News - 13th January 2021

Finding motivation


Killian Byrne, parkrun Ireland Board Trustee and former Operation Transformation Leader, shares his tips on finding motivation for your #parkrunresolution.


2020, what a year we’ve had! I don’t think I’d be alone when I say that I’m glad we have a new year ahead of us – 365 days full of opportunity.


Personally I’ve needed some considerable mental strength to pull myself together recently but I am also looking forward with excitement to what lies ahead.


Last week parkrun Ireland launched the #parkrunresolution campaign with a focus on the positive steps we can take to improve our lifestyles. It’s great to have this to motivate myself and set new goals for this year. My own personal resolution is to be more consistent in my exercise. No more starting at 100mph and then deciding that’s too much and sitting on the couch for three weeks!


Setting goals can be an important way of motivating ourselves. I set myself a step challenge last November to reach 500,000 steps for the month or 16,700 steps a day. I managed to achieve it, despite some challenges, because I had this target to aim for.


If you’re looking to get active for 2021, that would be my first bit of advice, set a reasonable, achievable goal and focus on how you will get there.


Second, I’d recommend that you share your goals. That may be with a note on the fridge for the family to see or by encouraging  some like minded friends to support you. Sharing the journey with others can really help you stay motivated and maintain momentum. You’re helping each other and, on a cold January night when you might not want to go out, you’ll find that a problem shared is a problem halved: you won’t want to let each other down. You’ll be there for each other.


Do what you enjoy doing. For too long health and fitness messaging has suggested that we should run, but that’s not for everyone. Lockdown restricted us in ways that we haven’t seen for generations, but many of us still found ways to be active in ways that were enjoyable and practical.  So, for this year, if walking is your thing then try to walk a little bit each day, if you prefer to cycle then focus on that  – we are more likely to build a habit if we are having fun whilst exercising.


I also find it useful to try to change my outlook. Instead of seeing exercise as a chore or a punishment to burn off the festive excesses, I try to see being active and moving my body as a celebration. In other words, try to switch your mindset from ‘having’ to exercise over to ‘getting’ to exercise, and try to seize that opportunity with both hands.


Finally, reward your efforts. Keep a record of what you’ve achieved even if it’s just a quick note in a calendar that you can look back and see how far you’ve come. That first day of your parkrun resolution journey might seem a million miles from where you are on day 30, day 60 or beyond. Be proud of, and celebrate, your achievements every step of the journey.


I’ve desperately missed parkrun over the last few months but I’m more optimistic today than any time recently. I really am looking forward to focusing on my #parkrunresolution, virtually supporting others in their journeys and also hopeful for a time when parkrun returns and we can all be together in person, walking, running and volunteering.


In the meantime, in making a #parkrunresolution we can unite as a parkrun Ireland family and be optimistic about what lies ahead. Why not join me and thousands of others in setting a goal and sharing the parkrun resolution journey!


Killian Byrne

parkrun Ireland Board Trustee and former Operation Transformation Leader

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