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Putting you through your PACES in 2024


Welcome to 2024 from all of us at The Activation Project and #LeaderLine. This time of year is traditionally when we aim to try something new or make a change for the better by making New Year’s resolutions. The dictionary definition of resolution is, ‘a firm decision to do something’. So, let’s focus on the classic resolution – doing more exercise – and look at how we can turn a firm decision into a lasting habit.


Many of the stretched leaders we coach through LeaderLine struggle to do enough physical activity themselves and get more and more frustrated by this, as…

  1. They feel they already have the right mindset and acutely understand the life-enhancing personal physical and mental benefits

  2. They feel the pressure to be role models to their teams around making exercise a key part of their work-life balance

  3. The values and desired outcomes of the organisations they lead generally advocate, or are directly trying to influence and create, a more active nation


When it comes to activity, exercise and sport I’m a great believer in the 6-week rule, i.e. if you can stick at it for 6 weeks you’ll start to see and feel the benefits and therefore stay motivated enough to carry on.


To help my coachees get off to flying start, break through the 6-week barrier and then keep going I like to put them through their PACES. It’s a simple approach to explore and agree five elements that can make all the difference to achieving long-lasting change: PACES = Purpose, Alignment, Challenges, Enjoyment, Sustainability. Let’s take them one at time…

PURPOSE: Why do you want to do more activity anyway? If you can’t articulate what you want to achieve, how will you know what success looks like? So, the first step is to get some clarity of the goal, e.g. is it to get fit for good, lose weight, build resilience, boost mental health, muscle up, learn a new skill, complete an event, make new friends, or spend time with existing ones…

ALIGNMENT: Once you’re clear on your purpose, you need to identify what activities will help you achieve it, and it doesn’t have to be the thing you’ve always done in the past, after all you’re never too old to start something new, e.g. Running, yoga, walking, swimming, working out, netball, Pilates, tennis, climbing, golf, basketball, orienteering, squash, archery, football, badminton – there’s a long list…

CHALLENGES: What makes it hard for you to start and maintain a realistic routine, what have you tried before and why didn’t it work then or what stopped it? This is an important aspect to explore, as this is often what prevents people from getting to the golden 6-week mark, e.g. Access, cost, time, logistics, fear of the unknown…

ENJOYMENT: There’s really no point in starting something that your heart isn’t into, and there’s no way you will choose to do it when the alternative is to stay tucked in a warm bed or sit at your desk and eat your lunch. So, the question is, do you genuinely love or could you come to love activities you are considering enough? If the answer is a resounding yes, – it’s definitely worth pursuing, if your response waves towards a maybe or no, it may be worthwhile to keep thinking…

SUSTAINABILITY: Finally, what do you need to do to continue for long enough to start achieving your purpose? e.g. Create the right routine and plan to overcome the challenges, enlist some support and share the plan with them, set the right goals and  milestones, really understand what you need to do and how it can work alongside other priorities even when things change…


After we’ve worked through all the steps of #PACES the right activity choice will reveal itself and what’s great is that you’ve already built the right plan to get going!


To quote one of my coachees who is still very active 12 months after our first PACES conversation,I started small, I knew I was doing it for the right reasons, I see the benefit every day, I miss it if I don’t do it, it turns out the time was always there for me to do it – I just couldn’t see it before…I really do love it and how it makes me feel!

That’s PACES – feel free to use it, to make your resolution stick too.


PS Our company resolution is to start of the year with a cool new look so check out our shiny new website here and let us know what you think… www.activationproject.org.

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