Michelangelo said, “Inside every block of marble is the perfect statue; my job is to take away what is not that.”
This quote gives me pause. It shifts my perspective.
Maybe because I have over-filled my schedule at times in my life. I have added without subtracting — said yes more than no. I have wondered what ELSE I should be doing (in addition to what I am already doing) to get me where I want to go. And many of the “additions” have not been things that move me closer to my goals.
This quote reminds me that it’s important to decide what not to do. Because adding can distract me from what’s important. Adding can create more noise and busyness.
And time spent adding is time not spent carving.
You started a new exercise program or diet plan.
Within the week, you missed a workout OR you caved and ate some of those Cadbury Mini Eggs leftover from Easter. (Who can blame you? Those things are like crack.)
Your internal monologue went something like this, “Crap, I blew it. What’s wrong with me? I guess I will start again tomorrow.”
And then maybe, just maybe, you did start again the next day.
Or maybe, just maybe, you felt so discouraged by the failed attempt that you scarfed down a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
We are, for the most part, completely oblivious to the subconscious beliefs or thoughts that run our lives: beliefs like, “If you eat something ‘bad’ when you are on a diet, that day is now ruined. It can no longer be a perfect eating day.” So, your options are to start-over tomorrow, or the following Monday (no wonder we hate Mondays), or to accept the lie that you just can’t do it.
Where did this belief come from? I don’t know. But I do know that it’s not a helpful one!
Several years ago I read a book about about balanced nutrition and the author made a statement that stuck with me. He said, “If you make a poor choice, you are only your next meal or snack away from being back on track.”
WHAT?? That’s genius! You mean I don’t have to fall into the trap of eating more crap because I feel guilty for blowing it in the first place? I can hit the restart button with my next meal or snack choice?
This principle, which I am cleverly calling the “You-are-only-your-next-choice-away-from-being-back-on-track” principle, can be applied to EVERY goal we set.
We all make mistakes. BUT…we can minimize the impact by how we choose to respond (phew).
A few weeks ago, I ran my fifth full marathon. (For those of you who don’t know, a marathon is 42.2 kilometers or 26.2 miles).
A marathon is a test of physical strength and endurance not only during the race itself but also in the weeks and months leading up to the event. I’ve learned a lot during these times about how the training experience mirrors other aspects of my life. During a long run, I often battle the desire to quit. My muscles are screaming; I’m hot, tired, and thirsty, and I wonder why I’m doing it in the first place.
Similarly, in the process of establishing my own business and following my dreams, I have often fought the desire to quit. The bills are “screaming”. I’m overwhelmed, confused, and afraid. And I wonder why I ever thought this was a good idea.
But my training has taught me that endurance pays off….that there are times when my immediate goal may be to simply put one foot in front of the other. It’s taught me that I CAN submit my “feelings” to my “will” and that I have a choice with every step I take -quit or keep going. I feel like quitting but I choose to keep going. And every step I manage to take brings me one step closer to my goal.
Shortly after crossing the finish line I realize what I just accomplished. And I’m grateful.
Grateful for all the mornings that I didn’t hit the snooze button.
Grateful for the three hour training runs I didn’t skip.
Grateful for not listening to all the reasons I “couldn’t”, and for the many hills I had to climb.
The very things that make the journey so difficult – the things I have to climb over, push through or leave behind – are the things that make me stronger and prepare me for what is yet to come.
(I originally wrote this 10 years ago. I have since completed 3 more full marathons. In my last, I wore a full monkey costume to raise money for charity and because I am crazy).
Me and my dad.