The first mile & the last/the short goals & the long

I have been thinking a lot about a phrase that I have heard used frequently on other blogs, Twitter, and FB lately.  The saying that “the first mile is a liar”; I think there is a fair amount of truth to that statement, but I would add a bit more to it.  The first mile a lot of times is a rough one, sometimes physically and sometimes mentally.  There are just days that it requires a lot of self talk to get out the door and to even lace up the shoes.  I started off my journey often making bargains with myself that I would do at least a mile and then decide if I stop or keep going, most of the time I kept going.

What I would add, in my experience at least, is the last mile lies at times too, it feels like it will never end.  This Saturday when I got to mile 9 it seemed like I would never get to mile 10.  I thought the world must have slowed down and not one bothered to tell me, or maybe I had slowed and like a bad scifi movie the world was still going forward. 

I know the reality of it, that a mile is a mile, but when you focus on something you make it seem like it lasts longer.  This is both a benefit and a drawback depending on what you focus on.  Realizing that my focus affects me (and perhaps you) that way is an advantage.  Focusing on the things we enjoy can add to life and making our focus move to the short term can help us keep our motivation.  At the end of last year I worried about how I was possibly going to make it through the training.  How was I going to fit getting those miles in?  I think now that I was looking too far ahead, I realized it and started focusing on weekly goals.  I still look at the big picture (I need to so I keep the big goal in mind), but I find that the small steps keep me going and motivated.

How does this apply to you?  This time of year the people that started off wanting to do better this year with exercise and diet may or may not be seeing results.  The people that don’t see the neon flashing signs that change is happening tend to give up, the ones that focus on the small changes or small steps keep going.  Keep the changes going, they will add up and you will see results.  Stay focused, if you need to stay focused on the small steps that works, but don’t forget the big goal.  Mine’s crossing that finish line at 26.2 at least once in my life.  Truth be told my motivation is so hi at the moment if I could afford it I would be signing up for another full and I haven’t even finished my first.

What are your goals and how do you stay motivated?


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pamela Hernandez (@ThriveFit)
    Jan 14, 2014 @ 03:15:57

    I think the first 20 minutes suck. 🙂 It’s funny how when I decide to go out for a 30 minute run, I am waiting for it to get over most of the run. But I feel so good at 30 I usually keep going for another 5 or 10 minutes.
    I keep going because I just do. 🙂


  2. sarahkerner
    Jan 14, 2014 @ 04:23:18

    This is excellent advice. I recently had to declare a do-over on all my New Year’s plans because I had such a bad start to the year and it was really upsetting me. But I know I’m in it for the long haul, so one bad week isn’t going to make or break me.


  3. shiramiller
    Jan 14, 2014 @ 16:03:39

    Great wisdom in this post! Taking a big picture perspective while breaking it down into smaller steps has been essential in just about anything I’ve undertaken…right now I’m applying it in eating cleaner, adding a new element to my business and my book on getting unstuck. 🙂


  4. Toni Church
    Jan 15, 2014 @ 06:53:30

    I find some runs are great start to finish and some just suck 😦 Usually after a mile I feel great, but I agree that the last always seems so long too. I try vary my routes so that I have something new to look at. I find that plans need to be flexible too, to accommodate how you feel. My big goal is the NYC marathon this year. I stay motivated by looking forward towards that goal.


  5. Suzanne Digre (@WorkoutNirvana)
    Jan 16, 2014 @ 10:25:03

    Such a good post Jenn! It’s true for me too, pretty much anything I do is tougher the first “mile.” Sometimes it just takes awhile to warm up and after that things go more easily. But I never have trouble getting out the door to workouts… I can’t get there soon enough 🙂


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