There are times for all of us that inspiration, and really, motivation, is hard. We make a lot of excuses, we find other things to do, or we just stress out over the pressure we put on ourselves and go to one of our many vices to stuff down the feelings. Whether it’s finishing something you’ve been working on for a long time, or something you are doing in the moment – there are times that we need to pump ourselves back up, and prioritize what we are doing and the reason for doing it.
Friends Can Help Us Reach Our Goals
Today while I was running, I had a flashback to a race I did in my early 40’s. It was a popular short 5-mile race and I was a pretty strong runner at the time, so I really hoped to just have a fun and easy race at a good pace.
When I got to the starting area, I began talking to a tall, athletic 20-year-old woman about our running, and realized that we truly did run about the same pace. She really wanted to push through the race and get her best time possible though. I thought to myself, “why not”? That could be fun and fairly easy with it only being 5 miles. We enjoyed talking at the starting line and decided to run together to keep each other on track and make it our best race.
Picking Up Speed
During the first mile, I really thought that I had highly overestimated what I was capable of. We were running much faster than the pace we both signed up for and discussed, and I was pretty winded in the first mile, and we hadn’t even started climbing some of the biggest hills on the route. And this girl was tall and long legged! (I am 5 feet tall.) What was I thinking?
I have to admit though that this race is crazy exhilarating, and it’s easy to get caught up in the momentum of the crowd. It goes through the college campus in my home town and ends in the stadium, and there are thousands of runners, so the road/route you are running on is wall to wall people and never clears. So, when you really pick up your pace, you are just weaving through the crowd, and that’s exactly what we were doing. We were zig zagging through the crowd so fast that it was hard to find her if I didn’t stay right behind her, which is exactly what I did.
The Moment of Self-Sabotage
It was a total adrenaline rush for the first 3 miles, but by that 3rd mile I was feeling exhausted. I was losing steam, I was thirsty, and I was struggling to keep up with her at times. She was fast! But then again, so was I. There was a moment I remember vividly after that 3rd mile marker, as the runners were directed onto a narrow bike path and it became even harder to navigate with the density of the crowd. I lost my young running buddy in that moment. I was weaving through and looking for her, but couldn’t see her in the packed crowd.
That’s when the voices in my head started talking, “you’re tired, why don’t you just hang back. It’s a perfect time to catch your breath and go the pace you intended to for this race. You could even stop and get a drink of water! Just let her go.” I shook it off. I reminded myself that I was strong. In an instant I realized I could do it if I just pushed through. I was running as fast as she was. I was more than halfway there. And I had already blown my expectations out of the water. Why would I stop now? I could have my best race ever! I shook off the voices and kicked it up a notch and I was suddenly right behind her again.
The Elation of Achievement
The last ¼ mile or so of the race, she blew it out of the water – she went full on sprint through the last 3 or 4 city blocks through the crowd, down into the stadium, and through the finish line. And I was right on her heals every step of the way! It was crazy exciting, and so exhilarating! I can STILL remember how it all felt in this moment – 10 years later, and I am SO glad I didn’t listen to those voices in my head! It was truly amazing and so much fun!! And the funny part is that NO ONE was waiting for me at the finish line. It was just me, high-fiving my young running buddy. But I was SO proud of myself! It was MY moment of proving to myself what I am capable of, even when doubt and insecurities try to take over.
In those moments that we are given that option – to push through, to just do it, or to give up – those are the moments that you build your self-respect. Those are the moments that make or break your confidence. The moments when you either grow stronger, or create a pattern of potential ‘failures’ for yourself, validating those negative voices. And I’m not just talking about races here. It’s everything in life. We have to be the one to ignore those annoying, doubting and sabotaging voices in our heads. The ones that tell us we can’t do it, we’re not good enough, or we’ll never accomplish our goals.
Truly, other people can inspire us to reach for more, as that young runner did that day – but WE have to inspire ourselves to do the work, to follow through, to stop making excuses, and to stop listening to the sabotaging voice in our heads. The exhilaration you will feel when you do is amazing!
The Voice of Doubt
Around that same time of my life, I wrote my first book and self-published it. Mind you, it was fairly basic, short and about a topic very different from what I write about today. None-the-less, it was a lesson for me in follow through. It took me years to get my notes together and assemble the outline, much less write it, and then begin to work with the publishing company. And when you self-publish, the timelines are really upon you. And I’ll tell you that I had some long periods of doubt, and listening to the sabotaging voices, and that book came to a standstill several times. But slowly I re-inspired myself again, gained some confidence, and finally finished it. And despite the fact it was a fairly simple little book, I was SO proud that I got it done! It was an amazing accomplishment and a great first experience in the book-writing and publishing world. Lots of lessons learned that made it all worthwhile.
If You Believe it, You Can Achieve it
But what if I’d given in to the voices? What if I hadn’t finished that book, or for that matter the race? Really, this all comes back to self-love, doesn’t it? It’s about having enough self-respect for yourself to reach for your goals and believe you can achieve them. And in doing so it will build your self-respect even more. Yes, at times we also need to have some self-compassion, but we can’t stop reaching. We can’t let that voice sabotage us. Self-love is about ignoring that voice and creating a new one that tells you that you CAN do it, you are amazing, and you will get to that glorious end point and soak up that exhilaration! The powerful moments are when your voice of self-love starts to override the voice of doubt and fear. This is when you grow!
Isn’t it time to start reaching for it more? For whatever it is you want, in the moment, or in your life? Don’t let that voice of doubt stop you – ever. That voice is not coming from your soul or from the Divine – it comes from your ego, or your mind. It is often the voice that sabotages us, builds up our fear and our doubt, and convinces us we should just give up hope. And you should definitely ignore it when it tries to do that. Show yourself some love, and some faith. Give yourself a pep talk and keep moving forward. Know that what you want is possible, and that you CAN get there. Follow your heart and your gut instincts, and let all that doubt just melt away….
You might also enjoy 4 Ways to Keep Yourself Motivated and Committed to Your Goals and Thriving in Life at Any Age
A book that relates to this topic is Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis