RUN YOUR OWN MARATHON

Photo Credit: Joshua Sortino

Yesterday, I ran my first 5K. To most people that’s nothing, but to me, after seven years of recovery from a neck injury, it was everything. It was the proof I needed to know that I’m still capable.

Think of something you believe you can’t do. It can be anything. It doesn’t have to be physical. Do you want to write an 80 thousand-word novel? Do it. You want to climb Everest? Do it. Run your own personal marathon, whatever the hell that may be.

Yeah, ok, but how is this a habit?

Find ways to turn the progress of your dream into small daily steps. People don’t just get off the couch and run a marathon. Skyscrapers don’t just appear fully-built. Break your marathon down into pieces.

Walk a mile today, then walk two tomorrow. Every day, push a little more. Soon, you’ll run and soon enough, you’ll run farther and faster than you thought yourself capable. Don’t sit down to write a novel. Sit down to write a hundred words and see where it goes. Tomorrow, write a hundred more. When you find yourself finishing your hundred words and still feeling that need to write, set a new daily goal. Do something, anything, each day to get closer to your marathon.

Give yourself something to achieve. Do things you can be proud of whether anyone knows you did them or not. This isn’t about them. It’s about you and only you. This is your dream, not theirs.

Schedule time to write or run or paint or study for that degree you’ve always wished was hanging in a frame on your wall. There is always time somewhere in your day if you search for it, even if it means letting go of some other activity that gives you a lower return. You can even trade a current activity for one that gets you closer to your goal. Instead of driving to work, take the bus so you can write while you ride. If the kids go to sleep before you, use that time to take those online courses.

If you give yourself a goal, make it reasonable. If you can barely run a mile today, don’t expect to run a marathon in a month. Give yourself plenty of time but pursue your marathon relentlessly. It’s best to practice for a while first and not set any timelines until you know what you can do. But then, stretch those limits every day.

On the day you finish your metaphorical (or actual) marathon, relish your achievement and let yourself be proud but don’t stop there. You’ve come this far. Did you write a book? Write another, maybe a sequel. This may have been my first 5K but it certainly won’t be my last. Next up is a 10K in September, then maybe a half-marathon next year.

I didn’t say any of this is going to be easy. I just said it was possible.

Think of something you can’t do. Then, do it.
Whatever it takes, find a way.