“I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought.”
-Arthur Blank, co-founder of Home Depot
I’m a dreamer, and the longer I live, the more dreams I have. There is so much I want to do, so much yet to be accomplished. My passions drive me to put in the effort required to realize my dreams, but inevitably I encounter hindrances that impede my progress and obstruct my success.
As an amateur long distance runner, I learned some lessons on overcoming obstacles while training for and running my third marathon. These tips will help you tackle the challenges and keep working on your goals.
1. Expect obstacles and embrace them.
Know and expect that problems will exist. Some will be external, those outside your control. In this case, mine were hills, high elevation, rough terrain and two-way traffic.
I was given fair warning about the hills, so I pushed myself to up the incline on the treadmill. This was also going to be my first experience running at high elevation. In preparation, I trained with an elevation mask to increase oxygen efficiency and strengthen my breathing muscles. It was as awkward as it seems. A few old guys actually threw their hands up in the air! I’m happy to say my labor paid off.
Other obstacles will be internal, those issues that come up that you do have control over. Even as I wrote this post, I had to resolve issues with tech support. Don’t loose your passion, and when you hit a wall, don’t bang your head against it.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
– Reinhold Niebuhr
2. Break down your goals into smaller goals.
The bigger the goal, the more time it takes to reach it. The mere thought of something being so far down the line can be discouraging, and the path to a huge dream can be overwhelming. Focus on one step at a time, and recognize each accomplishment when you reach clear milestones.
If your goal is to write a book, take it page by page, or chapter by chapter. If you’re working on getting that degree, take it course by course, semester by semester. Track your progress and celebrate at your mileposts.
This was the first time I used an app that announced regular progress updates. With each mile completed, I set myself another small goal: Complete the next one.
3. Tell yourself what you would tell someone else.
When we hit obstacles, we emotionally react. Don’t allow fear, shame, anger or sadness dissuade you from trying. Coach yourself. Soothe yourself. Preach to yourself. Be your own cheerleader when you have to.
Since this marathon was in the Sonoran desert, there weren’t the crowds of people along sidewalks that I was used to. Even the moral support at the aid stations was sparse. There were very few signs, very few cowbells, and very few pom-poms. I had to emotionally commit myself and master my thoughts.
To realize your mission, you’ve got to overcome your obstacles or find an alternative.
The truth is, sometimes obstacles cannot be overcome. In that case, be creative. Think things through. Reevaluate and be flexible with your plans. Use creativity to set a different yet meaningful goal. Brand new dreams become future realities!
God’s peace to you as you pursue your calling! It would make my day if you leave a comment telling me your current or lifelong goal. I’m here to help you. Ultreya!