noland trail

Yesterday was my birthday. The only thing I wanted for my birthday was a run on my favorite trail. I got that present and it was a beautiful day for a 6 mile run.

While I was running I thought back about one of the first runs I ever had on my now favorite place to run. I couldn’t even make it to the 2 mile sign. That was ten years ago. Today 6 miles seemed really easy. Back then that first two miles was impossible. I remember being so discouraged as my friend kept running and I had to stop.  Things have changed a lot in those 10 years. After not being able to make it 2 miles I now have completed 11 marathons and countless other races over 2 miles. I’m fitter and healthier than I was then.  But that initial discouragement almost caused me to stop running. Here’s what got me through it:

•    Positive Peer Pressure

My friend wouldn’t let me quit. He kept taking me running and to the gym and gradually I made progress. He put some friendly pressure on me to improve myself.

•    Specific and Measurable Goals

I set a goal to run the whole 5 mile loop of the trail without stopping. I remember the day I reached the goal; it felt like I had just won an Olympic event. It was so rewarding to pass that 5 mile sign.

•    Celebrate Progress

My running renovation did not happen overnight, it took years to reach some of the goals I set for myself.  During that time though I reached little milestones that let me know I was making progress.  It’s important to celebrate those milestones to keep the train headed down the tracks.

•    Be Grateful for the Journey

As I was running yesterday I expressed gratitude for all the opportunities that have come my way along the journey. I am grateful for the friends I get to run with, the stronger lungs and legs and the tremendous blessing of being outside in creation.

The journey itself towards growth is extremely special.

Wherever you’re trying to go don’t get discouraged by where you are now. Part of the process is tapping into motivation because of where you are now.  Set specific goals and get some key friends to push you a little.  You’ll be celebrating before you know it.