In Non-Food News: Are You Working Towards a Goal?
I don’t consider this to be a motivational or self-help blog, by any means. Unless you count instructions how to blend things six ways to Sunday as motivational, that is. But, today I have a somewhat motivational topic.
Over the weekend, I did a 5K race with a friend, her brother, and their father. It was their dad’s first 5K race ever, and At 66, he was nervous before the start. These pre-race jitters were completely understandable. He had been training for this day, and now that the day was here, he didn’t exactly know what to expect.
The three of us imparted our collective racing knowledge on him: Where to pin the bib number, how to attach the timing chip, how to manage the aid station, when to hit “start” on the wristwatch, and more, and I realized the milestone he was about to achieve.
I take it for granted that I can walk out my front door and run 5K (3.1 miles) easily. There was a day that this was not the case. I didn’t “learn” to run until I was in my last year of college, and I never ran more than 2 miles at a time in those days.
About five years ago, a friend asked me if I’d like to run a half marathon. Never one to turn down a challenge, I said “sure,” even though it was a daunting task. 13.1 miles is a long way to run! And, what do you know? I was hooked. I have done too many races to count at this point, from 5K running races to numerous half marathons to a 1/2 Ironman, and every kind of triathlon and running event in between. I found out I have an okay knack for riding a bike in this little journey, and that I really enjoy it. And, I guess you could say I know a few things about achieving goals by this point.
Other bloggers have written way better posts about having goals, but, here is my take on why they are important. And, when I say “goals,” I don’t mean run out and sign up for race tomorrow (though, if you do that, it’s awesome). Goals can be anything – from sports-related, to reading challenges (build a list of 50 books you want to read next year) to household (I will organize my garage by this day).
- Goals give you a deadline. Humans are deadline-oriented creatures. Things without deadlines do not get accomplished – that’s why there are deadlines!
- Goals give you a reason for being every day. Of course you have a reason for being – you have a life to live. But, having a goal means every single day you work towards achieving that goal, whether it is strategizing, training, or just plain “doing.” I find it reassuring to know I am always working towards something, not simply going about daily life with no rhyme or reason.
- Goals make you put you first. When you have a goal – whether it be a running race, a triathlon, a quilting club – or any other big objective that requires focus and dedication, and you get your friends and family involved (which you should do), you get a pass for a little “me time” every day. “Me time” is good, and it makes you a better friend, spouse, or parent in the “non-me” time.
- Finally, and perhaps most importantly, meeting goals give you a sense of accomplishment. I am stronger and more confident in my daily life because I have tangible objectives that I work towards. I can draw on past experiences to get me through obstacles because I know I have faced harder things head on than whatever I may be facing at the moment. It’s amazing what a little accomplishment can do for a person.
As I watched my friend’s father cross the finish line in his first race, I knew it wouldn’t be his last. He is hooked, and he is already figuring out how he can beat his first time.
That is the beauty of goals: They are temporary, and they can always be bested.
My current goals:
- Read each book in the Healthy Living Virtual Book Club and provide valuable insight during the associated Twitter chat.
- Set a personal record half marathon time at my next race on October 2 (under 2:10). Not beat myself up if I fall short of this goal, but also don’t throw my hands up and give up before giving it my absolute best shot.
- Beat my 1/2 Ironman time next year in Boise by at least 30 minutes
- And a bunch of other little micro-goals, like, always go to bed with a clean kitchen (it is worth working towards!), compliment others daily, help friends and co-workers when they want advice on how to get into endurance sports or healthy eating lifestyles (this happens a lot)
See there? Your goals can be anything. Only you can figure out what they are.
So, what goals are you working towards?