I like to be on the go and have a plan for my next move. What can I work on next, what workout can I do next, what recipe can I make/create next, how can I push myself to grow? I think having goals and wanting to not settle is very important, but I also think this can create an unhealthy place in the mind.
A few years ago, I started running. I learned that I really like to run and feel free when I tie up my shoes and hit the pavement. I like to feel my lungs inhaling and exhaling a larger amount of oxygen while my heart is beating faster and my legs are using muscles that I don’t feel while walking. I love the amount of energy it gives me and how my mind clears out. Nothing else in that moment matters except propelling my body forward as long as I can.
My running journey was very slow in the beginning and I could not run for more than a few minutes, so naturally I convinced my sister-in-law to run a 5k with me that would take place in September of 2018. I did not know if this was going to go well because at the time I came up with this idea I hadn’t run more than a quarter mile without stopping and walking. My goal for the race was to not stop. My dad wanted to challenge me and said if I completed the race in under forty minutes he would pay me $50. At the time that I accepted the challenge I knew I wanted to beat that time but I also knew that this goal could be unrealistic if I didn’t train properly.
I trained for a few months before it was race day. On race day I was nervous and still had no clue if I would be able to reach the threshold of under forty minutes. At this point I had never actually run more than two miles at a time so I still wasn’t sure if I would be able to run just over three miles without stopping. I ran the race and finished in a little over thirty minutes, which excited me greatly because 1: I actually ran a 5k, 2: I finished in under forty minutes, and 3: I was getting $50 from my dad. After my dad handed me the fifty when I crossed the finish line I was already thinking about the next race.
That moment of excitement and pride at what I had just accomplished lasted for a mere instant. I needed to know how I was going to push myself harder. I said in that moment that the next year I was going to run a 10k. Well surprise, I decided closer to race time of 2019 that I would need to push myself harder than just doubling my last race. I was going to run a 5k on Friday night and Saturday morning run a 10k. The furthest I had run when I decided this was a 5k. Clearly, I love a good challenge.
Both runs for this race went well. I actually have never felt better after a run than I did after my 10k race, and I shaved two minutes off of my 5k. I was so happy and proud of myself for an instant, but then of course I decided that I needed to plan what would be next. I said that the next race, which was to be held in September of 2020, I would run a half marathon. A few months later I was saying that I should run the 5k on Friday night and the half the following morning. The other day, after I ran a 10k for the first time since September, I got myself thinking that instead of a 5k and a half marathon I should really be trying to accomplish a triathlon.
I realized that my thinking was a little screwed up. Why couldn’t I just be happy with what I had accomplished. Why was I feeling the need to double or triple the amount of my amazing accomplishment? Why did I feel like I needed to set these goals for myself that were way past where I was currently at? Was this a form of punishment or was it just me genuinely trying to see how far I could push my body?
I am profoundly proud of myself for wanting to see all that I can do and always making sure that I do not settle, but rather strive to always be my best self. That being said, I want to always make sure I check in with myself and make sure I am pushing myself for the right reason. I want to make sure I am always pushing myself because it is fun and because I want to see what I am capable of and not because I think I have to greatly surpass my last goal to feel worthy.
Maybe you have struggled with this too. You accomplish something you weren’t 100% sure you could accomplish and the moment you do you are thinking about what could be next. I want to be someone who acknowledges my hard work and dedication as much as I strive to push myself to new lengths. I am always going to wonder how I can do more but I am also going to look at all that I have accomplished with great pride and I really hope you can do the same.
There is no reason to belittle all the things that you have done in your life. Some days the most amazing accomplishment could be getting out of bed and other days it could be running your first race. Whatever the accomplishment is, feel proud of yourself. There is nothing too “small” to celebrate. Every day that you wake up and do the best that you can in that moment is amazing.
I am proud of you for all that you have done and I hope you are proud of yourself, too!
Always celebrate your accomplishments no matter how big or small and keep striving to do your best every single day.
Until next time,