My heart is racing, my lungs are burning, my legs are aching, my calves are tightening, and I ask myself, “Is this really worth it?” It’s mile 10 of my third half-marathon, the most difficult stretch of the race, and I am wishing I was anywhere else than running this race at this moment.
My runner’s high has worn off and the only thing keeping me going is the thought of crossing the finish line. I want the endorphins, the rush of pride in what I’ve just accomplished, mixed with the awe of how strong my body actually is, even when my mind continues to doubt it.
I keep running.
I remind myself that once you have the basic training, running is mostly psychological. It’s a battle of the mind. It’s continuing on, even when you want to stop. Even when your mind is telling you that you can’t do it. It’s a battle of will.
And I’m fighting to win.
When you’re attempting to accomplish a challenging goal, it’s easy to get lost, lose your focus, and before you know it, your motivation is nowhere to be found. Obviously, I’ve been there. Many times.
I know it’s hard, but it doesn’t have to feel impossible.
That’s why I put together this list of four simple steps to stay motivated and accomplish any goal.
01. Define your “why”
With a clear vision of why you’re doing whatever it is that you’re doing, you’ll have more clarity and will be more likely to follow through. This is the best place to return when you begin struggling, doubting yourself, or feel like giving up. Ask yourself, “What sparked this goal in the first place? Why did you want to do this super awesome thing? And what am I going to get out of it?”
02. Mark your finish line
If you know where you’re going, it’s so much easy to get there. When running half-marathons, I use the mile markers to help me focus on the finish line. Instead of seeing mile 4 as the point where I’ve only run 4 miles, I see it as the point from which I only have 9 more miles to run before I cross the finish line. Keep your destination in mind and use it as a compass to map out your steps forward.
03. Don’t do it alone
It is important to have an accountability partner, someone who can encourage you to get back on track and keep busting the pavement when you feel like throwing in the towel and going for a bowl of ice cream instead. Because it will happen and you’ll be oh-so-grateful when this person shows up and is your biggest cheerleader when you need it the most. They will give up that little extra oompf you need to make it to the end.
04. Be nice to yourself
When you decide to put yourself out there an accomplish a super awesome goal, your mind will automatically begin trying to sabotage you with thoughts like, “You’re not smart enough for this. You’ll never make it. What if you fail and embarrass yourself?” That’s completely normal. Just take a minute to let those thoughts pass and then replace them with more encouraging, supportive, and kind words. You wouldn’t talk to your best friend like that, would you? As one of my favorite quotes states, “Be nice to yourself. It’s hard to be happy when someone’s mean to you all the time.”
And keep running until you cross the finish line.
[photo credit: Adam Foster | Codefor ]
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