On some days exercising is much harder than others. Especially when it is halfway through the year and you have added an additional 10 pounds to the initial 15 you were planning to lose. Your body is not used to such strenuous movements and your racing heart feels like it is about to explode in your chest during your first run. It is easy to reduce your effort, go from running to walking and it is even more tempting to go from walking to crawling. Most things are easier when you actually put your muscle where your mind is though. Once you’re actually dressed and you’ve hit the road there is a part of you that wants to give it your best. After all it is a miniscule portion of your day and whatever you put in will be commensurate with what you get out.
Different runners have different techniques for how to keep going when you are sorely (pun intended) tempted to stop moving. Mine aligns with the popular adage –“ x marks the spot.” When I feel like I have nothing left in me I look as far as my eyes can see and agree to make it to the tree, the lamppost, the person walking away from me, the broken down vehicle, the shiny building. The mark changes depending on my surroundings, but one thing remains the same: where I put my “x” is where I put my focus. Suddenly this concrete decision sends a burst of energy to my legs and a charge to my brain, not only am I still running, but I’m running faster than I was right before I was about to give up.
Do you know that you are that “x” for some people? During my last run, my spot was literally the furthest person I could make out along the long straight road ahead of me. There stood a young lady having a chat with a friend. I was not sure how long she was going to be there in her cherry red skirt, when her conversation would wind down or if she was going to walk away, hail a cab or jump into her car. However I had decided that I would cover the 150 meters between us before she moved a muscle. I made on time. In fact, I suspect she noticed me coming and decided to wait for me because her companion was gone.
As I approached she smiled shyly and said, “Well done sis. I will start tomorrow.” Initially she was my spot, my “x,” my motivation of where I had to get to before I was allowed to slow my pace. Because of my persistence I became her starting point too. If I had decided to turn around and walk home or just collapse where I was our notable encounter would not have occurred. I do not know what tomorrow she will start on, but I am happy to have achieved my goal and even happier to have inspired someone in a small way.
Do you know that you are someone’s spot? You are literally their “x.” I am not referring to a mark on the road that they must reach before they exert less effort. I mean you are a milestone in the race of life and as you keep moving they keep pushing themselves further. There are people who are inspired by the fact that you keep moving. There are people whose motivation is based on the fact that when you fell down, you got back up and kept trying. There are people who see you waking up everyday and going to work and it makes them want to do more, do better or remain consistent. There are people who see you excelling across multiple fields, chasing your dreams and your passions, not letting the adversities stop you and this motivates them. There are people who say as long as you keep moving they will keep moving. Your motion inspires them.
A lot of these people probably have not even let you know. They may not even be people you interact with deeply or often. What they consider motivation might be something you’re tired of and do not rate very highly (a small business, a consistent passion, a job you categorize as “dead end”). Whatever the case, you have to realize that your forward motion is crucial to more than just you; you have a tribe behind you and ‘when you move they move, just like that.’ So please keep moving. Do not stop in your tracks. Do not turn around. Do not sit on the ground and throw a tantrum. Keep moving.
Move towards your goals, move towards your dreams, move towards your aspirations. When you move towards them they are easier to see and additional details inspire you to go further faster. For every move you make you are covering more distance, and even when you make mistakes you are gaining more knowledge. Therefore your constant forward motion is of great benefit to you too! How much more so when you are inspiring others, seen and unseen, present and those you will meet in the future. If that’s not motivation to keep going, I don’t know what is. You can’t stop!
If half the year is gone by and you haven’t dusted off your proverbial running shoes/plans/resolutions once that is okay. Be aware that it will be hard when you start, your muscles will ache like crazy and your body/brain might resist the extra you’re asking from it, but keep going anyway. Day 2 ends better than Day 1, Day 3 you start to feel like you’re living in a new better home with a few minor aches. Week 2 you begin to remember who you wanted to be and where you were headed, and it gets easier to motivate yourself and remain consistent.
Dust off that sketchbook, mount that canvas on that easel, bring out the accounting textbooks you need to study for the exam, get on that job application site, find your half finished manuscript, draft that proposal, etc. Do whatever you planned to do to become the enhanced version of the person you already are deep down. Put in the work, put spots in place and keep that same energy until you reach them, and do not forget – you are someone’s “x,” someone’s spot, so kindly do not stop. Welcome to the second half of 2018! Run in such a way as to get the prize. You’ve got this.