All great things you do start out as an idea. This was certainly the case with me recently. When I say great I know all things are relative (except apparently the speed of light). Life really can be a roller coaster. What I just did, I’m pretty proud of. We must take time to celebrate our successes, whether they are the completion of a goal, or a milestone. Teams celebrate each goal they score, as well as the win at the end, and then the competition result. They celebrate the goal but don’t lose sight of the game result. Like me, I’m celebrating. I achieved the goal! On reflection of achieving this, I realise I’ve learnt a lot.
It is about choices. Whatever happens in life, you have the power to choose. Choose how to think, what to think, and what to do. You can make things happen – or not.
I recently completed my first half marathon. Wahoo!!
Putting things into perspective. I was running a reasonable amount of time (about 3 times a week) a couple of years back. Then, in July 2014 I began suffering a fair amount of pain in my lower back and right hip. The pain increased to the point where I could barely walk. An 800 meter walk would require several stops. I couldn’t stand without being in pain. Even lying in bed was painful. I’d need to semi-sit up just to turn over. So I wasn’t in good shape. The pain would change from intense to at best tolerable. While I ended up getting treatment that began working, I was still in a fair bit of pain early in 2015. I was able to do some running in around Feb/March.
So my celebrations are worthy.
What does all this have to do with personal improvement and change you may ask? I’ll get to that.
As with all things, this achievement started out as an idea and then firmed itself into a goal. A friend, Matt actually, who does all our great creative art work and beautiful design stuff for Eko were talking about exercise and related stuff, and he mentioned doing a half marathon. This kind of resonated with me. To be fair I had occasionally considered doing something like this, but had never really committed to it. After all it is 21km. As it happens, a month or so later, I was having a drink with a good mate, and we somehow got onto the subject of events and exercise, so we decided to do this thing. That was about 3 months ago. Once I made the commitment in my head it became a goal to achieve. It became even more concrete when we booked the accommodation for the weekend of the event.
A few key things I noticed on accomplishing this goal.
Firstly there is the whole goal setting thing. This literally transforms your mind. I decided I was going to do this. That was my intent. Goals focus you. Suddenly I was focused on achieving this. My goal, and intent, was to complete this half marathon. I chose to do this. I still wasn’t 100% in terms of wellness with my back and hip, but much better. I overcame barriers in my head – sure I was tired, but I need to train. Yes it was wet and cold, but I needed to train. The focus on the goal looks for opportunities – yes I’m busy, however if I reschedule this, or get up earlier, I can get that run in. Commitment to the goal transforms how you see things.
Secondly, there is commitment and perseverance. Once I committed to this goal in my head I knew it was action in the form of training that I needed to do. This meant I went out running on cold mornings, wet days, in the dark, while I was travelling for work and holiday – all times I usually find as a good excuse to not train. The goal focuses you, and you find ways to achieve it. It helps you persevere in doing the training.
Thirdly, and very importantly, this was not a lifelong goal I had suddenly achieved, it was more a spontaneous one. Sometimes we need these. Often unplanned or spontaneous events create the most excitement in life because we have no expectations. A key factor in me achieving this goal is that it did align with my values. This is really important. It is in line with my values of hard work and perseverance in conjunction to wellness – which helped keep me training and moving when I felt like doing something else. Part of our philosophy at Eko is not to get people to jump into setting ambitious goals to achieve, but to understand themselves, where they’re at, and what they value. People set goals, and fail to achieve them because these goals do not align with their values, who they are, and how they want to live their lives. This was so important in me achieving my goal.
Lastly, being grateful is a powerful for helping you achieve peace-of-mind. What has this got to do with achieving my goal? There are many reasons to be grateful for achieving this, and many people to thank. Gratefulness flips a switch in my head, and helps me see the world through a different lens. I haven’t always been in this space.
I like to move ahead, and can get quite impatient, which sometimes doesn’t express itself as nice as it should. As such I can quickly move and look past what I’ve achieved, and where I’m at relative to before.
Which brings me on to the next thing about achieving this goal. I’m extremely grateful for so many things and people. Without community. Without support, we really are nothing. I don’t want this to sound like some academy award acceptance speech, however as the author I’m going to take some liberty to show my gratitude to some people.
I’m so thankful to Lisa for supporting me and enabling me to do this. There is a cost to everything you do, and your goals. For all the times I was out training, the cost was not spending time with Lisa and the family, or doing chores or other work. Lisa was encouraging me to do this and I appreciate it. Lisa is awesome at helping me do this stuff – reflect on where I’m at and what I’ve got to be grateful for. As such I’m learning to appreciate things more fully, including her.
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ― Epicurus
I’m so grateful for being able to share this experience with my sons, it was very special. Marcus ran with me – his first half marathon too, and Hayden was our trusty support crew. We made a whole weekend of it. I’m so proud of my children (I can’t ignore my beautiful Elysia) – and cherish every moment I have with them.
My good mate Alan, who I’ve shared some dark and fantastic times with. Good run Alan. He made the planning, training, and event a load of fun.
Dr Woo Lee (oh my god how can I thank him) my local expert on all things humanly physical. As I mentioned, this time a year ago I could barely walk. Now there is no pain. Nothing! All naturally healed! No drugs or foreign substances! The man is a genius! Dr Lee has enabled me to walk properly, sleep!, and run this half marathon. The world is a better place with people like Dr Lee.
Ella and Georgia (Lisa’s beautiful girls) who unfailingly hug me after my runs, regardless of the volume of sweat dripping off me. For all our children for bringing laughter, youthful insights, unique growth opportunities, love and caring that would otherwise leave life less full.
Not to mention all the other people that provided support in different ways. My brother Paul for motivation, businesses not employing me thereby giving me time during the day to run at gentlemanly hours!, the event organisers, accommodation provider, Matt for sowing the seed…
The only reason I’ve expressed all these gratitudes is because I want you to see that there are so many people in our lives, and things that we can be grateful for – however small. Mine was a single run. It has changed my life! Sometimes we don’t take the time to do this, and we lose the opportunity to reinforce the positive, and are not in a strong enough place mentally when something less positive hits us.
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” ― Marcus Tullius Cicero
When does public gratitude become conceit? There are so many fine lines, grey areas in life. I don’t know if how I’ve expressed this comes across as being grateful or conceited. I truly feel grateful.
There are so many ways we can express our gratitude.
I have a diary (yesterday’s technology I know) with extra pages in the back that I carry around and use it like a journal doing my best to capture three things I’m grateful for today. I want to include this in the Eko online functionality so that this is easily captured online.
Set goals that align with your values, and show gratitude along the way. Powerful stuff.
Oh yeah – the promise of a bar tab by our local bar if I ran under 2 hours went quite a long way to keeping my legs moving faster than they wanted on the run. I had never run that distance before, even in training. I ran 1 hour 50 minutes. Marcus was faster! I’m still revelling and looking forward to claiming my prize over the weekend!
I’d love to hear what you think about your goals and how you make them happen, and ways you might find gratitude. Hope you celebrate too!
All the best,