If you have ever wanted to do something and thought you couldn’t do it, this post is for you. And I’m guessing that’s most of us, including myself.
This past weekend was the Buffalo Half- and Full Marathon. I loved seeing all of the pictures on Facebook, showing my friends joyously crossing that finish line. I could see the satisfaction on their faces. As I was scrolling through these photos, I said out loud to myself (but secretly wanting my husband to hear), “I should just do it.” He asked, “Do what?” I said, “Run the half-marathon next year.” And do you know what he said? I’ll tell you first what he didn’t say. He didn’t tell me that I was crazy. He didn’t tell me that it wasn’t a great idea. He didn’t tell me I couldn’t do it. He said, “So do it.” Plain and simple.
What he said next was even better…”I’ll run it with you.” Now, you probably don’t know my husband, but these words were not what I would ever have expected him to say. First of all, my husband doesn’t run. He thinks it’s the most boring, tedious form of exercise out there. He does lift weights and is a generally active guy, but he doesn’t do any form of cardio exercise. Of course, his body is in perfect shape because he has this freakish metabolism that only a superhuman being would be blessed with (no jealousy there). So the idea of him running a half-marathon is not something I would ever have expected.
That means that he really would be doing it for me. Now, he’s not a bad guy at all, but we are very independent souls. When we do things we love, it’s just for ourselves usually. He’s not the super romantic kind either that would do it to show his undying love for me. He’s the kind of guy who shows me he loves me in small ways every day, rather than grand gestures. But here was this grand gesture. It’s like he knew I’ve been wanting to do this all along, and I needed some support.
So I said, “Really?” And we went on to take the vow to run the Buffalo half-marathon next May. There it is in writing.
Let me back up a little bit and explain why this is such a big deal for me. I am fit, thin, and I eat a mostly healthy diet. I have never had to go through the challenge of losing a large amount of weight. Healthy food and exercise are things I love. However, I have realized that while I challenge myself mentally and professionally all the time, I am not really challenging myself physically.
Yes, I work out hard and try new routines and moves, but is that my limit? I run, but I wouldn’t call myself a runner. I usually run once a week to mix up my exercise routine. I have run a couple of 5k races, but that’s about it. I always believed that I couldn’t run a longer race because I have exercise-induced asthma. There’s no way my lungs would make it to the finish line, I told myself. All this time, I’ve just been telling myself that I couldn’t do it, so it really was never even an option.
But I am saying now that I WILL run the half-marathon next year. Will it be hard? Yes. Am I scared? Incredibly. But what am I scared of? I have never shied away from hard work. When I decide to do something, I do it whole-heartedly, so I know I will put in the time and effort to prepare properly. I guess I’m scared of not making it. If I don’t cross that finish line, I will be a failure.
That’s it, that’s my fear. But then there’s this…What would happen if I fail? Would my husband leave me? Would my children not love me anymore? Would I lose all of my friends? Of course not! That’s crazy! So I might feel a little bit bad for a while, but I know myself. It would only push me to try harder next time. So I have decided that it’s going to be better to try and fail, then to never try at all. Failing is how we learn and grow. And that is a good thing.
Now let’s look at how YOU can turn “I can’t” into “I will.”
First, think about something that you have always wanted to do, or maybe just never even thought about doing because you thought you couldn’t. It has to be yours though, not anyone else’s challenge. It could be losing 20 pounds, skydiving, running a 5k, running at all, taking dance classes, anything.
Next, ask yourself why you haven’t done it. What are you afraid of? What is stopping you? Make a list of all of the physical, mental, and emotional roadblocks to doing it.
Now it’s solution time. Next to each roadblock, list at least two solutions. These should be ways you can get past the roadblock. There might be several steps in order to get there, but that is fine.
Finally, make a plan. Write down the steps, set some goals and deadlines, but be flexible. Hang this plan on your fridge and get to work. Involve at least one other person as your accountability partner or support person.
Here, let me show you with my “I can’t.”
My Goal: Run the Buffalo Half-Marathon in May 2018
- Solution: Train. Practice breathing patterns.
- Having the endurance:
- Solution: Train.
- Thinking I will fail
- Solution: Tell myself that I will do my best to cross that finish line. If I don’t, it’s okay.
- Thinking I will fail
- Being upset if I fail
- Solution: Turn that failure into motivation to try harder for the next race.
- Being upset if I fail
My accountability partner: my husband.
Keep it simple and straightforward. You can do anything if you really want to. I am finally taking my own advice and challenging myself to do what I thought was impossible. I’ll keep you posted on my training progress once it starts.
I would l love to hear from you about your goal and how you are turning “I can’t” into “I will.” If you need an accountability partner, I would love to help motivate you too. Email me your story! firstname.lastname@example.org