So it’s that time of year again. It’s time for people to take some personal inventories and set some goals for themselves for the upcoming year. Those goals may come in a wide variety but I know that many people will focus on health and fitness related goals. In many of my circles, it’s all about selecting race destinations and race distances; perhaps pushing the envelop to inconceivable limits.
There are a few important points to keep in mind as you set your goals and objectives. The first being, the goal needs to be YOUR goal. You need to be 100% invested in your own success. If you are setting a “personal” goal for someone else, such as a loved one, friend, physician, etc. it’s a little tough to own that plan and call it yours. That’s their goal, not yours. If you are being urged or encouraged to take on a challenge, you should gain a better understanding of why that person is making that request. There may very well be a valid reason behind it that you just haven’t been able (or refuse) to wrap your head around. Understand and own your goal(s). And once you have, WRITE YOUR GOAL DOWN somewhere that will serve as a constant reminder.
This next point speaks mainly to those out there chasing the long distance race challenge. Perhaps you are considering your first half marathon, marathon, or even ironman triathlon. Whatever your race goal, even if it is walking your first 5k, do it for the right reasons. Do it because the demands placed on you during training will make you a more healthy and in turn more happy person. Race to enjoy that evolution process. Don’t be so fixed on the trophy that you are unable to appreciate the transformation to a better you. The journey is what will define you, not crossing the finish line. Although of course crossing the finish line is the ultimate exclamation point.
And on the subject of “the journey”, celebrate the small incremental victories and give yourself credit where credit is due. You can’t eat this elephant all at once. So be happy with the small bites along the way. And conversely, understand that you will have a bad day and may even lose focus of your goal from time to time. Allow yourself to be a little human. But get back to the task at hand as quickly as possible. Sometimes the real world will interrupt the best of plans. That doesn’t mean you’ve been defeated or derailed. Make the necessary adjustment and keep moving forward.
And lastly, be proud but be humble. I see too many people racing for the sole purpose self promoting what they’ve done. Race for the true internal accomplishment that you have achieved. Celebrate having won an internal struggle or battle. Don’t race so you can walk around broadcasting to everyone, “look what I did”.
If you carry yourself the right way, walking tall with confidence and humility, your accomplishment will be known to all. You won’t need to advertise yourself with billboards or tattoos.
Train safe, race smart, and thank the volunteers.