As 2010 draws to an end, self-help book sales skyrocket. Seminars focusing on self-improvement and goal setting fill to capacity. Airwaves and inboxes across the land are bombarded with tips and recommendations from experts offering advice on how to make this next year better than the last. Like it or not, someone is going to ask you about your ‘new years resolutions.’ What will you say to them?
If you’re like me, all the noise has an impact. I start asking myself how I’m going to improve in 2011, what steps will I take toward becoming a better person in the upcoming year? Okay, it’s more like what baby steps will I take toward achieving my goal? That might even be an overstatement, some mornings it’s all I can do to muster up a tiptoe.
Yet tiptoes can carry you a long way if you have the courage and commitment not to stop. The problem with going out boldly and brazenly is maintaining that same tenacity over the course of the long run. How many health clubs are filled to capacity the month of January, and nearly empty the month of February? By virtue of our craft, we runners are enlightened with a particular insight that applies to almost every element of life; that is, the path of least resistance will only carry you so far. Anything worth achieving requires more.
You see, there is simply no way to “fake” your way through running a marathon. You have to pay your dues. Without tremendous discipline, commitment and dedication, you won’t make it. When you do make it, you forever prove to yourself that with focus and gritty doggedness, you have what it takes to accomplish great things. And you recognize that it all started with a single baby step, with having the courage to try, with having the bravery to keep putting one foot in front of the other and not stopping until you’ve reached your goal.
So here’s my challenge to you in the New Year. First, celebrate your biggest moment of success in 2010, whatever that might be. For some of us, that might have been completing our first 10K, for others, it might be finishing your first 100K. Pat yourself on the back for reaching your mark. Better, toast the moment at the stroke of midnight on December 31st with your favorite refreshment (Accelerade, I’m sure).
Now, challenge yourself to take it to the next level. If you’ve run a 10K, commit to completing a half-marathon. If you’ve run a marathon, commit to running your first ultra, a 50K. In the grand spirit of ‘never stop exploring,’ vow to challenge your own perceived limitations by going further than you ever thought possible.
Best to you in 2011