It Takes FOUR Laps to Make a Mile...

Now that we’re more than one week into the new year, are you still on track and moving toward any goals you had set to make 2021 your best year yet? As Cindy and I pulled into the gym parking lot early this morning, there were still several extra cars - but not as many extras as last Monday…

I closed the last post by emphasizing the importance of being realistic about how much our circumstances and limitations can impact our progress toward achieving new goals, especially when those goals are really big and require significant changes to our daily routines! I also promised to share a story of a time where I failed miserably because I allowed my ego to take over; it was one of those cases where my mouth wrote a check my butt couldn’t cover…

When Matt was wrestling, he and I were extremely consistent with our workout schedules. We would typically lift weights three or four days each week, even during the wrestling season when he had practice every day after school. We were both in fairly good shape even after just a few months of that…

Early in his sophomore year, Matt mentioned an abysmal time in running the mile during school. Convinced that he just hadn’t applied himself and being determined to teach him an important life lesson, I boasted that I was certain that I could beat that time by several minutes and likely beat him one on one if that was as hard as he was willing to push himself. 

Before I go on, don’t miss that fact that it had been nearly 20 years since I ran any farther than around the bases during a beer league softball game. And while we were lifting weights regularly, and fairly intensely, any cardio activity I did was relatively minimal!

Shortly after my bold statement to Matt, in front of a few of our friends, we hopped in the car and headed to the local high school’s track. Having boasted that I could complete the four laps necessary in less than six and a half minutes, I figured that I would just need to maintain a pace of around a minute and a half per lap to have some time to spare. 

I got off to what I thought was a decent start but our friend who was timing us informed me that one minute and forty-five seconds had already passed by the time I finished the first lap. Although it wasn’t too far off the pace I was hoping for, I could barely breathe at that point! It seemed like running the next half lap took an hour. The only reason I even made it through the entire second lap was that our car was parked near where we started and they couldn’t drive to the other end of the track to pick me up…

I have no memory whatsoever of how Matt finished that evening; I’m just glad I didn’t die!

Here’s the point… It’s great to be ambitious and set big goals but we need to be realistic in what will be required of us in seeing them through. Whether it’s a physical limitation or a circumstance in our life that’s out of our control, there will be times where drastic changes in order to charge forward toward a somewhat unreasonable target just aren’t an option. In those situations, we’re typically much better off to be realistic about what we can do in the short term, and on a consistent basis, then work to improve on that over time.

But even then, the necessary steps won’t magically fall into place every single day. We’ll look at that in the next post and dig into what we can do to avoid getting completely off track.

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