Soon after making September’s goals, our topic for the Wilberforce Leadership Fellowship conference call was success and failure. In the last year or so, I’ve become very goal oriented. They help keep me on track. And they keep me busy. But them this reading helped me to see goals and success in a new light:
It talked about how “many of us picture success as looking like someone other than who we are”, saying many people strive for the wealth of Bill Gates, intelligence of Albert Einstein, athletic ability of Michael Jordan, and the heart of Mother Teresa. But “[y]ou would be a bad imitation of them, and you would eliminate the possibility of becoming the person you were meant to be”
Whoa, Nelly. And not only that:
“If you make happiness your goal, you are almost certainly destined to fail.”
“It has never come as the result of possessing something.”
Ultimately, success is a journey, it says. It’s when you know your purpose in life, grow to reach your maximum potential, and sow seeds along the way which benefit others.
Honestly, it doesn’t sound like a very difficult concept. So why did it have such an impact on me?
Well, I stopped caring if I met every single goal, and I started caring more about moving in the right direction and mastering things in my life. Something I’ve been wanting to master for a long time is discipline. Just being a disciplined person. I have good self control when it come to not doing things. But making myself actually do things is harder. So when I made the goal of working out 3 times a week and setting a specific time to get up, I laughed a little inside my head.
But I actually did it!
I got up by 6:15 every weekday morning (except one) last month. It’s not because I’m amazing. Nope. One morning at the beginning of the month, I actually FELL ASLEEP on top of hand weights on the couch after about 20 minutes of working out. Yup. You can laugh 🙂
Other than that stellar moment in time, I get up (with a suitemate, which makes it easier) and out the door to work out for about 45 minutes. On days when we come back to
torture ourselves do strength, abs, and toning, we go a bit shorter. We get up about an hour before the sun rises. Campus is dead.
And it is amazing.
What I’ve realized is that being disciplined and accomplishing things is not about being amazing. I fail at a lot of things. But everything I do is a choice. I could choose to sleep later and not workout. I could choose to go to bed earlier and not be tired.
But I choose to make myself get up and get going no matter what. I choose to do this because I know it is good for me. And guess what? I really enjoy it now. Choosing to do what is good is hard to start out with, because often it’s uncomfortable. It’s hard to create a new habit. But sacrifice, hardship, and pushing ourselves causes us to become more fully the person we have the potential to be. It’s a choice.
So that’s why I choose to keep going back.
Every time we go, I more fully master being disciplined. I say “no” to spending quality time with my bed, and “yes” to workin’ my body. And getting stronger. Through the grace of God (because ya’ll know it’s not possible to keep up something with just your tiny bit of willpower), I have conquered selfish desires. In case you’re wondering, I left them at the gym 😉
We started out going to the track, and I loved the wind and seeing the sunrise. Now we go to the gym and come back to our suite to do strength stuff. My shirts actually get soaked through with sweat, which feels like an accomplishment. Most days I do an elliptical, but sometimes a tredmill. And guess what? Today I was able to run for longer than I ever have before. My weights are too light now, so I need to get heavier ones.
This month I discovered that I can push myself to do more than I thought possible. I can run faster, do more reps, and go longer than ever before. I can do it. It’s possible. As long as you keep focused on why you’re doing it (ie. becoming a better person, not being all sexy or something like that). And you know what? Maybe there’s something you think is impossible. Maybe you’re discouraged. Maybe you’ve been wanting to do something for a long time, but have been putting it off.
May I offer a short piece of advice?
JUST DO IT.
The beginning is the hardest part. But then you realize it’s possible. You can do it. You can choose to do it. That’s the exhilarating part where you realize what you’re capable of. Then when you realize that you are in control, you’re empowered to push yourself to new places and challenge yourself. And then viola! Suddenly you realize your potential.
Hey, pretty soon I’ll be able to “drop and give you 20”. And by the end of the year I want to be able to jog/run a 5k. It’s sounds crazy now, but hey. I’m choosing to take the first step.
Will you join me? Tell me about something BIG you want to do, and let’s break it down into the first step you can make now to move toward it. It might not be easy, but it will be worth it. And, hey. All it takes is one choice to get you moving in the right direction.
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