Sunday, January 13, 2013

Run with It!

Disclaimer: South African Oscar Pistorius is not a marathon runner. However, he's the most inspiring image for this post. 

 We've all heard the phrase - Life is a marathon, not a sprint.

Marathon means running and endurance. Our life is not to just subsist and exist every day, but to get stronger and make progress. The sprinter needs to get to their short term goal quickly. Marathoners can take their time. And, they don't always make it or they may get broken along the way, physically or spiritually. The ones who break through the end have that look of incredulous pride as they're running with that ribbon stuck on their chest.

Everyone's running a marathon. I'm not referring to a physical running marathon a la "Chariots of Fire." We've got our own variations of marathons. We all have our paths in life. We have personal goals whether it's to lose 20 pounds or come up with the next Facebook concept or have a cupcake shop or just get into the corner office. Everyone's fired up this part of early January. Making changes in diet, exercise, careers to name a few. I do have a friend who is keeping his goals achievable by claiming his resolution is to try and drink scotch. 

1. First Step: I always joke that the hardest part about working out is tying sneakers. Really, once you get the shoes on, you can move forward with your intentions. When you've identified what your first step needs to be, it's bloody hard to do it. Sometimes it catches you off guard that you're being pushed into your first step. All you can do is take a deep breath and keep moving.

2. Stumbles: It's frustrating when you do feel like you're losing steam and not even sure why you're doing this. Somehow there's always something positive - perhaps very small - that happens that encourages you to stay on your path. These are the cups of cool water that are passed to marathoners. Runners drink or pour the water on their heads and keep going. Those are the little positive perks that remind you that you're not in it alone.

3. Are We There Yet?:  I'm in the middle of my own marathon right now - trying to keep my eye on the goal. It's frustrating because changes are not happening as quickly as I want. However, I've been encouraged recently that seeds I planted earlier are blossoming now. We have to go through this leg to learn patience and endurance.

4. Take a Look Back: Sometimes you don't know how far you've come, until you look behind you to see where you started. There needs to be an introspection and a time to congratulate and acknowledge your progress. You could be upset you've only lost 1lb after a week of hard work and have more to go. However, that 1 lb is 4 sticks of butter. That's amazing!

5: Finish Line: I'm not sure if there is a finish line. We are always realigning ourselves to new goals and achievements. If we don't, then there's no point in living.

I've seen many people who have lost that fire for their personal marathons. Their dullness and negativity is overwhelming. They just exist. It's awful because life is a gift that we've been given. We wake up every morning. There are many people did not do that today. You don't just take it for granted and live day to day in sameness, letting apathy rule.

This post is to encourage those who are setting personal goals and working towards them. Last phrase that I love: Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal.

Keep your chin up and not down. 

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