I’ve been getting into running lately. I signed up to run in the Run for Your Life Zombie 5k on a lark and over the course of training for it, I discovered that I really enjoy running. When I started talking to my brother – who races in triathalons for fun – about this, he started telling me that I needed to just keep with it and start aiming for running marathons.
I tried my best not to laugh in his face. I mean, I went from barely being able to run a mile without sucking wind and praying for the sweet release of death to running 5k like it weren’t no thing and he’s talking about my running 26 goddamn miles? Dude I only signed up for the zombie run because I wanted to prove a point about nerds and surviving the zombie apocalypse!
The problem was that I was looking at the end goal – 26 fucking miles! – and letting it psyche me out. All I could see is where I was – able to run 3 miles maybe 4; I couldn’t picture running the whole length.
I’m sure you can see where I’m about to go with this.
The hardest part of any long project is often just getting started. This is true whether you’re trying to run a marathon write a novel, lose 30 pounds or trying to improve your dating life and learning how to find and build the relationships you want. You feel the thunder in your heart and the electricity in your soul getting you jazzed up like a kid unable to sleep on Christmas Eve right until you take a good look at exactly what it is you’re trying to do and just how far you have to go.
Suddenly that thunder may seem more like a fart in an empty opera hall and your nervous energy has turned into frustration and confusion. You know where you want to be but it’s just so intimidatingly far from where you’re starting that it almost seems impossible.
When you focus exclusively on the end-goal, you risk psyching yourself out before you’ve even begun. You don’t need to do it all at once… you just need to do the work that makes getting there inevitable.