Here I was at the 11th Annual Fleet Feet Arizona Trail Race (www.fleetfeettucson.com/racing/az-trail-race) in Tucson, Arizona on Super Bowl Sunday 2017. Many of my friends were home watching the game with a spread of nachos, pizza, and bacon-wrapped jalapeños, a pastime that I undoubtedly enjoy. However, this year, I chose to push my body in a trail race.
I was feeling the pain by the time I rounded that last corner of the race. Gasping for air, I could feel cramps slowly building in my calves. Tiny fragments of doubt began creeping into my mind as I considered why I signed up for this race in the first place. However, I immediately caught myself and reigned the thoughts back in: “I know exactly why I’m here.”
Reflecting over the several weeks of preparation, I remembered the commitment I made to myself: a commitment that becomes tangible when you sign up for a race. The more I focused on this commitment, the quicker those inner doubts started drifting away. Frankly, I was proud of myself at this point for showing up today and facing the challenge!
It was worth it in the end. I placed 2nd in my age group and (big grin here!) 24th overall out of over 200 participants. I wasn’t the best or the fastest of the group, nor was I the fastest in Arizona, but I showed up to the race.
The Ebb and Flow of Commitment
Statistics show that around 50% of us make New Year’s resolutions. Most of those resolutions are health-related, especially in the exercise department. Sadly, the enthusiastic steam dissipates quickly with only about 25% sticking with resolutions more than a week! The disappointment often feels worse than if we had never started at all. Sometimes, we get hung up on making elaborate plans, mapping it all out on paper, spending a small fortune on equipment we think we’ll need, and buying the perfect journal to write our progress in. Suddenly, the whole affair begins to feel overwhelming and we never even make it out of the starting gate. We never stop to think about the fact that we may be overthinking this whole thing.
Levels of Commitment
We often don’t consider promises that we have made to ourselves as legitimate or give them enough merit. Often, no one knows we have a goal and we easily brush it under the carpet when something more pressing fills our agenda. If we were to give our personal commitments the same value we do our employment, the priority hierarchy would dramatically shift. When that alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m. for work, we might hit the “snooze” button once or twice, but you can bet you will be up and throwing clothes on before much longer. Why? We have a boss that requires our presence and a paycheck to collect. Strong motivators, right? Yet, when it comes to putting that same effort into getting up to hit the concrete for a morning run, we might just consider turning the alarm off altogether.
Keeping It Simple
When I signed up for the 11th Annual Fleet Feet Arizona Trail Race in Tucson, Arizona, (www.fleetfeettucson.com/racing/az-trail-race), I had already begun the process of preparing myself – mentally and physically – way ahead of the event. Yes, I had set daily goals for myself and gave myself mental pep talks. But, I didn’t hang a marquee sign and hire a band to get me motivated. I kept my goals narrowed and condensed. Ready for my three-step formula? “Show up. Work hard. Enjoy the results.” Yes — it really is that simple…
1.) Show up: Half the battle is getting up and moving. You will never get the job if you don’t show up for the interview. You won’t pass the test if you don’t show up on testing day. You will definitely have to swallow a few doubts and fears but show up anyway.
2.) Work hard: It’s common knowledge that you will never see results for something you never do. Everything of value comes with a price tag – tangibly or abstractly. If it doesn’t cost hard work and effort, you won’t value it much – period.
3.) Enjoy the results: You’ve worked hard. Sacrifices were made. Other desires were set aside in order to get where you are. Take the time to pat yourself on the back, strut in the mirror a bit, and invite others to enjoy your success with you!