I once ran the New York City marathon.
This statement may not seem odd except for the fact that I did not train for this marathon….and I do not typically run anywhere.
Instead, I had just eaten a taco.
One Sunday during my freshman year of college, I had wandered through Spanish Harlem with a dear friend in search of authentic Mexican food. We failed to find meals resembling what we were used to eating as California natives, but we purchased whatever we could find and proceeded to walk back home.
Yet, our trip was stopped short. The race had reached that particular part of Manhattan and they blocked off the main avenue we needed to cross. Any attempt we made to get past the marathon was foiled and we were faced with the only option that I could see.
We needed to run across the New York City marathon.
That day, those marathon runners had a great story to share with friends and family about their accomplishment. The runners who saw us had an extra flair to their edition.
Picture it: two very pale (we missed our sunny SoCal days) college girls holding hands and armed with a bag of tortillas and a bottle of Jarritos. Now imagine them wearing their church outfits and screaming as they zoomed past you…aka the world’s largest marathon.
I want to apologize to anyone who experienced a live version of Frogger that Sunday.
I remembered my jaunt across a sea of New Yorkers this week because I was feeling frustrated with how many obstacles I was facing in conquering my goals for 2018.
We are three weeks into January and maybe you are feeling a bit defeated too. That vision board you made on January 1st seemed like an amazing Instagram worthy idea until you woke up this morning and it reminded you that you have not organized your closet yet.
Resolutions are tricky. They can fuel you and provide that needed direction.
Yet, when life blocks off the main avenue leading you to your goal, resolutions just seem like a reminder of how very unprepared you are.
This morning, I want to share my tools for dealing with a feeling of defeat so early in the year.
You start every day, not just January 1st
The start of the year is a great jumping off point for new goals, but that “day one” mentality can be crippling when you get hit with the flu on January 2nd. You are deemed a failure before you can even get out of the gate. We need to reframe our resolutions to reflect that every morning is a new beginning. We can say, “I have another chance tomorrow,” rather than “I am already in February and I have not made the first step towards a particular goal.” Your starting line is not determined by a calendar–you have the agency to leap when you see an opening, whether that is today or two weeks from now.
This year, Bekka and I are wearing Giving Keys inscribed with the word, “Breathe.” This word is our mantra for when life gets overwhelming and we want to give up. Or when we feel like slackers because we are not busy during every hour of the day.
Have you ever been so stressed that you forget to exhale? Has that happened today? Take five minutes right now and close your eyes. Inhale so deeply that your stomach expands with air. Now, release. Do this until you can feel your heart rate slowing to a normal beat.
Breathing properly is essential for any runner–no difference exists in this race we call life.
If your goal is to read more books, enlist your coworkers into a chapter completion competition.
If your goal is to work-out more, offer to take your neighbor’s dog on Saturday hikes.
If your goal is to create a blog, team up with your best friend.
Accountability cannot be overstated. Having your friend gently remind you that Cheetos are not part of a well-balanced meal is all it takes to prevent yourself from hitting your stumbling blocks. Figure out how to communicate whether through texts, google spreadsheets, carrier pigeons…the point is to find a method that will keep you focused on reaching the other side when all you can see is the mess in front of you.
These tools are not earth-shattering. They may seem simplistic; however, I have found that we need occasional reminders that give us the nudge to step up to the starting line.
Sometimes, you just need someone to hold your hand and say, “Let’s run.”
~estoria de ashley