Let’s say you want to be a runner. You want the health benefits that come with it: losing weight, looking good at the beach, lowering your blood pressure, having more energy, thinking more clearly, etc.

But you don’t start. Or you do start every now and then, but never follow through on a consistent basis. Why not? You say you want to be a runner! Do you? Then why don’t you run?!

The last time I took a run seriously was a half marathon in 2013. (Nearly five years ago.) Prior to that, I had quit running around 2006, while in the best running shape of my life. I told myself I didn’t feel like it anymore.

I’m sick of running.
I don’t really need to run. Not yet, anyway.
I don’t have time for it.
The weather is too cold/windy/wet/hot/sunny.
I’m not the kind of person to obsess about it.
I’ve never been a “great” athlete.
I’ll get around to it some time.

Notice that none of those beliefs are consistent with the change I want to make. In fact, you could argue that for a long time, my beliefs were more important to me than making the change.

So I kept them. Until they didn’t serve me anymore.

Now I have a new set of beliefs.

I enjoy exerting myself.
I feel smarter and have more clarity when I workout.
It’s a fun way to spend time with my family.
Working out gives me time to listen to podcasts and audiobooks.
I can workout any way I choose (bike, run, walk, nordic ski, lift, HIIT, shovel snow…)
Being active is part of who I am.
I like the way it makes me look and the confidence it gives me.
Soreness feels like accomplishment.

Are these really new? No. I’d been an athlete all my life. But until I actually believed these things again– and decided the previous beliefs were either false or irrelevant– I wasn’t going to change. And I didn’t. Making a change requires giving up beliefs that let you rationalize your choices. I let my anti-running arguments win, when of course, being in shape was never about running anyway.

How much do you want to keep the beliefs that are holding you back? Are they worth it?