I steeled my will to go to the gym and spend an hour on the elliptical machine. It wasn’t exactly quality cardio, but I did get it done. Probably helped me to sleep and is building momentum toward more and better training. I seem so far removed from even being able to think about getting fit for an ultra. However, getting out and doing something every day is the first step. Getting momentum going is what is key at this point, rather than a state of fitness at a future date.
I’m finding this is true in other disciplines as well. Reading. Writing. Counseling. The temptation is to think in terms of goals completed. This can be depressing, as my thinking tends to drift toward how far away I am from the goal and how much effort it will take to get there. Unfailingly, this turns out to be an exercise in self defeat, as I ponder the Sisyphian labor involved in reaching this milestone. It works much better for me to hold the goal loosely, and instead, work on the process that should move me toward that outcome, and every day continue to take the steps necessary to move toward the objective. “Success” seems to be more of an exercise in taking disciplined steps to move things along on a number of fronts rather than arriving at a “Eureka”moment. Momentum is key to continuing to be faithful in this discipline. What you do when no one sees is what turns your endeavors from brainstorms or ideas into reality. When momentum accrues, the labor no longer seems Sisyphian, and the process becomes the focus rather than the outcome.
I still shudder to think of some of the minimum objectives I need to achieve to keep the status quo. I don’t know why the word “goal’ is such an intimidating word, why it screams “failure!” It’s possible that in challenging oneself, there must be a strong possibility of failure. Otherwise, the endeavor wouldn’t really be a challenge. However, my slothful self doesn’t quite see it that way. Even my wife hates it that the word “goal” is such a taunt to me. I even felt this way when I was competing in cross-country and track in high school and college, I surpassed a significant number of seasonal goals. It’s probably the distance from starting the process to completing the process, only to do it all over again. It can quickly get into the mentality of “can you top this?” Such an equation puts a person under a great deal of pressure, because there comes a point when every achievement can’t be built upon, or the point of diminishing returns for one’s effort is reached, and it is folly to go beyond this point.