Mulberry tree

I have restarted it this morning, the excitement of summer somehow throwing me off the momentum of winter and spring.

I am already a hobby-runner, however few years ago I would not image I could enjoy it. I’ve tried it several times and each time I’ve found it’s not for me, I don’t feel comfortable doing it, I have no sense of achievement, so I’d rather just leave it alone.

Sometimes my lungs, heart or legs scream at me to stop, no more! Sometimes my thoughts whisper why do it if you’re not enjoying it so much! And indeed I don’t always enjoy it, sometimes not at all.

There are times when I’m scared while running aloner, especially in the woods; I’m scared of people, wild boar, dogs.

This relatively simple sport and hobby is a new challenge for me, requires quite some effort and sometimes is accompanied with fear. It really pushes me out of my comfort zone.

So why am I even trying, what is my purpose of running?

For me, it is important to have a good physical and mental balance, a healthy lifestyle and to be in good shape. I feel best outdoors, the fresh air, the shapes and sounds of nature and the warmth of the sun fill me up and make me feel alive. Running, like everything new in my life, teaches me and continuous improvement is the engine that drives me. It’s one of the reasons why I keep going again and again, sometimes in longer sometimes shorter cycles.

While running in the morning, I couldn’t tell if it was instinct or conscious, but I have observed how I can motivate myself even when it’s really hard and I almost give up halfway through the set distance. Just repeating the lofty goal of “getting fit and healthy” is not quite enough.

When my strength is still holding out, I turn my attention to the good things around me. I see the wonder in the hilly landscape, breathe in the crisp September air, sense the sounds of the village and the forest, and am pleased to find that my muscles are able to do the work.

This morning the run went particularly well, I was able to enjoy the scenery and it gave me the energy to tackle the climbs. Then there comes a moment when everything becomes very difficult, breathing and thighs ache. This usually happens to me on the long climbs. Then, if I aim for the top of the climb and it seems very far, I lose the battle and give up. If I’m just looking ahead and can’t feel the distance to the finish, I give up somewhere in the unknown.

I’ve noticed the tactics I choose to keep me motivated and keep going even in the most difficult moments. I look out for a point in front of me that still seems within reach, that will be the new goal. Today it was a mulberry, then a light pole. “Now just run that far, I can do it” I say to myself. As soon as I set the goal, I’m looking directly ahead of me again, sensing the movement, the next step, the breathing. When I have reached the set tree, I feel I can continue the same tactic to the next foreseeable destination. Now for the light pole! Gradually, by setting and conquering intermediate targets, I run home.

One of the defining keys to success and fulfillment in both personal and business life is to be aware of our mission and goals to guide our actions. However I’ve experienced it myself and seen mission or great purpose falter before fulfillment. It is not uncommon in large corporate environments that sound strategies are created, many of which bleed to death during implementation. This can be due to a number of reasons, such as lack of resources, communication, knowledge, skill or motivation, or perhaps giving up due to initial failures.

A properly set, SMART intermediate goal, splitting the great goal into more achievable sub-goals – a well-positioned mulberry tree or light pole – can maintain motivation, give a quick sense of achievement, and provide the strength to continue.