Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thoughts of You

That’s right. I don’t even know you, but I think of you often. It happens almost every day now. At first, it was just when I was doing something physically or mentally tough. Like mile 18 of a marathon. It happened around mile 27 of my recent 48 mile circumnavigation of the Three Sisters mountains in Central Oregon. I wish you knew how truly strong you are. Most people have no idea, and it brings me to tears every time I think about it. Like now. How can I help you see how strong you are? The only limits to what you can accomplish are those you place on yourself.

I know what it’s like ’cause I’ve been there too: depressed, obese, addicted (I refer to them as my “DOA” years). I’m truly sorry if life has beat you down. If you have been abused or neglected. If you don’t love yourself. If the gremlins in your head get the best of you. If you are addicted to alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. If you are obese or sedentary. If you have medical issues. I wish I could make them all be gone for you. But these issues don’t have to define you or limit your dreams.

You can find Strength Through Adversity. All you have to do is get started. Each day do one small thing for yourself toward your goals. Don’t stress about your bigger goal, just take baby steps each day toward it. Remember the Bill Murray movie “What About Bob?” Baby steps! Each day, each step, your ability and your confidence grows and you will begin to get a glimpse of just how strong you are. The important thing here is: Don’t Quit! If you quit, of course it won’t achieve your goal and you’ll probably wind up right back where you were. Conversely, when you keep at it, even though it may seem like a long haul and the going not so good, things will get better and you will be so glad you stuck with it. You will amaze yourself and begin to see how scary-good life really is.

Example baby steps plan:
Couch potato wants to run a marathon on 50th birthday in two years. Week one goal: Get up from office chair every hour, stretch and move around. Tell other people about your plan. Gather supporters around you. Distance yourself from the naysayers. Week two: 10 minute walk on lunch time. Week three: Increase walk time. Week four: Consider getting a gym membership. Week five: Get gym membership. Get dressed for and drive to gym, even if you don’t go in. Week six: Walk on treadmill 30 minutes. Week seven: Pick up the pace a little. Week eight: Try jogging slowly on treadmill for 30 seconds. Not so bad. Subsequent weeks: Keep walking/jogging. Try jogging outside. Find a friend or group to run with. Sign up for run training program. Run your first 5k. Increase run time/distance to 10k, 1/2 marathon and marathon over time. Goal achieved! You feel powerful, unstoppable, like you could do anything, because you can.

While you’re accomplishing your dreams, surround yourself with positive, uplifting people who make you feel good about yourself. Don’t listen to, and distance yourself from, the naysayers, the energy suckers. You know who I’m talking about. That aunt or “well-meaning friend” who says you can’t accomplish that. Build a supportive team around you. My team includes not only my supportive friends, but my doctor, massage therapist, physical therapist, acupuncturist, mental health therapist, local running store owners, my running coach, yoga instructor and many more. Supportive people are all around you and will come out of the woodwork for you if you just look for them.

If you think you don’t have a support team, put me on it! I will be your cheerleader, even though I don’t know you. Sometimes it is hard to cheer for yourself. It was for me. For a long time I imagined someone else alongside me cheering me on, telling me “good job, you’ve got this!” One can never have too many cheerleaders. Over time you will develop your own inner cheerleader to add to your team.

So now it’s time for action. Set a goal. Make a plan. Stick to it. Baby steps each day. If you screw up one day, don’t give up on yourself, don’t quit. The next day is a do-over. Goals can change, plans can change, but just keep going, don’t quit. Allow me to be on your team. And let me know how I can help you on your journey of discovering how strong you really are.
Friend Kathy triumphantly scores a marathon PR on a hilly course.
Photo credit: Kathy Lein

1 comment:

  1. Love it Laura! You are so RIGHT ON! You know I am on your team, and I know you are on mine!