By Lee Anne Grace
At the beginning of January many of us made resolutions to start the New Year. Are you still on track to reach your goal, or have you encountered rough patches that have resulted in a loss of motivation? Don’t lose heart. Take some time to assess what went right, and make a plan of action to change what didn’t work well.
I was recently reminded of how important is it to constantly monitor goals and make adjustments. This past weekend I ran the Frostbite Half Marathon in Starkville. I have been training to run a full marathon in March, so I was feeling prepared and strong. I thought I had a good chance of shaving a couple of minutes off my Frostbite finishing time from last year. Things seemed to be on course for me to meet my goal.
As I rode in a caravan of school buses with approximately 350 other runners to the starting line 13 miles outside of Starkville in Pheba, I mentally rehearsed each mile I had to run to get back to town. As we all know, the best laid plans can go awry. The air horn sounded to start the race, and my personal comedy of errors began. I allowed myself to get swept up in the blistering pace set at the beginning by those in front of me. I pushed myself too hard during the first mile, and I still had over 12 more miles to go.
Shortly after that I started feeling really sick, and had to make several urgent unscheduled stops. By the time I reached the halfway point of the race, I knew my original goal would be impossible to reach. My spirits and motivation began to drop, mirroring the dropping temperature that afternoon. Just as my own personal pity party was about to get into full swing, a car of race volunteers checking on runners slowly drove by. My hand started to move to flag down the car so I could quit and get a ride into town. I had failed at my goal. Why shouldn’t I just throw in the towel and admit failure?
Prematurely dropping out of the race would have fit a pattern I had followed for most of my life. Whenever the going got rough or things didn’t go the way I thought they should, I would discard my goal in premature defeat. This was particularly true during my many years of struggling to lose weight. I called it quits countless times.
I decided there on the race course, with a little over six miles to go, that I wasn’t a quitter. I was a winner and a champion. I took a deep breath and regrouped. With a new, adjusted goal in my sight, I finished the race with a slower time, but strong.
If you are struggling to stay on track to meet your new year’s goals, consider that you might have set a goal that was too ambitious. Life circumstances may have also affected the outcome of your efforts. You may even be trying to do too much too quickly, just as I did in last weekend’s race. This is no reason to completely give up. Adjust your course, and keep pressing on to your goal. As C. S. Lewis said, you are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
Lee Anne Grace is an elementary music teacher for Tupelo Public Schools. After reaching a weight of almost 300 pounds and failing at numerous diets for over 25 years, she has been successful at losing weight and maintaining her weight loss for three years. She is the mother of two teenage daughters and enjoys running in her spare time.