This past weekend I woke up early on Saturday morning to watch my younger brother run the Jersey Shore half marathon. Having run two half marathons myself I had become his unofficial “coach” during his training process.
I was a little nervous that morning driving to the race since the longest distance he had run during training was 7 miles. But deep down, I knew he’d finish no matter what. He took his place at the starting line and his fiance and I headed a little ways down the course to cheer him on a minute or two in. The race started, he looked excited and calm .5 miles in. After he passed, his fiance and I walked up to mile 2 so we could cheer him on again there. He still looked great, excited and confident as he ran by us. The way the course winded and turned we were also able to catch him at mile 8. As he ran by he still looked happy, enjoying himself at a good pace. Judging by the time, the mileage and Algebra 1 we were able to determine that he was running a little over 7 minute miles. Insane, I know. At each mile marker we’d see the leader of the race run by, then the second place runner, the third, then a pack of about 10 and my brother wasn’t far behind in the next wave of front runners. To me it looked like he was in the top 30 runners. Jen, his fiance, and I headed over to the finish line. The first runner crossed the finish line and I got very excited. If my brother kept up his pace he wasn’t far behind that non- human gazelle of a man who finished the half marathon in 1 hour and 16 minutes.
My brother crossed the finish line at 1 hour and 39 minutes. He was 67th out of over 1500 runners. 10th in his age category. I’d say I was proud but that’s obvious… I was more impressed. Sure I was impressed by his finishing time but I was more impressed by how he let his mind set the pace. Instead of looking at the miles he had left to run he looked at how little time he had left to run. For example, instead of saying “I still have 3 miles to go,” he’d tell himself “I only have to run for 20 more minutes.” In other words, he made something hard seem simple. After all, 20 minutes in the grand scheme of life, our day, our week, seems like nothing.
Fast forward to Sunday night on my couch. I’m watching “Naked and Afraid” on Discovery Channel while eating leftover penne vodka from my nephew and husband’s baptism party that was earlier in the day. I know what you’re thinking, that sounds like the best Sunday night ever. It was. One of the contestants on the show had three days left until he could leave and he was really struggling to finish the challenge. I shouldn’t have to tell you why he wanted to leave but it was basically because he was naked and well, afraid. In the end he finished the challenge. He spoke his rationale for staying to camera and it was that he could do anything for 21 days. He justified how 21 days was such a small amount of time compared to all the days of his life. Again, that rationale made something very hard seem small and simple.
Those two situations had me thinking…what separates our own personal successes from our failures? This is especially important for us to reflect on when it comes to diet and exercise. What sets the times we did lose weight apart from the times we didn’t? Was our goal to big? Was our expectation too high? Did we have a vague plan to do it? What was different about our mind state?
The answer to these questions, I believe, can largely be found in the type of goals we set for ourselves. More specifically, simply just setting a goal for ourselves. Usually, we don’t set goals because we want to avoid the disappointment of a failed goal. I think the large majority of us have developed habits of failure. We know how to give up, we know how to give in to temptation and we know how to fail. For us, failing at a diet or weight loss plan is more comfortable than succeeding. Success is what’s foreign. We need to change that. If we all fight back against that natural urge to fail, success will always come.
A loss of 20 pounds may be what your finish line is. You cannot, however reach the finish line without a plan in place. You have to fight through each mile, each meal and each decision to keep running or give up.
And let’s just say that 20 pounds will take 2 months to lose…I’ve already lived 378 months. That makes 2 months sound like such a short amount of time.
20 pounds seems hard and unreachable. 2 months out of 378 months sounds small and doable. It’s all the way we view the world and how we let our mind sway us.
We cannot fail to learn from our failures. After all, it is a “GOAL” weight for a reason.Of course, as the annoying older sister I made a sign.