Walter Elliot stated, "Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other." I can relate to this quote a lot lately - both figuratively and literally.
Two years ago when I was training for my first Olympic distance triathlon, I had to constantly remind myself one step at a time. It was always on my bucket list to train for a triathlon, and I am so proud that I have a few under my belt now. It opened a totally new understanding about myself and how I can achieve things that seem so big initially.
Although my training period brought me a lot of joy, it also created doubts I didn't even know I had about myself and my own abilities. Being an overachiever, "type A" kinda gal, quitting rarely comes into my mind as an option when I set my mind to do something. It really caught me off guard how many times I wanted to quit training. I asked myself: Why am I even doing this race? There are so many new things to learn from open water swimming tricks, to buying new gear, to preparing transition areas. It felt so overwhelming at times - to the point that it felt too much. Then pile on other life stuff: moving, buying a new home, work projects, volunteer commitments, etc. The list goes on and on.
However, it is all a series of short races (goals), day-by day, that get us closer or farther from what we really want to accomplish in life. When I choose new goals If I don’t feel any self-doubt, I know that the goal wasn’t big enough.
Once I commit to goals, I use the same mentality that I learned from my race prep. I choose every day to stay committed - to persevere. And here are some tips I constantly draw from:
- Share with others around you what your goal is. People may pitch in. When I was training, people volunteered to bike with me, run with me, swim with me, and cheer for me. Their energy has given me new excitement. I find this happening again and again. It is important to make it known. I love when people around me share their goals, so I can help. Why not give others that opportunity?
- Expect the self-doubt instead of being surprised by it. It is normal to have certain reactions to big, hairy, new goals. And yet, once I was scared I wouldn’t complete it or do what others expected of me, I started to think that maybe the triathlon was just a bad idea. And this is when it was not a healthy process. It only became productive when I accepted my doubts and addressed them.
- Don’t spend your time in excuse zone. A few times throughout the process, I would talk with some friends and family about all the reasons I should potentially do the race at another time. I was so convincing (ha!) that some people just told me to reschedule it; they said, “It is a lot.” Why was I doing that? I needed to be real with myself and just bear down when it was hard.
After you commit to a new goal, feelings may come up for you along the way, probably in unexpected form, about why you can’t do it or why now is not the best time. The thing is...now is all you have.
And getting through the rough is the only way.