As this year's 30 Day Runner's High Challenge approaches (starts May 1st, and you can still sign up!), I'm getting all pumped up on goal setting again. I love making lists and setting goals and feeling that pride of achievement. TO DATE the most proud of myself I've ever been was running a marathon last year because it really was the hardest mental and physical thing I've ever done (there were tears and self doubt all over the place that day!).
And I'm not saying that everyone should run a marathon (because a lot of people don't want to - and I get that) but everyone has that one thing they think sounds crazy ridiculous but they would still love to achieve. And whatever your 'marathon goal' is, think about it, manifest it, take little baby steps towards it, because it will come. As I trained for my race a year ago, I learned three main lessons that I believe can be applied to any goal that you set.
And they’re simple:
IT'S ALL MENTAL
I haven’t always been a runner, and it took me a loooong time to actually consider myself one. I used to run in high school and through university as a way to stay in shape, but it was never because I loved it. I would run in the trails near my house and call it quits at the same point of the trail every single time. And it wasn’t until I started running with other people that I realized I could keep going as long as I took my mind off of it. My competitive side would come out and I would push to keep going for as long as they did, and it was never as terrible as I thought.
Because running is SO mental. And there are so many experiences that we go through every day that are either hindered or helped by our mental capacity to experience them.
We have the ability to push towards our goals or throw them away based on what our mind is telling us we can or cannot do. So constantly using positive reinforcement with yourself is of huge importance to reaching your goals.
In order to stay motivated, you have to find a way to keep yourself on track. I have a few tactics that help me stay committed and celebrate the little victories (BECAUSE THESE ARE ACTUALLY HUGE VICTORIES) as they happen. Display that goal somewhere where you can see it! Where others can see it! I had my run schedule posted on the fridge so not only could I see what run I had scheduled that week, but checking off each run felt really good.
This is also a way to celebrate those baby steps. It might seem very minor, but checking off a completed run, or seeing a whole week of check marks (prefer stickers? Use stickers!) makes you feel really good, and just might be the positive reinforcement you need to keep going.
CREATE A COMMUNITY OF SUPPORT
This one is the best one. By creating a support system, whether in person or online, you'll have people to motivate you and remind you why you’ve set the goal in the first place. AND most importantly of all, you'll have people to lean on when the going gets tough (and it will, but that's okay). It's all about the community!
I was extremely lucky to have a training partner that lived in the same house as me. It was so much easier waking up for an early morning run when I could hear that she was already awake. This is because your community of support keeps you accountable and it’s there to give you a little confidence boost whenever you need it.
To properly utilize your community, try giving them things to check up on you with, share your goals with them, talk through your setbacks and frustrations with them, and best of all, find people with the same goals so you can support each other! Because although there’s a lot that we can do on our own, there’s so much more we can do together. Right!? Right.
So how are you doing? Have you thought of that one goal that you want to achieve that maybe you never thought was possible?
Instead of having negative thoughts about how impossible the goal seems now, make a plan and stick to it. Use things like lists, visual reminders, and enlist friends or family to help you stick to it (or even better, get them to join you in the pursuit of it!). Setting goals, and physically writing them down is the first step to achieving something that you never thought was possible, and if it’s anything like what the idea of running a marathon sounded like to me, you will be so surprised at what you can accomplish.
Need a new goal for the spring? Feel the urge to join a community? The last day to sign up for the 30 Day Runner's High Challenge (runs from May 1-30), is THIS TUESDAY APRIL 30TH.
JOIN US! It's a pressure free, inclusive challenge and might just shake up some good things inside you.