In September, I flew to Portland, Oregon to run a marathon. Preparing to run a marathon takes months of conditioning: running 4 times/week, strength training, stretching, eating well, staying hydrated, resting and getting enough sleep. Like a Kundalini Yoga practice, this training cultivates mental strength, the ability to withstand and work through discomfort and most importantly, a Keep Up spirit. Sure, there were days where I felt tired and there were runs where I didn’t feel good, but I kept up. Quitting was not an option. Instead, I kept moving forward even if that forward movement was walking (or running really slowly😳).
Throughout training, I maintained a positive mental attitude. I saw myself finishing. I felt how it would feel to cross the finish line with tears in my eyes and a big smile on my face. I felt the medal hanging around my neck and saw myself adding it to my medal rack.
When I arrived at the starting line in Boring, Oregon, it was cold, dark and rain was imminent. With relaxed intensity, I stood at the start with only two things on my mind: “I’m finishing no matter what” and “I need to run as many miles as I can before it starts raining!” (it started raining at mile 16, not bad).
As I ran, I started laughing out loud because I realized I traveled over 2000 miles to run 26.2 miles in the rain and never did it occur to me I couldn’t do it. Even as I whooped and yelled for the last mile because everything hurt (oooh those hills got me), quitting was not a consideration, let alone an option. I would have crawled through the finish if I needed to.
This marathon experience has given me an opportunity to reflect on how I set goals in my life and to consider why I’m successful in some areas but not others. One important difference is being "all in" versus giving myself an "out". When I give myself an out, it’s a lot harder, if not impossible, to achieve my goal. What if I arrived at the marathon and said, if I don’t feel like finishing, I can always quit? The outcome could have been different, there were lots of reasons to quit that day. And as I write, I can’t imagine saying this to myself for the marathon. Yet, I give myself an out in other areas of my life, creating duality because I allow myself time to think about the out vs The Goal. I am not all in. Not to mention, the out is often accompanied by intense stress and anxiety putting me in a space of fear and scarcity. Not the place to be in for goal achievement. Certainly not the space I was in for the marathon.
The beauty of life is that we always have opportunities to reflect, learn and grow and we can apply our experiences in one area of life to others. With that said, here is what the marathon has taught me about goal setting:
Do you currently have a goal you are working on for the end of this year or into 2020? I would love to hear about it. Sharing goals is inspiring. It stretches us to dream bigger, be audacious and to know if others can do it, we can too.
I am an animal loving-Vegan runner, I practice and teach Kundalini Yoga and I love to cook and eat flavorful plant-based food.