Lessons Learned from Making a Commitment

The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal.  The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.~Benjamin Mays
What a great year it has been for me in regards to physical fitness.  I ran my first ever 25K (15.5 miles) at the 5th3rd Riverbank Run.  That, along with a bit of encouragement from running buddies, inspired me to go run a marathon.  Now for those of you that are not runners, let me explain, even if you like to run you don’t usually just “go run a marathon”.  It takes a special (or crazy) mindset, it takes months of training, and it takes personal commitment as well as a willingness from people close to you to support such an event.
I made up my mind to run a local marathon in my home town of Spring Lake, MI on Sept 17th.  My family was on board.  So the training began in late April.  In total I logged 90+ training runs covering over 500 miles.  Through all my miles of training my speed and pace improved to the point where I was comfortable running almost any distance up to 20 miles at a 7 minute 40 second pace.  I never took more than 2 days in a row off from running as I trained and prepared for the marathon.
Although I didn’t complete the marathon in my desired time/pace I DID FINISH and am in an exclusive group of people who call themselves MARATHONERS!  It took me a little under a week to recover from the grind and pounding my body took during the marathon.  Everything hurt and I do me EVERYTHING.  After the marathon I decided to take some time off, let my body rest and recover, while I pursued some other interests and hobbies.
Finally around November 21st I decided to get serious again about running and start training for a 1/2 marathon on January 7th.  I thought it would be easy to lace the shoes back up and get out there and run again.  Man, was I wrong!  The two months I took off (I did run periodically during those two months but nothing consistent) took a toll both on the endurance I had built up as well as my mindset.  Running both of my favorite training runs, a 3.56 miler and a 5.0 miler were beyond hard.  I wanted to quit half way into each of them EVERY time I went out to run. 
But I didn’t, and I haven’t, and I won’t!  And this life lesson taught me something about any aspiration or goal I have had.  To accomplish anything in our lives it takes a few very specific characteristics and traits:

  1. Consistency — It takes consistency of action to accomplish something you desire.  You can’t decide to do it for a few days and then take a couple of weeks or months off.  You must stay consistent in your actions.
  2. Focus — It is imperative to see yourself in the end result.  On my training runs I always visualized myself crossing the finish line.  See yourself and focus on finishing instead of focusing on the road blocks to finishing.
  3. Commitment — Amazing things happen when you make a commitment.
  4. Desire/Passion — If you are not passionate about something you will quit well before you complete the goal. 
  5. Determination — You will need this because there will be challenges in your journey.  There will be people and obstacles and stuff in your way of finishing what you started.  With determination you can overcome anything.

We all possess these characteristics.  We are born with them.  They are inside of YOU.  When you find something that you want above anything else, when you find your WHAT and your WHY, you will use the above 6 characteristics to make sure you finish your marathon, no matter what it is.  I believe in you the way I believed in myself that I could finish my marathon.  I know you can.  You may want to doubt, you may say you can’t do this or you can’t do that.  Those are just excuses.  Be strong.  Make a commitment.  Follow up with inspired and massive action.  Ask for help from others to support you.
My challenge to you.  Figure out over the next week WHAT your marathon is for the next few months.  A health/wellness change?  A new job/career?  Saving money for a special event or vacation?  No matter what it is become passionate about it and figure out a plan on how to achieve it.  Make a commitment!  You can do it, you can do anything you put your mind to!
To more WOOHOOing to you!