I’ve never run a marathon. Probably because I cannot get through the first 10 minutes. I mean, the first couple of minutes are fine. I’m feeling good. But, something happens at about 3-4 minutes. That’s when I start to feel my heart beating a little faster. “No problem,” I think, “this is normal.” The next couple of minutes tell a different story. My heart begins to pound in my chest. I become short of breath. It’s uncomfortable. Definitely not fun. What was I thinking?
I try to remind myself that this is normal but, begin to question, is this healthy? Could I give myself a heart attack? Is this what a heart attack feels like? What if I pass out right here? Will people stop to help me? How embarrassing! I bet my doctor would disapprove of this. I better slow down. I’ll just stop for a minute and catch my breath.
One minute becomes four and four minutes become twenty. I’m rested now, and out of time. I need to get showered, so I can get to work. Maybe tomorrow. I don’t know, maybe running a marathon was a dumb goal anyway. My knee hurts.
A day goes by, maybe a week. I’ve not forgotten about my goal to run a marathon. In fact, I think about it quite a bit. I picture myself running along, feeling strong. I pass the spectators and grab a cup of water, as I charge past. They stand, excited, cheering me on to the finish. I can see it, the finish line is near. Here we go! Maybe I’ll get up early tomorrow and go for a run.
I’m dreaming again because it’s October, which is goal-setting time for next year. Do you know what I think about? The marathon. I still want it. When I think about it, I get excited. But, my failure from last year is haunting me. Consumed with failure, I consider a different goal. Something more likely. Something safer. Workout? “That’s it,” I think. “I’ll work out every day. Once I do that for a year, then I’ll be good enough to run a marathon. This is perfect! Damn, I’m good.”
You know how this story ends. It’s the same game every year. I fear how it actually ends. Eventually, I am beaten down by years of failure, carrying a pile of unaccomplished goals. I’m too old, too overweight and too grumpy to care. It falls from my list. The opportunity I had is no longer available to me. It is gone, forever. I’m left with a wish, a dream of what could have been, and what should have been. Just like Mark Twain said,
In twenty years, you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did.”Mark Twain
What goal are you too scared to set for next year? You know which one. It’s the one that might not work? There is a secret to breaking this pattern. In fact, it’s so simple that you won’t believe me.
I’m not being trite. It is that simple. The difference between a life of dreaming and a life of accomplishments is choosing it. Maybe the reason that you did not achieve your goal last year is that you are stuck dreaming and you never really chose it. Or, maybe you are like me and you chose the goal, but once it got a little tough, you gave up. It doesn’t matter which one. What matters is that we get another chance. So what will it be? Will you choose it?