I’ve mastered the art of giving up.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to be a runner, which is funny to me because I don’t really like the process of running. I really only enjoy when it’s over. I feel so accomplished! I also like the challenge. Running creates some of the best competition against yourself. When you run 1.5 miles in 25 minutes, you can challenge yourself to run two miles in 30 minutes. After that, you can try to run 2.25 miles, then 2.5…it never gets boring!
Last year, I set out to run three miles and only ever worked up to running two miles. I trained almost every day for 5 months and still could only run two miles. It took me 30 minutes to do that! (That’s a 15 min mile, guys, which is actually very slow!) I guess it was a little discouraging for me. I thought people could train for a 5k in eight weeks. That’s what Google said, anyway….not this girl.
I ran from May-October last year. I started again in January for about two weeks, and here I am on my third round of trying, yet again. I have run off and on since I was a teenager, and I have yet to follow through with my commitment. To put it bluntly, I give up every time.
In fact, when I was seven years old, I started playing soccer, and I loved soccer! I could play any position, but my favorite position to play was midfield. When I was in middle school, I played soccer for my school, and I could have continued my soccer journey, but I actually quit before going into 9th grade when I heard you had to run 12 minutes straight during practice. I couldn’t imagine myself EVER running that long without stopping, so I quit soccer and never played again, because of running!
I ran again tonight, and I was able to reflect a little on my past “failures” at running, and here are some reasons I’ve quit in the past (and I feel they can apply to more than just running):
- I gave up because my expectations were too high. I set an expectation for myself based upon what others could do, and when I didn’t reach that goal, I quit. Doesn’t that happen to all of us though? You thought you’d be able to do this or do that within a certain amount of time and when that goal wasn’t met, you just quit trying. A week passes, a month, then a year, and all of a sudden, all this time was wasted that could have been used to better yourself, to continue working toward that goal, whatever it may be. Looking back, if you’d only kept trying, your goal might have been reached by now.
- I gave up because it seemed like I wasn’t making progress. I wanted results NOW. I had been running for 5 months and hadn’t really made much progress in my eyes. I remember the day I was able to run 12 minutes straight for the first time, and I felt so proud of myself. I felt like I was kicking my “I can’t run 12 minutes” attitude from 8th grade in the face and really putting it in its place. That was until I ran 25 minutes straight and then 35 minutes straight and didn’t improve my time so easily, and I did that thing I always do; the progress slowed down, and I quit. How many times have you wanted something, and it just doesn’t seem to be happening? How easy is it to get discouraged?
- I gave up because I didn’t want to put in the time anymore. Training for anything takes time; running is no exception. I started getting tired of spending 30-45 minutes every day before or after work to do it. It became a commitment that I was tired of, because I wanted to spend my time doing something else, something that didn’t require so much work! Do you want to read your Bible more? It takes time. Do you want to go back to school? That takes time. I’ve learned that reaching any goal takes commitment and dedication. Commitment and dedication require we give up something precious: time.
Not everyone runs for exercise, but everyone runs. This life we live is like a race with different milestones to reach and people on the sidelines cheering us on. There are victories and setbacks. Giving up halfway will never do us any good. We all have a choice to make: will we continue or will we quit? What have you set out to do? Whatever your goal is, it will take time. It will take setting realistic expectations, and it will require a resolve that you will continue until you’ve met your goal, even if it seems no progress is being made. That’s what I’m going to do. I will run the race set before me, and I will see it to the end…I hope. Wish me luck!