Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Self Trust and Goal Setting

The year before I turned 40, I set a New Years goal of running a marathon. It was a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). Our children were young, only 3 and 6, and when I first told my husband he gave me a look. You know the look. It’s somewhere between, “I want to support you” and “You've got to be kidding.” I hadn't run for over seven years and the longest I had ever run was six miles. Now I was talking about 26.2 miles.

It was a difficult time for us. Ric left a job that had emotionally bankrupted him and I went back to work after being a stay-at-home-Mom for over six years. Between work and raising a young family, there wasn't a lot of time to train. Many times, after I had put the children to bed, I would lace up my sneakers and go run for an hour or more. It became my time, when all my jumbled thoughts and fearsome imaginings would magically fall away and I could come home, smile and support Ric while he healed and regained his assurance. My confidence and self trust increased with every mile I logged.

The Pain of Success

The year of my 40th birthday I didn’t run a full marathon but I did a half. It took another year of training before I did a full marathon. I love this picture showing me, red-faced and grimacing, as I try to climb the steps to my home after my run. It reminds me that achieving a goal takes lot of effort and there may be pain.

Training for the marathon taught me so much more than split times and cross training. The times when I’d failed, I let the setbacks discourage me and I quit too soon.

Lessons on Self Trust

Over the years when I run into challenges that seem beyond my reach, I think back to what I learned when I was training.
  1. You can’t run the race until you’re ready. The first time I went for a run, I only went 3 minutes before I had to stop and walk. One block seemed as hard as 26.2 miles the first time I went out. I made a commitment of time and effort, a bit at a time; change occurs step by step.
  2. Other people can help. I stuck to a training schedule that I got from a marathon site. Remember that success leaves traces and you can learn from others. Most of it was around being consistent and knowing what had to be done... and then doing it.
  3. I took care of myself. Yup. Nothing fancy. I cut down on my wine and increased foods that made me feel good. Self-care was important.
  4. Expert advice is available. I found competent specialists who helped me through a variety of running injuries. I made sure that my running shoes were from someone who knew what they were talking about.
  5. I learned to communicate what I needed to my husband and friends. Once Ric understood how important it was for me, I got his full support.
If you want to increase your self trust, create a win for yourself by achieving a goal. Think of a past success and use what you learned to help you achieve your new target. Bring in the 5 C’s of trust: Commitment, Consistency, Care, Competence and Communication.

What do you want to achieve? What past win can you use to motivate you when times get tough?