Goals!

SO, I have been trying to run again. Yes, I think I wrote that correctly. I am not quite ready to say, “I’ve been running again.” See, I have standards for what that would mean. And what I am doing is “trying to run.” I don’t think it qualifies as running yet. BUT, I remember what it is like to be a real runner, and I am so excited to be that again. I love the feeling of running when I’m in good running fitness. It is more exhilarating than exhausting, I get the endorphin rush, and I feel like I’m flying. I love it. If you look at my marathon pictures, I’m smiling in most of them. It was really such a fun experience. I hold onto that memory for motivation to keep working because right now—it’s quite a different story.

I think that working really hard at something and seeing few (if any!) positive results is really challenging. I am a goal-oriented person to the max. I don’t really know when my goal-setting started. I guess I’ve always been ambitious in some sense. I used to sell things in my neighborhood (including my sister Merry’s belongings that I would find neglected around the house) on an overturned barrel. I did this so that I could make money and buy things that I wanted. I called it my “barrel shop.” Merry was not happy on quite a few occasions when she had to buy back her possessions from kids down the street. Ha. We would get into arguments about it. I’d say, “but you didn’t even care about it!” and Merry would say, “Lindsay, it’s MINE! You can’t just sell my stuff!”

Anyway, I used to quit things a lot. Not like drugs and stuff. Thankfully, I never started drugs in the first place. I mean…like…life. For example, I got so stressed out in the 4th grade that I started passing out. No one knew what was wrong with me. As it turns out, I have vasovagal syncope. For some tidbits on that, read this.

Basically, I faint under stress sometimes. I usually can combat it now that I know what’s occurring physiologically. Not always, though. Some of my triggers include: getting stuck in long conversations in which there is no foreseeable end; anything that makes me feel too aware of my finite mortality (blood, or talking about diseases that “no one knew so and so had until one day s/he just dropped dead”); stuff like that. Upsides are: I am supposed to drink a lot of water and eat a lot of salt (two things I really like, anyway!).

But back to the quitting. Somewhere along the way, I started to think that when things got difficult, it was an option to quit. My ambitious nature combined with an impulsive tendency to quit or drastically change things created a life where I felt like I was going in circles rather than moving forward in life.

Collin has been a great influence on my ability to stay on course in the face of challenges and over time. And I have been an agent for change when we otherwise might have gotten stuck. So, now, I think we have a pretty good balance of commitment and change in our life. I love setting goals. I love reaching my goals. Once I started to do this, I realized how gratifying it is to reach a goal. There is a sense of self-efficacy and fulfillment that is euphoric. I love it. And so, I have become a very goal oriented person over the past 6 or so years.

So, to wrap up this winding blog post (I probably lost the Skipper’s attention paragraphs ago), I have finally started to see measurable progress from my running. Now that I can feel that I am becoming a stronger runner (i.e., my mind actually wanders now instead of just being consumed by how difficult it is to keep going, I can run farther without stopping, etc.) I think the momentum of motivation will only build from here. Positive reinforcement is a powerful motivator. I guess that’s what I started to say in the beginning. It takes a lot of strength to keep trying at something when you aren’t getting the reinforcement that you want; if you stick with something long enough, though, I think the rewards do happen, and you’re likely to reach your goals.  And that, is such a good feeling. Addictive, I think. In a good way.

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