On Saturday, I ran up a mountain. The trail I took is (from my car) 3.72 miles uphill and brutal. My body screamed at me the entire way. It was hard, I felt the burn.
But I kept going. Slowly at times, stopping for a breather thrice, but I made it to the top.
I think through the years, I’ve discovered that just because something is uncomfortable doesn’t mean it should be avoided. In fact, I’ve realized that these are the moments that have helped me develop into who I am – a person who sees a comfort zone and actively tries to break it down. Running has helped me really solidify this mentality.
So, how do you look discomfort in the face and keep going to reach your goals (in running and in life)? It’s a matter of two things: showing up and supporting yourself.
Here’s how I approach things:
- Write down goal: In my case, “Run up this mountain without stopping”
- Gauge for current abilities: How far can you currently go without stopping?
- Practice regularly and forget the 99% goal (just enough to remember your motivation but not enough to obsess over it). Enjoy where you are and keep showing up: I keep running mountains.
- Pat yourself on the back whether you’re progressing, struggling, or stuck. Doesn’t matter, because you’re showing up and that makes you awesome: Me on my runs, sometimes out loud, sometimes in my head: “OMG THAT WAS SO HARD but you got farther today! You are amazing” or “You struggled through that but you still kept trying! Way to endure, even through the tired, you’re a freaking champ!”
- Celebrate milestones, even if they’re itty bitty. Because what you are doing is amazing and special and don’t you forget it: I only stopped 3 times on the way up, which is crazy good!
- Celebrate when you accomplish goal. Be proud of yourself. But don’t dwell on it: I haven’t run up said mountain without stopping yet but I was SO close this time. When I reach other goals in running, it makes me just dream bigger. I thought the line was there but, clearly, it wasn’t…and I keep searching for that line (which I hope I never find).
Don’t let discomfort or how hard something is scare you away from something you really and truly want to accomplish. Be gentle on yourself. Have patience. Keep showing up.