How to Become Your Best Possible Future Self
I decided that 2017 would be the year that I signed up and trained for my first half marathon.
I’ve been telling myself for years running is the bane of my existence. Before I made the full commitment to run 13.1 miles, I met with a close friend. Over the past year, she transitioned from being a cardio-enthused fitness guru who also became well acquainted with the iron plates in the weight room. I had every intention of asking her to teach me how to fall in love with running, an approach I felt was necessary in making the task of running much more palatable. Here’s what she told me:
You don’t fall in love with it. It sucks. Some days being a huge pain in the ass, and the others being tolerable—maybe even pleasant. The days that you are extraordinarily resistant to training are the days you need to train the most. Because training is 50% body conditioning, but 100% mindset.
She called running a metaphor for life. She continued,
It sucks… but you do it. Just go. Sometimes you have to push through, regardless of how you feel. Show up. It doesn’t matter how hard you go, as long as you get up, get through it, and get it done.
Yesterday, I did NOT want to train. I was physically tired, mentally exhausted, and emotionally warn out. Millions of excuses were lined up and ready to fight for an evening of laying on the sofa. The inner dialogue that occurred within—a battle between laziness and perseverence—came down to the final compromise that I would at least show up. Just… show the fuck up.
One mile down. 35 minutes of strength training to help me build up strength and courage to continue pulling through. Because in addition to this half marathon, I’ve committed myself to a 5K mud run and obstacle course in April and a 10-mile backpacking trip the week after my marathon. I sucked it up because I had to in order to the fulfill the things I want to do. Even if it all seems so pointless and unattainable right now, I have to put in the work.
I put in the work, now it was time to reward my efforts. I had a major craving for Chinese food and ultimately decided to make the compromise of hitting up an Americanized (read: healthier, lower sodium, non-MSG laden) version of my vice. My fortune cookie came with a quote… and a lot of insight.
Use your abilities at this time to stay focused on your goal. You will succeed.
The truth poured in like the insane amount of rain Los Angeles has been getting. There are no shortcuts, no fast fixes when it comes to going after what you want. Hard work and focus are involved. Make the commitment to do something for yourself and have enough integrity to stand by your promises. This is what gets you up the mountain, over the mess and mud in between each obstacle, and across that finish line.
It takes time, effort, and pain. It takes pushing through the days you want to give up or lie down. It takes patience in knowing that training yourself for the long haul equals no quick fix, but a series of shorter durations involving practicing and preparing for the “Day of the event.” It takes longevity, the collection of experiences and lessons that you accrue along the way. It takes blisters, bumps, bruises, and getting sidelined to teach yourself how to rest, heal, and how to get right back up … sometimes even before you’re 100% ready. It takes a lot of love—for yourself, for what’s ahead. It takes humility in asking someone else for help, seeking out others to guide you, push you, and help you stay accountable. It takes millions of treats that come in the form of little gifts to yourself and kind words we speak softly to ourselves when we hit a wall and want to quit.
It takes hard work, day in and day out. Even harder on the days we don’t want to train/adult/change/fight/self-improve. There is no way to expedite growth, no fast fixes that will enable you to avoid putting in the work. You show up. You do it. You get through it. Some days better than most.
Because this is life: one beautiful and amazing suckfest that demands our focus to get where we want to be, at any given time.
And today, I decided to start calling myself a runner—not because I am particularly good at it or love it—but because in the efforts of believing in yourself, you need to tell yourself that you are already your best possible future self.
Time just hasn’t caught up with you yet.