I'm making changes too, as we start a new quarter in 2012!

    April 1, 2012 at 20:57 | Report abuse | Reply
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