This past Friday while listening to Science Friday with Ira Flatow on NPR I heard his interview with Sherry Turkle, the author of Alone Together: Why we expect more from technology but less from each other – love me some good talk radio. Ms. Turkle shared her favourite quote from her book, and the phrase I remembered was about “designing around our vulnerabilities”. If we know something is going to put a hitch in our giddy-up, how do we plan around it? And that’s what we’ll be sharing this week – our vulnerabilities that get in the way of our workouts.
I thought I would have to ponder a bit about what my biggest vulnerability might be, but nope, the answer was right there, thanks helpful brain. A vulnerability is a part of ourselves that is ‘open to assault and difficult to defend’ or maybe we are more susceptible to criticism and fault-finding. My stone-in-my-shoe vulnerability is that I am easily discouraged. It doesn’t take much for me to start doubting myself. And if my running progress isn’t holding steady or heaven forbid, is declining, my motivation goes swooshing out the window.
I’ve yet to learn any foolproof ways to design my running program around discouragement and depression; simply saying exercise helps dissipate the blues doesn’t necessarily mean I do what’s best for myself. What helps is to mentally celebrate every single run, to say thanks at the end of every run – and to build up a memory reservoir of every finished run to have something to access on particularly bad days. And writing these words helps to acknowledge the difficulties of designing around my vulnerabilities while trying to sustain a running regimen over the long haul, so thanks, Ms. Turkle for the inspiration.