Building to Win

I have a friend who plans to run his first marathon in the summer. He has only been running for about a year. Back then, he was a smoker and knew he needed to start doing something to get into shape. So he started running. He committed his time to this endeavor. As a result, his mileage has gone up, his weight has gone down, and as far as I know, he stopped smoking. If he completes this marathon, it will be an amazing accomplishment.

Let’s recap his journey:

 

  • Made a decision to start running.
  • Made changes to way of life to accommodate for time.
  • Got friends and family involved. He even runs with his mother on a regular basis.
  • Made changes to what he puts into his body.
  • Became comfortable running longer and longer distances.
  • Entered first race and completed it.
  • Signed up for marathon and began training.

Each bullet point was a decision. Each decision turned into an accomplishment that validated his initial decision to get into shape. Completing them boosted his self-esteem. If you asked him a year ago about his confidence running a marathon, he probably would have laughed at you and thought you were insane just for asking.  But he built his confidence up mile by mile, day by day. He built it up every time he laced up his shoes to train, regardless of the weather conditions. Now, he firmly believes completing a marathon is possible.

Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment. –Thomas Carlyle

A marathon is a big deal. It is a big commitment. You don’t wake up one day and out of the blue decide to run a marathon without training. You start small and build up to it. The journey to running 26.2 miles at one time began with one step first taken long before race day.

Great achievements are possible. Make the decision. Do the work every day, even on the days you don’t feel like it. Get small victories and then scale up to larger challenges. In time this body of work you have created will be the preparation you needed to win the dream you started with so long ago.

Letters to TS #2: Hope Tied to Health

Hope 12/14/2019

Letters to TS #2: Hope Tied to Health

In our last conversation, you stated that you wanted to look like you did ten years ago. “Hot” was the word I think you used for yourself back then. But after a decade of heavy drinking, the alcohol has left its mark on you.

You’ve gone two months in between drinks, and now you are beating yourself up over your last episode. You embarrassed yourself. The hangover lasted two days, but its memory is still very fresh in your mind. You feel miserable right now, and it is warranted. But there is also a positive here. You went two months. When was the last time you went that long? And if you can do two months, how long can you go until your next drink?

There was one thing that bothered me in our conversation. We know you are running away from alcohol, but are you running toward anything? What do you have driving you forward into the future? Do you have any goals other than to stop drinking? Do you have a purpose?

You have a ten year-old picture reminding you of what you used to look like. You blame the alcohol for the way you look now. You are right. It deserves some of the credit, but it goes far beyond that. As an alcoholic, you tend to justify too many things. And when it comes to being healthy, you can’t justify a poor diet or a lack of physical activity. You can’t be both an alcoholic and healthy. And even though there are some that seem to be both, one behavior will eventually be sacrificed for the other.

My friend, you need to run towards a healthy life. You need to visualize the life you could have if it wasn’t tied to the bottle. Once you have that picture burned into your mind, you need to let it consume your every waking desire. You may never look like you did ten years ago, but you could look good again. You could feel good again. No longer would you be dumbly and drunkenly walking toward your grave. Instead, you would be making the most of this precious time you have left on this earth. Fight for your health and find the hope that comes in the pursuit. It is that hope that will light your path in the future.

Always your friend, TF.

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope, has everything. –Thomas Carlyle

Stuck

Ever find yourself stuck, not knowing where to go, unsure of the next chapter in your life? Of course, you have big plans, hopes, and dreams, but you seemed to have stalled?

The ship left the yard. Sleek, shiny, and new. It was built to cut through the roughest of seas. But without a navigator, it only sits in the harbor. Oh, don’t worry. Nothing is going to happen to the ship. The harbor is protected. The ship sits in safety.

A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for. -William Shedd

How many hours I have passed lying in bed? How many hours sitting on the couch, playing video games or watching television? How often have I made the choice to relax in comfort in the safety of my home? Living a life consuming, rather than creating? If I get really down to the brass tacks, how much time reading? Is reading really that much better than watching? Am I not still consuming in the safe confines of my personal harbor? Is this what I was built for?

I was built for action. I was built to move. It is what my early ancestors did. Hunt, gather, or die. They didn’t sit in the cave hoping food would appear from nowhere. If they wanted to eat, they had to get it. Generation after generation until I showed up on the scene. Did I think sitting in the harbor was the best use of the genes that made me who I am?

A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder. -Thomas Carlyle

It is July. More than half way through the year. As I look back on the last six months, I was on a self-improvement roller coaster. Climbing, coasting, running flat. I think my elevation gain on life’s journey has been positive, but am I really better than I was at the beginning of the year? Am I any closer to the goals I laid out six months ago? How many times have my goals for the future changed over the last few months? I may be a man with too many goals spinning around in erratic circles.

There is something I need to do. It may be something we all need to do. I need to stop, get out my compass, and find my true north. What is it I am really aiming for? Can I get there if I have too many way-points along the journey? How can I get where I want to go, if I don’t even know where I am going?

If you don’t know where you are going, you might not get there. -Yogi Berra

Judge Yourself

Justice 5/22/2019: Judge Yourself

Of course, we want to be honest in how we deal with other people, but…

We also need to be honest with ourselves. Can you do it? Can you be honest with how you truly assess where you are at? We need to take a moment and see where we are. We need to do it in an honest way and not sugar coat the facts. Too many times in the past, I glossed over my shortcomings and neglected taking action to correct them. To lie to myself does me no good. I have to make an honest assessment. I have to be my own most critical judge.

Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one rascal less in the world. -Thomas Carlyle

Hope 1/12/2019

A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder.-Thomas Carlyle

Do not be aimless. Set your course and then navigate your way there.

______________________

The Virtue of Hope.

There is a belief by some that tomorrow will be better, that our future will be a little brighter. This hope is what spurns them to keep going even when the day is at its darkest. Without hope, we are lost.

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