Fall is in full swing and the older kids are well into after school activities while new moms are busy taking their babies to parent & tot gymnastics, sport ball or swimming lessons. Everyone is learning something new, taking on new goals and achieving new milestones while Mom and Dad happily ferry them from one activity to another.
By: Deborah Lowther
Have you ever noticed that we are always introducing our kids to new activities, teaching them new skills, encouraging them to try new sports, and yet we sit on the sidelines?
When was the last time you tried something new? Mastered a new skill, tried a new class or attempted a new sport? Stepping outside your comfort zone and pushing yourself just a little bit can lead to great achievements. You find out you are stronger than you think, smarter than you knew and it opens up a world of new friends with similar interests, provides new experiences and a new confidence to consider what you might accomplish next!
I love to run so had my kids running at an early age; their first finish line was crossed in a jogging stroller when each was only 8 months old. At 5, they started doing triathlons and each of them has a collection of medals. All for fun, none have that real competitive spirit but we are an active family. We practice together, we cheer them on and we are often amazed at how all 3 kids love doing triathlons .
Then it dawned on us. Our young kids had done 9 triathlons each and athletic Mom and Dad had done 0. We have run many races; been running for years – our comfort zone – but neither had ever done a triathlon. I was a lifeguard growing up, so a strong swimmer, and my husband bought a tri bike years ago and loves to ride, so why hadn’t we done a triathlon?
Simple. My husband can’t swim in a lake and I am terrified of triathlon bikes.
If your kids didn’t know how to swim or were afraid of riding a bike you would help them over come that fear and provide lessons and practice to master that skill, right? So now it was time for US to learn something new.
I set my goal pretty high, but that’s me! I’ve been setting goals my whole life as it motivates me to keep it up, to try harder and to stay in shape. It started with half marathons after my first baby was born 11 years ago, and this past summer the goal was going to be a triathlon. With 3 distances to choose from – a Sprint (26km), an Olympic (52km) or a Half Ironman (113km) – I went for the big one. My warm-up was an Olympic distance in June and my goal was the Half Ironman in July.
I had an amazing training group of women out of Millcroft Fitness that really made it so much fun as we trained for 6 months and I learned so much from each of them. I am still terrified of my bike, but learned I can ride and complete an Olympic distance triathlon in the pouring rain and a Half Ironman in 6 hours of 44 degree heat.
But you know what happened after I reached that Half Ironman goal ? I set another one. Two months later, I wanted to run a half marathon in under 2 hours. I had never done one that fast before. Never even ‘really’ tried. So I put that goal out there and went for it.
What Reaching a Goal Feels Like
Race day – At one point while running I imagined, visually, what it would be like to crest that hill near the finish line and see 1:58:00 on the time clock and – surprisingly – the tears started. I still had 9 km to go and really, the concept of actually finishing the race and seeing 1:58:00 on the time clock was just a fantasy to me. It made me teary to actually see those numbers in my head. Maybe this goal meant more to me than I thought.
21 km later, I was at that hill near the finish line. First I could see my kids, ready to jump in and cross the finish line with me. Then I saw the time clock: it was still 100 meters away but I couldn’t believe what it said.
I was going to do it. I saw my kids faces. They knew I was going to do it, too. I was going to cross the finish line with 1:58 on the time clock.
For some crazy reason reaching that goal meant more to me than completing a 6 hour Half Ironman. I don’t know why. Maybe it has been my years of running, maybe it was the challenge of a time goal – one that really required pushing my limits. Maybe it was the fact I really didn’t think I could do it. Maybe I have spent all my years just being happy with a finish and this is the first time I actually put a time on myself, asking myself to give it more effort and not just finish but to improve, to go faster, to be better than my younger self. And I did it. The power of a goal puts so much power in your hands.
How To Set Goals & Succeed
Make that commitment. Set your goal and do it publicly. Tell your friends, your neighbours, the grocery store clerk. Get it out there that you are going to do this. The more you say it, the more you believe it and the deeper your commitment.
Don’t try to do it alone. You could learn through a internet video at home alone or you could join a class with others who have similar interests. They will encourage you to come back for the next class, help you through the next training session and be there to congratulate you at the end. Signing up for a series of sessions reinforces your commitment and gets others involved who share the same goals as you and you make new friends!
You make sure the kids get to swimming lessons and school, so make sure you get to your class or get your training time in. Only those items that make your Priority List actually get accomplished so make this goal a priority. You need time to work towards a goal, so make that time a must do.
There are very few things we ‘can’t’ do if we really try. Facing my goals, I thought: I’m too old for this; still have 3 young kids at home; have no time; husband travels; I don’t have a bike; I don’t like being clipped in to pedals; I willNEVER ride that bike in the rain! But, if you take away all the self doubt and just go for it and simply TRY… one step at a time, you eventually will cross the finish line!
You can make it happen. I challenge you to set some goals!
Deb Lowther is a mother of 3 young daughters who, when not running after her kids, is running on the trails! She blogs about Raising Healthy Kids and ensures her own have fun while eating healthy and staying active. To read more articles you can visit her websites www.iron-kids.com &www.adultessentials.com or visit her on Facebook at IronKids.Health andAdult Essentials.