How to run a full marathon...one gratitude at at time!
Ok, let’s get this straight before I go further. I do not like running (if I didn’t feel bad about the word hate, this would be the time to use it.)
I have NEVER been interested in it. I don’t want to do it. I don’t get it. That’s the story.
But here’s another story. One that will be way more inspiring than the one I just told you.
You see, my good friend, Chad (he’s more like a brother really) just did a FULL IRONMAN this weekend. Let me say that one more time. A full ironman!
He went from not exercising regularly and being out of good shape in April to finishing a full IRONMAN on Sept 29th.
I had tears in my eyes when he sent me his video at the finish, full on elephant size tears.
And we are virtual workout buddies of sorts, we call each other to pump each other up. We try to talk the small voices out of each other’s heads (recently, that’s been more him talking mine out than his)
So I am SO PROUD!
But here’s the kicker.
He called me Monday morning on his drive home, pumped, wanting to share all the gory and amazing details. And he admitted to me, he’s also never been interested in running which I missed somewhere along the way.
Never interested in running?!? How is it that you could do a full marathon (in the MIDDLE of a full 2 1/2 mile swim and 106 mile bike ride!!)?
So this is what he shared with me and it blew my mind. Seriously, it’s so good that I told him I can’t believe he thought of that and not me! 😀
He says to me, “Well, your gratitude inspires me.”
Ok, I’m waiting for it still...How the hell does that equate to doing this IRONMAN run?
“I carried a piece of paper 📜with me and on it I listed 26 people in my life who I’m grateful for. And every mile, I took out the paper to look at who I was running for and that whole mile, I thought about them, how they inspire me, and why I’m grateful for them…”
“Yep,” he went on, “…and then instead of a marathon, it was 26 one mile runs and 26 gratitudes. And that’s how I did it.”
Alright I’m gonna break this down for you, my friend. Because this is so big, so big…
And the best part? It can apply to ANYTHING, ANYTHING…Any seemingly insurmountable task suddenly becomes just one gratitude at a time.
First of all, he took his neurochemistry and flat out tweaked it to accomplish something superhuman!
Every time he felt gratitude for someone, he had surges of dopamine and serotonin coursing through his heart and mind. He “Felt so good” he said. He felt inspired. He felt grateful. And he wanted more. So, it gave him something to run towards.
He squashed that small voice before it could even rear its ugly head.
When you’re trying to accomplish such a daunting task, your mind will play tricks on you. It will tell you You cannot do this, You cannot make it, You aren’t cut out for this. By using this genius gratitude strategy, he gave himself surges of goodness, of love so that there wasn’t room for the small voice!
He broke down something so big into 26 small things so now his mind could tackle a smaller task, one at a time.
Think about it. We see something hard, we something that looks impossible like an IRONMAN and we stop, come to a dead stop. Deer in the headlights. So what do we do? We don’t do ANYTHING. Instead, he said to himself, “I’ve run so many miles in training, I can do 26 more one mile runs.”
He used Gratitude to stay PRESENT (secret tip: I break this strategy down in my new free course, Your Gratitude Roadmap, Your How and Why to Your Best Life Yet so make sure to get on my email list for that coming later this month…ok, back to business…)
You see each and every mile, he stayed in the moment of expressing gratitude to that person and reflecting on the power of them in his life. So instead of spiraling into future darkness of not being able to finish this race, he stayed right here, right now with this person and his gratitude practice.
And maybe the most important one, my friend, right here…And I’m not even sure Chad realized he was doing this one.
You see, every time we use gratitude, we make it our companion. We give ourselves a loving friend (that’s why we let out all those juicy good feeling hormones) and we feel safe and loved. Studies using functional MRI’s back this up. And did you know if two people look at the same hill to climb and one has a friend with them and the other doesn’t, the one with the friend sees the hill as less steep and easier to climb? Yep, everything’s better with a bestie. You already know that. But if you intentionally bring Gratitude along for the ride, apparently even an IronMan looks less daunting.
The biggest thing is that you can apply this to anything! ANYTHING!
Think about it!
First of all, you could do an IRONMAN (can’t lie that I’m trying to figure out what fitness feat I can accomplish now!)
But even simple life stuff like…
Decluttering your home!
You could have a gratitude picked out for each and every space you plan on doing, your bedroom to your junk drawer.
You could reflect on this each time instead of how this task is so “tedious” or “impossible.” Squash that small voice…
You can break the big task into smaller ones, each associated with a gratitude. It will feel more doable.
You will be present with what you are feeling instead of spiraling.
Managing a stressful family weekend (Shout out to one of our Facebook gratitude community members who actually did this last weekend)
You could either associate the gratitudes with your family or separate from them if that is challenging
Each event or activity of the weekend could be time to reflect on one of these gratitudes
Now, this weekend is a bunch of smaller things instead of the big “weekend from hell” you were anticipating
You will stay present instead of spiraling into a different story of the past or the future.
Do you see how BIG BIG this is?
This is about YOU taking back the power of your mind.
This is about YOU telling yourself what is possible instead of only seeing the impossible.
YOU and only YOU have the power to rewrite your story every day. And gratitude can lead the way.
Hope you’re as inspired by Chad as I am. He’s pretty special to me so I want to reach out and give him a huge virtual bear hug ‘cause he gives me more gifts than he knows.
Alright, go out there and accomplish something you thought you couldn’t and tell me all about it! 😀