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 Life is Not a Sprint, It’s a Marathon 

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Michael Santos

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“The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity even under the most difficult circumstances to add a deeper meaning in his life.”
– Viktor Frankl

Dr. Al Dirschberger on Strength

Have things ever been so bad you just wanted to give up? How many projects have you started around the house, yet never finished? Have you ever stopped to just tasks in and enjoy the moment?

Instant gratification! Social media, the internet, fast food, overnight delivery and so on have turned our lives into a state of instant gratification — we want to sprint to the ends of our lives. We need it, we thrive for it, we want it, and we want it now. This mentality consumes society. Do you truly know where your path will take you? You do not know how far the road will go or what obstacles you may meet along the way. There is always a bend ahead were you cannot see. Instead of trying to get there without a view, slow down. There is no spot on the journey more meaningful than where you are right now on that path. 

Time. There is never enough of it and we always want more of it. Buddha states “do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind in the present”. To better utilize the time you have, to affect the path you are on, plan now for your future by slowing down, setting goals and start changes in your behavior with small modifications. What you do today will affect your future. When I was incarcerated, I had a choice: continue to complain about the injustices of the system and live in the past while rushing toward any solution or embrace the moment and redefine the future. To accomplish such a task, it is important to understand that life is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Everything good takes time and hard work.  

If life is a marathon, then it should be approached the same way you train for a marathon. You don’t roll out out of bed one day and decide today is the day you are going to run 26.5 miles. You develop a plan. You start by developing goals, you clarify your aspirations. you explore behavioral options, specific steps and you match these steps with identifiable behaviors and outcomes you can measure. You start small and slow and build toward a new you. Soon you realize not only can you run a marathon, you have created a new identity, a new you. Healthier, stronger, more confident and much more happier.
BJ Fogg, PhD developed simple steps in behavior design that creates a successful path to new behaviors. His book “Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything” helps you to feel good about your successes instead of feeling bad about your failures. When it comes to habit formation, simplicity wins. The simple steps assist in developing a new you.

The steps are:

  • Clarify your Aspirations – your goals, your outcomes2. Explore Behavior Options – specific steps- If you had a magic wand, what would it look like?3. Match with Specific Behaviors – your Golden BehaviorGolden Behaviors:a) effective in realizing your aspirationsb) you want to do the behavior-you are motivatedc) you can do the behavior-you have the ability4. Start Tiny – small and manageable5. Find a Good Prompt – helps you do what you want to accomplish6. Celebrate Successes – positive reinforcements – lead to habitual responses7. Troubleshoot areas that need addressing
  • You are creating new habits, stopping old habits and swapping new ones for old ones. Emotions create new habits. When creating new habits, you need to embrace your new identity. A simple way to remember the process is A+B=C. Create an Anchor movement that reminds you to do the new behavior, use the new Behavior, then Celebrate your success.
  • Change take times. Time you cannot define in seconds or minutes. You must be willing to be in the marathon to succeed. Having a need for speed may get you to the end of your quest, but will it produce the results you are looking for? Will you be able to reflect on the journey? Take a step back, enjoy the scenery. Enjoy the process you took to make your life meaningful as well as enjoyable.

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