This is a lightly edited version of a blog I wrote about three years ago. I still refer to it in moments of doubt and procrastination.
I’m sure it will be useful to you on your journey.
Me: “I hit 10 miles this morning! I’m so proud I feel like writing about it. You know, like a blog or something.”
Wife: “Really? It’s not like you climbed Kilimanjaro is it?”
Eldest Child (6): “Wow Dad, I’ve never heard of anyone doing that before! (Thinks) Maybe you could run seventy-two?”
These are both valid points and running 10 miles doesn’t seem like a great achievement unless you put it into context. I hated running. I really hate it. This hatred came from my school days, where despite being a large (ish), asthmatic young lad, I was forced into cross country running as an after school activity. Why? I was less than adequate at sport. I spent many cold, wet afternoons hiding at the back of the pack to avoid drawing attention to my ineptitude. Dragging my rain soaked and muddy backside across fields was ‘character building’ – so I was told.
The 10 mile thing is not really the point. I simply want to share my thoughts on self improvement in relation to setting goals. My thoughts aren’t ground breaking but if they inspire someone to be a better version of themselves, then I will have achieved greatness. If not, average works just fine. Here goes:
1. It’s important to have a goal. It doesn’t matter how modest or grand it is as long as it gets you out of your comfort zone. Compete with yourself first.
2. Break the goal down into mini goals. Tick them off and celebrate them as you achieve them in whichever way works for you. Pizza was my carrot.
3. Talk to people who have achieved the goal. This is particularly important if they routinely run 15 miles or have climbed Kilimanjaro (part of the reason I love my wife is that she keeps me grounded). It’s amazing how much support you can gather and what you can learn.
There are people better than you but remember that you are on a personal journey. I recall a particular lunchtime at work where I refused to eat a cake which a colleague had brought in because I had to run 6 miles that evening. The lady next to me commented that she understood because she was training for an Ironman event- her third one in fact. Closed mouth, opened ears.
4. Achieving goals is overwhelmingly a test of mental toughness. I like the word grit. Be deliberate, be consistent and believe in yourself. Everything will fall into place.
5. Get off of your backside! A well know sports brand said it more eloquently but I prefer my way. You will achieve loads of nothing unless you take action.
6. Keep an open mind. It will be tough at times but appreciation of small things will get you through. Sunrise is stunning no matter where you are in the world.
7. The journey is better than the destination. Once you arrive you’ll want to keep going or start a new journey. I can now run 10 miles at a reasonable pace. I’m a runner! Now what? My first half marathon? Write a blog post? Decisions, decisions…
Thanks for reading. If you think that there is some value in my ramblings then please share with others.
Believe and achieve.