Thursday, August 14, 2014

Plant a tree!!!

I hate New Year's resolutions.  Yes, that 'time-honored' tradition of exclaiming a change in yourself or your habits starting with a numerical change in the calendar year.  An attempt that will almost inevitably end in failure, further discouraging the probably needed change in the future.

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The second best time is now."--Chinese Proverb

I hear people say all the time "I was never good at _____".  Why does that stop us?  You weren't very good at using the potty either, but with enough attempts, you got it down.  Why does difficulty discourage the human spirit?  This is what bothers me with New Year's Resolutions....why do you have to wait until January 1st to change?  Why waste all that time, when you could be growing now?  Plant the seed of change yesterday.......but if that didn't happen, then plant it today!!!

I remember picking up running again after quitting for nearly a decade.  I made it about 800m(1/2mile) and had to walk.  The next day, probably 801m.  The following day, I couldn't bring myself to do it.  The day after that....stopped after 400m(1/4mile) and walked the rest.  A week into it, I still wasn't running a full mile without a feeling of dying.  It was hard.  But, if it wasn't hard, everyone would do it.  "The hard is what makes it great!" Any great achievement is only made great by the adversity and challenge that went into preparing for it.

The mind throws up mental road blocks on a daily basis.  We can ignore them (and run head-on into them) or we can acknowledge them (and then hurdle them).  Just this morning, I was headed for a group run at 5AM.  I knew most of the group would back out and I'd be left to run solo with my headlamp in the darkness of pre-dawn.  Well, one lady showed up and we started off.  After half a mile, she told me to go on ahead, and after assuring that she was OK, I did just that.  Three miles in I could have turned myself back to the parking lot and finish with a nice 5K, but I told myself "Why not run another mile?".  After another mile, I said "We are already this far, let's get to the highway."  After the turn at the highway, I was headed back to the parking lot.  But, about half a mile before the parking lot, I said "Why not make a jaunt thru this neighborhood and tack on another mile?".  The end result was a 3.75-mile run turned into a 7-mile run.  Not because my body wanted to.  Not because I needed it.  But because instead of giving myself options out.....instead of making up reasons why I needed to be done (tired, lonely, dark, chilly, or it really was the first day of school), I came up with reasons to continue.  Fight mental road blocks by giving yourself reasons and incentives to go on.

Lastly, do something out of the ordinary.  We get so set in our daily routines that they become our daily ruts.  Find something outside your comfort zone and go for it.  Set a goal....and then double it.  If doing something sounds like it's going to throw your schedule off, I'd call it a great idea.  Add a few extra miles to your run tomorrow morning, try a new exercise, pick up a golf club, a badminton racquet, pull out a chess board, read a dictionary!  Go so far as to have people call you 'crazy' due to your ambitions, because then you know you are doing it right. 

If the only seed you planted 20 years ago was the seed of regret, set aside some time today to plant a seed of opportunity that will bear fruit for the next 20 years.


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