As some of you know from my previous posts, I am in the PROCESS of training for the Indianapolis Mini Marathon in May. If you knew me very well you would know that this is definitely a challenge for me. 1. I’m not a runner!! 2. I have 3 children under 7, love to spend time with husband, work part-time, own a business, and enjoy things outside of these important parts of my life. So training for a marathon just doesn’t seem very practical. But I have wanted to do this for the majority of my life, and I decided this was the year!
I cannot believe what I am learning thru this process. I could literally write a book about my journey with this. But because of my limitations on time, for now I will share a few with you. Rather than numbering, I will tell my story and bold the lessons I am learning.
When I start each run, I usually I have a destination and distance in mind. It’s important to know where we are going and what we want to accomplish! Easy lesson, right?
Usually when I begin, my mind has a major war going on. My self-talk usually goes like this:
Me: “I can’t imagine going that far. I am SO tired today. I’ll never make it”
Me: “You can do it- come on- one step at a time!”
Thus it’s been showing me, in life when I feel overwhelmed, just take it one step at a time. I tend to be a “bite off as much as you can chew” kind of gal. So this is teaching me to slow down, take a step at a time, and be patient.
Because I think in big and challenging bites, I tend to look at the end goal and lose sight of the little victories in between. I am learning to celebrate small accomplishes along the way. I literally set in mind my next small goal when I am running- “If I can just make it to Main Street, that’s a victory!” You would laugh if you saw me. Sometimes when I get to a small goal, I literally jump or raise my hand and say, “Yes”. I literally celebrate- even if I have 7 miles left to go out of 8! This has helped me not only with my training, but also with my children. I need to celebrate their little victories, too.
Being rigid and thinking “black/white, right/wrong, it has to be one way or no way” can be destructive. When it comes to goals, I struggle with these cognitive distortions. A few months ago, I found out my mileage was off and I wasn’t running as far as I thought. Thus this was messing up my plan to be at 13 miles by May. I was so discouraged. Because I wasn’t at my December goal, I was toying with giving up. That WAS distorted thinking! It helps to have a Therapist as a BFF. She smacked me around and said, “It’s not that black and white, Nat! You’ll catch up!” Thru this interaction, I have seen this pattern in me and how challenging this can be for me when trying to reach goals. In some ways, rigid thinking like this has paid off for me in the past (NEVER give up, there is ALWAYS a way! etc.) and it fed the monster. But I wonder how many goals I haven’t met because I was too black/white about them and gave up! This has been a great lesson for me.
I have to forgo pleasure now in order to feel pleasure in the future. If I go on my feelings RIGHT NOW, I will not get what I want later. Some days it is so hard to run when it’s 34 degrees outside, raining, and my husband is snuggled in front of the fireplace on a Sunday afternoon. I literally have to picture myself crossing the finish line in order to make myself get out there and do it. I am ALWAYS so happy I did it when I am done! This is so helpful with addictions, spending, people contemplating an affair, our spiritual disciplines. If we act on our feelings right now we will relapse, be in debt, lose our marriage, and not be in close relationship with God. All because we acted on our feelings and didn’t think of the consequences. We wanted to feel good RIGHT NOW!
Everybody needs cheerleaders! I am an independent person. In this process, I couldn’t do it on my own. If my husband wasn’t supportive, I would have given up by now. I have a partner that I enjoy running with 1-2 times a week. If she wasn’t depending on me, it would be easier to back out when it’s cold and rainy out. If my BFF wasn’t there to remind me of my “stinkin thinkin”, I probably would have given up. I realize I do need people to complete this goal. I am grateful they are on this journey with me.
I could go on and on. Someday I will. But for today, I hope you have seen some lessons you can take for goals, your relationships, or your life in general. Thank you for reading! And for the cheers I get from you all in this journey I am on!
Written by Natalie Chandler
Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville