I was out for a run this morning and while I was struggling to keep breathing let alone running I remembered a great quote I read recently.
Commitment doesn’t start at the beginning when you are pumped up. It starts when the fun stops, the going gets tough & you don’t want to do it.
I decided this week I want to get into a habit of having a run / prayer time first thing in the morning. I felt pretty committed to it when I first planned it. Even when I woke up this morning and I really didn’t want to get out of bed, I still felt committed, because (call me crazy) I heard God whisper to me to get my day started by chatting to him. So I got up and got out there. It was a particularly beautiful morning this morning, and I was having a good time – I was actually enjoying it! Then half way round I hit the “hill”. Ok, so I’m using that term fairly liberally. Those of you who know where I live will be struggling to imagine where within 3km of my house there is a hill! So, ok, relatively speaking I hit the hill. It’s enough of an incline anyway to cause a novice like me a bit of pain. I was about half way round, it was tough going and suddenly I wasn’t having so much fun.
And the thought occurred to me, how often is it like that in life? You start out on something with enough enthusiasm to make the decision to commit to it a bit of a no brainer…And then however long in, you realise it’s not that fun anymore. Things happen to discourage you, it all gets a bit tough, and you suddenly don’t feel that committed anymore.
Now, on my run I felt like stopping but I didn’t. Partly because I already had this blog post forming in my mind, and it wouldn’t have worked if I’d stopped! But also I think there are a few keys to remaining committed when the going gets tough.
1. Remember why you set off doing it in the first place. Maybe you started a new fitness regime, or a job search, or a family with certain motives and goals in mind – remind yourself of those. Some days you’ll need to – especially with the kids one!
2. Consider whether you’re carrying the right fuel on board. I went on my run this morning haven’t not eaten anything – not a smart move. What do you fill your mind with? If you’re setting up a new business you’ll be reading up about how to do it. If you’re trying to kick a habit, whether it’s smoking, gossip or jealousy, perhaps don’t hang around with people who still do what you’re trying to move away from, or stop reading the magazines that are full of “people judging”.
3. Who is your support team? Do you have cheerleaders? I left my husband snoozing in bed this morning, but I know he’s backing me to keep going with this run in the morning malarkey. Similarly he, and a few others make up my support team. Whenever I set off on a new adventure, be it literal or not, they are cheering me on, particularly when it gets tough.
The thing is about a support team, you have to let them in. You have to share your dreams with them, and that can make you feel so vulnerable it’s like you’re stripping yourself naked; you have to let them comment, whether it’s what you wanted to hear or not; and you have to let them pick you up when you inevitably trip up now and again. And again. And again.
Now I should note that sometimes when you’ve entered into some adventures with commitment, despite all your efforts you have to get out of it. However I would say this is less often than not. If you feel like giving up, push that little bit harder, and you might just find you could do it after all.
Finishing any race feels great, but that feeling of making it to the end when you’ve been through difficult times in the middle and yet remained committed and kept going, is one of life’s best. By all means feel fed up sometimes when things don’t go to plan; go ahead, slow down to almost stopping point if it gets hard; and shout at your support team if you’re getting frustrated – that’s what they’re there for!
But whatever you do.