Your Goals. Your Terms.
If three years ago you had told me that with very little traditional training, on a Sunday in April three years down the road, I would run a marathon through some of the most beautiful landscape in the country, I’d call you crazy.
You see, though I played lots of different sports growing up, I have neither the speed nor the build to take down miles at the drop of a hat.
Trust me, I’m no gazelle.
But run a marathon through the stunning scape of Big Sur, California is exactly what I did this past Sunday.
So what could have given me the idea that running a marathon on little road time was possible?
A few reasons come to mind: I have the habits of a generally fit, active person; I’m willing to forgo the ‘rules’ and do things my own way; and lastly, because my intuition told me I could.
Without these three reasons, the likelihood of me crossing the finish line would have ranked somewhere with walking on the moon.
I was very clear on what I wanted to get out of this race: an unparalleled experience, the primal joy of being alive, and quality time with my husband and friends.
I was equally clear on what wasn’t a priority for me: a pre-determined stellar finishing time and spending countless hours, days, and months training.
I set my goal of running the marathon and did away with the typical time-focused result of the race. I was well aware of the physical repercussions of not following a typical training regiment: I’m sore and hobbling today and perhaps some of my aches could have been alleviated by a more rigorous training schedule. But the time needed to do it wasn’t worth it to me.
My sore body aside, none of us set goals to make ourselves miserable.
On the contrary, our goals are a direct result of the feelings we want to cultivate in our lives.
If I had said to myself, ‘Sar, the only way you can do this marathon is if you get in at least three 18+ mile runs’, (which is what the typical training program recommends) I wouldn’t have done it. Time is the most precious commodity in my book, and I had zero interest in spending that much of mine running.
No thanks. There are about 8,000 other things I’d rather be doing.
The only way for me to get to the decision of throwing out the training manual for my first marathon was to trust myself.
When we set a goal, we often think of the most conventional or traditional way to accomplish it.
We may look to the past: what has someone before us done to accomplish the same goal?
We may look to the experts: what is the best methodically proven way to accomplish it?
We may seek the advice of our family and friends: what would they do?
But the truth is, if you constantly rely on others’ experience as a blue print for your own goals, you will be disappointed – either because your experience throughout the process wasn’t satisfying, or because your expectation of the outcome wasn’t met.
What to do to avoid that great letdown when you could be exalting over your accomplishment? Gather your research. Use what you can. And throw the rest out the window if it doesn’t suit your taste or needs.
Carve your own path.
It will feel natural for you to do this, thus increasing the likelihood of accomplishing your goal.
I had to trust my intuition of what would work for me. Both what the experts recommended, and what my friends were doing would result in misery for me.
This goal, and the means of accomplishing it, was to cultivate feelings of togetherness and confidence. There is no room for misery among those joyful emotions.
My goal on my terms. Exactly as it is meant to be.
What would you like to accomplish that you may have previously thought impossible given the traditional route of accomplishing it? What goal are you working on that you could reorient to fit your terms instead of prescribed terms? What feelings do you want your goal to bring out in you?
Share with us in the comments below and jot down your notes in your notebook or journal. Let them ruminate for a few days and when you’re ready, set a new goal that you may have previously scoffed at.
Your goal on your terms. Exactly as it is meant to be.