In my last blog post, I shared how and why I recently quit training for an upcoming marathon. Now that I’m past the internal drama of what I felt was a personal failure and what lead up to my decision, I can actually see a few things I learned. Next time I’m going to do things differently.
Lesson 1. Initial motivation fades faster than I expected. I realized I can’t motivate myself for long periods of time. And I’m guessing, neither can most people. That first push of excitement or the strong pull of the vision of a better life, the dream achieved, book written, or finish line crossed, is diminished by the sheer weight of the every day. We need to build in frequent re-energizers to keep us moving. Little goals, rewards, and activities along the way keep the momentum up. For me and a big race goal, this means I’m going to run several smaller races throughout the year. They inspire me, are fun, and keep me motivated as I achieve small goals. An added benefit, I get to be around other energized runners.
Lesson 2. If you are an extrovert like me, or you feel you’d benefit from external inspiration, join a group. I will find a running group and join it. I learned I need a community of like-minded people to learn from, be held accountable, and share experiences. A book, website, or online group isn’t enough for me to go it alone. For someone else, it may be joining a writers’ group, a mastermind group, or a meeting with others who share similar interests. I strongly believe getting together in person is much more powerful than anything online. My self-sufficiency and go-it-alone approach was a real obstacle to my success.
Lesson 3. No one really cares as much as I do. When I finally told a few close friends and even posted my blog, no one was critical of me or challenged my decision. Very few comments at all. This was all in my head—that awful feeling of being thought of as a “quitter”. Our life and our decisions are ours to make, change and accept. Unless your decision has a direct impact on another person, it doesn’t matter much to them, really!
Lesson 4. Fail fast and then get going again. As I mentioned, when I decided to drop out of the December race, I found they offered a “deferral program”, so obviously I wasn’t the only one who was quitting. Ha! So, I took advantage of this and it offered me an alternative to defer until next year. If I do decide to run next year. Who knows? Meanwhile, I am already re-defining my current goal and moving ahead. It felt like a weight was lifted and my relief confirmed it was the right thing to do for me. If you’re feeling indecisive, perhaps you need more information…or maybe you just need to make a decision and change directions for now. Don’t wallow in the decision, make it and move on. Life is very often a zig zag pattern, which is far more interesting than a straight line, right?
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.”
——Ralph Waldo Emerson