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Big Goals & Self-Doubt

Posted Feb 24 2011 3:05pm

Hello, friends! 8-)

Thursday is flying by, isn’t it? I sort of wish it wasn’t because I have a lot of stuff to do, specifically tackling my inbox. I came home to over 500 emails! I love vacation, but I dislike coming back to the crazy mess of work waiting for me!


My morning started with a bowl of Greek yogurt mixed with almonds and cereal and a glass of  iced coffee with soy milk.

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Mid-morning, I had a bunch of errands to run around town, so I grabbed a smoothie to go. (FYI: Bag is from Target. Sunglasses are from the streets of NYC.)

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In the mix: frozen blueberries, vanilla protein powder , chia seeds , almond milk, and a secret ingredient .

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The other day, I stumbled upon this article in Harper’s Bazaar: Rita Wilson: Losing It . It’s your typical celebrity weight loss story: Rita Wilson gains weight, wants to lose it, and hires a top trainer– in this case, Jillian Michaels– to help her shed those unwanted pounds. I didn’t expect much from the article, so I skimmed through through it until I read Rita’s comment about her fitness motivations:

“We all have a story we tell ourselves: ‘I’m weak.’ ‘I’ve never been able to lose weight.’ ‘I’m big boned.’ ‘I’m menopausal and my metabolism has changed.’ ‘I can’t take time for myself.’ I read somewhere once that if your fantasies are your own, why not make them great ones? Why not ‘I will look like Gisele in a thong?’”

I love what she says about creating great “fantasies” for yourself, which I took to mean goals. I mean, why not aim high? It’s like that famous quotation: Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

The biggest goal that I ever set for myself was running a marathon, which, as you can imagine, it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. It was an overwhelming goal and it created a lot of self-doubt. I’ve never told anyone this, but when I committed to running a marathon with Team In Training, I didn’t think I could do it. Of course, I wanted to complete a marathon, but I honestly didn’t think I was physically or mentally capable of running 26.2 miles. But, I aimed high and hoped for the best.

At that point, the longest distance I’d run was a half marathon and it was an ugly 13.1 miles . It was that race that sidelined my running for about a year, so, obviously, I was really worried about getting injured again. Plus, I wasn’t sure if I had the physical (and mental) stamina to run for 4+ hours. During my training, every time I went out to accomplish a longer run, I was super nervous about tackling the unchartered territory . Those longer distances were extreamly intimidating! But, breaking my big goal into smaller chunks and trucking along week-by-week made it much more managable, and I got through each of those long runs: 10 miles , 12 miles , 16 miles , 18, miles , and 20 miles .

Physically, it was essential to get my body used to running those distances, but mentally, it was even more important. The day that I ran 18 miles, for instance, I KNEW that I could run a marathon. I finally proved it to myself when I finished my 20-miler. It sealed the deal. Those two long runs were the confidence-boosters that I needed to achieve my goal.

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In a nutshell, here’s how I overcame my big goal self-doubt:

Sticking to the plan: Simply sticking to my training schedule and completing my runs provided me with the positive feedback that I needed. It proved to me that I could stick to a plan and my body could run farther and farther distances.

Breaking the big goal into smaller goals: I trained for 5 months, but each week brought me closer to my goal. My first long run was 3 miles, but I slowly worked my way up to a 20-miler run. Increasing my distance a little bit each week made the big goal seem like daunting. Achieving the smaller goals also gave me confidence to push my limits.

Doing confidence-building workouts: After taking a Body Pump class, I always feel strong, powerful, and confident. Boosting my self-confidence with this type of workout helped give me faith in my running.

Getting prepared: The night before my 18-miler, I obsessively prepared my gear for the next morning. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen the next day, but having control over this part of my run gave me the confidence I needed to tackle that long run.

Using mantras: Training for a marathon is a lot of hard work. There were tons of times that I wanted to quit, but mantras got me through the tough times and helped me to dig deep.

Do big goals overwhelm you? How do you deal?

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