I believe in that satisfaction and pride a person feels after achieving their goal is directly proportional to the sweat, the pain, and the gut-wrenching effort it took to get there. At the beginning, write down a clear goal, a goal that you embrace whole-heartedly, for which you are willing to push harder than you have ever done before. Why is it important to you? Since the road to the goal is often long and treacherous, and sometimes all you want to do is give up, let the goal motivate you to keep moving forward. Imagine the feeling of accomplishment and pride that you will feel at the end. Sometimes, just knowing that you gave it your best effort is enough.
As a cross country runner, I soon realized the amount of pain, effort, and commitment running requires. I still remember the first day of practice: June 7, 2004, 5:30am. The 2.5mile run felt like the hardest thing I had ever done – my lungs were burning and my muscles aching. I remember thinking, “I am definitely not coming tomorrow.” However, at the end, after pouring out all my effort into those few miles, I felt proud of myself – a smile lit up my face. I came back the next day, and the day after that, despite the heat, the pain, and even a few lost toenails. The harder I worked, the better I felt at the end. My goal each day was to push myself harder than I did yesterday. Coach Owers always used to say, “I don’t ask for miracles – I just want you to give me your best effort.” I fully embraced those words as I continued running. As my goal was always to just keep improving, it continually rose higher and higher, just inches out of my grasp. This way I achieved more than I ever thought I could, and even when I didn’t hit best times, just knowing that I truly gave it my best is all that mattered. Everything I learned in running, I continue to apply everyday as I strive to improve in all of the faucets of life.
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