This summer I have set a goal for myself to get in shape before I head back to school in September. In previous summers unfortunately I had done the exact opposite. My mentality was that I was on “holidays” so I deserved to live a little. Keeping with this thought process, I would allow myself to have a lot of unhealthy food and basically do as I pleased, not concerned about exercise in the least. Well that kind of approach caught up to me. When the clothes started to get tighter and the scale began to go up, I had only myself to blame. For the past few years I have established workout routines that have been successful, yet staying consistent is something I am striving to overcome. My new workout routine includes something I have never done before: running. Ironically, while I had been considering running earlier this summer, that very week my son suggested I take up running as well. That was all the confirmation I needed to get off and "running." No pun intended. Although I have just begun this process, I have learned the value of working toward a goal with a proper plan. These tips apply to more than just running, but to life in general.
Make Realistic Goals
When I first started running, I was given a challenge of running from Point A to Point B which was a very short distance. I remember rolling my eyes thinking it was too difficult, but somehow to my surprise, I did it. The secret of my success was I began with something achievable. This is so important because I was setting myself up to be successful, not to fail. I have really developed an even deeper respect for Terry Fox and all he accomplished as a runner through this process. In life many of us struggle because we set goals that are too difficult for ourselves, and when we don’t achieve them, we get so discouraged. Setting attainable goals and achieving them will inspire you to strive to set new ones. There is no greater feeling than accomplishing something you thought you could never do.
Have Friends by Your Side
It is no secret that having people run alongside you in your journey will keep you motivated. My kids have been running with me. As they are getting in shape too, we are encouraging each other. My son often times me when I run a lap at the track, and validates me when I am finished. When I feel like quitting, he will run alongside me and cheer me on to reach the finish line. Having people by your side who encourage you is so crucial to your success. It can be the difference between finishing strong and literally giving up. Having people by your side also increases your accountability which is so vital for sticking to your goals.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
When you are working hard on any goal in life, there will be good days and bad days. Sometimes you will feel that you are on top of the world and there is nothing you cannot do. Other days you will struggle with motivation, and your efforts will reflect that. This is where many people can make the mistake of giving up. One bad day should not throw you off. Give yourself permission to learn from the process and get back at it as soon as possible. Remind yourself of why you started this journey and remember that things that are important in life are often difficult to achieve.
Set Yourself Up For Success
I would not go running in the heat of the day in jeans and flip flops. To do so would be totally ridiculous. If I am outside running, I choose the cool of the day later at night and wear proper clothing and footwear and have a water bottle with me. I also take lots of breaks in between where I will run and then walk for a bit. My stamina will eventually increase, but it takes time. Many people want what others have, but don’t want to put the time in. I know that I cannot expect to be running marathons right now, but each day I can try to run a bit further than the day before if I keep focused. I can already see improvement and I have only been running a short time.
Stay Focused on the Process, Not the Results
I used to be so consumed with weighing myself every day. It was funny the one day my scale was acting up and I was trying to explain it to my friend. I said “There is something wrong with my scale. Every time I get on the scale, I weigh less.” She was confused and said “What’s the issue? Way to go! That is fantastic!” I went on to say “No you don’t understand. If I get on in two or three times in a row, every time the scale reads less.” Now she understood. I wish scales really worked that way! When you are trying to reach goals, being faithful is the key. Just like when you plant seeds in a garden with proper sunlight and water you will see growth when the time is right.
Keep the Positive Talk Coming
At first I kept telling myself I could not be a runner of any sort. I had so many excuses why running was not for me and why I would fail. Then I had a revelation and thought to myself “Why am I telling myself that I will fail when I haven’t even tried?” Ouch! I recalled other times in my life I had done the same thing. I would admire others who were doing well and cheer them on in particular life areas, yet tell myself I could never do what they are doing. As long as I believed that negative self- talk I was truly stuck. Instead of saying “I can’t,” I have started to say “I will do my best and not give up.” Instead of believing that things in life are too hard, I strive to believe that I have what it takes to be successful if I just believe in myself. The Bible says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Over and over the Bible gives positive validations and Christ is in my corner cheering me on too! This is very encouraging.
So keep on running your race, whatever it may be. You are not alone. Remember these tips and believe you can do it. It is truly incredible what you can accomplish when you focus and decide to not give up until you reach the finish line!
Until next time,
Hebrews 12:1 ~ Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Little Lesson Learned: Keep on running after your goals. The race may seem longer or more difficult than what you anticipated, but crossing that finish line is truly incredible!
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2015