Enjoy the Process (of working toward your goal)

I had 17 miles to think about what I wanted to write today. 17 miles to pound thoughts into the ground, to daydream, to let my mind wander. 17 miles to sort things out, let some things go, and think of better resolutions to others. It was my time to enjoy being outside, to breathe that wonderful, fresh, air, and to have 17 completely uninterrupted miles all to myself. It is in this way that going out for a long run does not seem like a chore (as it maybe once did), but rather an escape. The temperature today was perfect (24 – much better than the 10 degrees it has been), and although the roads were not as bipedal-friendly as I had hoped they would be, my body – and my mind – were up for and completely motivated to get out there and put some miles in today. It is because of this motivation that I come here to compose this little number on what it takes to achieve your goals – as some would say, being “process-oriented” – for your perusal.

It has taken some time, but I have come to love my long runs again, because they give me a chance to get out and let my mind “run” crazy. So here are some of those “crazy” things that go through my mind…

We all do things because a goal drives us, but what so often happens – and I see this quite a lot – is that we end up focusing solely on the end goal, our “ultimate” result. Whether it be a specific race performance, a weight we want to be at, or a certain number of miles we are able to run or yards we can swim. This can be very toxic because we fail to see the progress we are making along the way. Or, even worse, we do not get to experience that progress because our focus is too stuck on one future outcome. Well, we can only get to March by going through every day of February!

For example, my long run. The “ultimate” goal for today was to get in 17 miles. I know the route I want to run, and I mentally break it up into pieces; I’ll tell myself ‘get through this part and we’ll see what we can do in the next one’. I focus on the things around me, I look internally and see what is happening within my body – how I’m responding, how things are going, how I feel, and decide how that will dictate what goes on next.  By doing this, I make that “ultimate goal” more manageable – and I achieve it. Then I can mark it as a success in my book en route to that bigger goal – the Ironman. This is also what keeps me on track when I have ‘bad’ days, or when I have a day where I might not quite reach what I set out to do. Focus on the next day, on the next task! And enjoy what you learn along the way. Today I learned how much stronger I am becoming, how much further I can run and how much easier it is. How much better I feel when I’m out there, and how much more I will be able to do as a result.

Enjoy the process of working toward your goal, because if you don’t, that goal will continually get farther away, harder to reach, and less feasible. Goals are about the process and what you overcome and tackle en route; the process is what gets you there! And if you don’t enjoy it, then what good is your goal?!

I think it’s time for me to call it quits. I’ve only been attempting to finish this up for the last five hours. But I got to enjoy some of the movie ‘Thor’ in the process! Included in that was my first introduction to Chris Hemsworth. Probably won’t be my last. And I have even had some ice cream! Of course I did. After 17 miles, I think I can have a little ice cream.

Big swim day tomorrow. Bonne nuit, tout le monde.

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