“Often the difference between a successful person and a failure is not one has better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on one’s ideas, to take a calculated risk – and to act.” - Maxwell Maltz
Everyone has heard the phrase ‘you can accomplish anything you put your mind to’ at some point in their lives. I’m a firm believer in this concept. Everyone is more than capable of accomplishing anything their heart desires, if they just try.
To function properly, I’ve found I must have both long term and short term attainable goals. This keeps me focused on the present and future accomplishments I have set out for myself. Getting through college was a large goal of mine and then I wanted to find a new professional opportunity to use my newly acquired knowledge and skills. Although I’ve crossed these larger accomplishments off my list, there are still things I want to do. Most recently I’ve decided I want to become a runner.
I’m sure many will think of this as a crazy notion, to just pick up something like running. I play hockey and I go to the gym, I’m an active person but never have I ENJOYED running. It has been, until recently, by far my least favorite form of cardio on the planet. In the end though, I needed something else. I needed something to strive for that was a challenge. Thus, I am running the 33rd annual Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K, because just running outdoors wasn’t torturous enough.
Oh yeah, I said TORTURE…because starting out running was not a fun activity by any means. It was a struggle on the treadmill to run without walking and then the joy of running outdoors, in the winter…in Chicago. I slowly started accomplishing my small goals over the course of the last few months; running 3 times a week, running 2 miles outside, running 3 miles on the treadmill without walking, etc. Then one gorgeous February Friday evening I ran 5k (3.1 miles) straight outdoors and it felt fantastic.
Granted, none of this would be possible without the amazing support and encouragement of friends. Do you think I’d run outdoors by myself? Please! I would have stopped after just a block and walked home. Always keep in mind that goals don’t have to be achieved alone. They are much more rewarding when you include others. Nothing says ‘fun-filled-activity’ quite like convincing your nearest and dearest pals to accompany you running outdoors in the dead of winter.
With any goal worth achieving there will be setbacks. You must be prepared with the chance that things will not go accordingly to plan. This means being ready to find alternative routes to accomplishing your goal. My setback was an injury, which was almost expected considering I’m a beginner. This put me nearly 2 weeks behind in my training for the race but I took care of myself and found other ways to train like using the elliptical. The real challenge is not allowing obstacles to stop you from your achievements.
I’ve come to enjoy running. Every mile mark I hit I feel more confident and like the next will come easier. I anxiously await March 25th. I’m nervous about running 5 miles straight, a feat I have yet to accomplish. Also, I’m anxious due to the excitement of accomplishing something just 6 months ago I never thought I’d achieve. I’ve taken a risk and put a lofty goal before me. I look forward to seeing that finish line. I also intend in creating more finish lines to reach and continuing to cross off those small accomplishments along the way.
When was the last time you took a risk? Or pushed your own boundaries and challenged yourself?