Congratulations to Leigh F. & Cheri S. for winning the Chicken Soup for the Soul: Multitasking Mom’s Survival Guide books! Please send me your addresses and I will drop those in the mail!
I just registered for my third full marathon. I never, ever, ever would have imagined I would run one marathon, let alone three. I was the girl who nearly puked running three laps around the gym in high school. Three laps!
I’m the girl whose husband tried for ten years to get me to run. I would suffer through two miles with him and say, “Yeah, that’s really not for me.” Only, I didn’t say in a nice tone of voice. So read that last line with a snarl, while gasping for air and clutching your side.
So what changed? How did I manage to do something that I never thought was possible?
Here are 3 keys that made the impossible possible. I’ve found these 3 things apply not just to running marathons, but writing books, setting new habits, or reaching any goal that seems impossible.
Set a goal just outside your reach
Set a goal that will stretch and challenge you, but is still achievable. I didn’t sign up for a full marathon right away. First I ran a 10k. Then a half marathon. Then a 25k. When I crossed the finish line of the 25k, I realized I wasn’t too far away from a full marathon. Since I had successfully made small reaches just outside my comfort zone a few times, I had the confidence that I could do it once more. It wasn’t “a marathon.” It was “just ten more miles.” That might sound ridiculous, but sooner or later as you build endurance and skill you get to the point where you realize, you can keep going.
So what’s your goal? Write a book? Get the basement organized? Wash all your windows (which I have never done!)? Lose 50 pounds?
Start with a goal that seems just outside your reach. Write one chapter. Organize one side of the basement. Wash half the windows. Lose 15 pounds.
Soon you’ll be saying, “Hey, I’m almost there!”
Schedule the goal into smaller chunks
Once you’ve set a goal just outside your reach, break it into smaller chunks. In running, we follow a training schedule. I might run twice a week for 40 minutes and then gradually add up miles on the weekend, starting at 3 miles, then 4, then 5.
The key in breaking a goal into smaller chunks is to actually put it on your calendar. My Saturdays are marked “9 miles, 11, miles, 13 miles.” I can look at my week and know how I need to schedule my days (and my eating) in order to meet those smaller goals.
It might seem silly to mark on your calendar, “Wash two windows,” or “organize one shelf” or “write 5oo words.” But if you schedule the time for it, it’s more likely to happen. Not to mention, those smaller tasks add up over time. You’re accomplishing your goal, piece by piece.
So, what’s your first small goal to set? Write a page? Clean out a cupboard? Take sugar out of your diet? Find that first step and put it on the calendar!
Find training partners
Having a friend to go on the journey with you, someone who’s aiming for the same thing, makes a difference. Not only do they hold you accountable to do the work, but they can encourage you on those days when you’re not feeling up to the task or you’re doubting yourself.
It also helps to have someone who is going through the same pain you are, whether it’s sore muscles, gathering courage to submit that proposal to a publisher, or suffering through setbacks together.
Who do you know with a goal similar to yours? (Or who can you talk into setting the same goals as you? I
badgered persuaded my friends into running with me!) How can you keep each other accountable and go on the journey together? I have a group of neighbors who are all linked on the app My Fitness Pal to encourage each other on their health goals. I signed up for the marathon with a neighbor and we run on Saturdays together. I have a couple writing pals that I regularly call and trade text messages with for support and encouragement (and sanity).
What goal do you have that you’ve thought seems impossible? I’d love to hear what you’re reaching for and how you plan to get started! Please share in the comments and we can encourage each other!
[tweetherder]Have a #goal that feels impossible? 3 Tips for success.[/tweetherder]
[tweetherder]#Write a book. #Run a marathon. Break your goals into small pieces. [/tweetherder]
Photo courtesy of arinas74 on sxc.hu. Text added by Amelia