When I decided to run my first marathon at the age of 52, the majority of comments I received were along the lines of you’re crazy, you’re too old, you’re too fat and you’re too unfit and that was just the wife. Many people said “why not try a 10k, or a half marathon first”, some just looked at me, looked at my stomach and shook their heads in disbelief.
Ignoring their sage advice I decided to do it anyway, and I am so glad that I did, because I got some great benefits from it, some of which were unexpected.
#1 A feeling that ‘there’s life in the old dog yet’
At 52 you’re only middle-aged if you live to be a 104, and so whilst some might be thinking about slowing down and planning for retirement, it reinforced that there is life in the old dog yet.
I think many of us forget that Stephen Covey didn’t write his first book until he was 57 and that Colonel Sanders didn’t franchise Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was 62.
We are capable of so much more, we just need to have the desire and self belief.
Don’t create a bucket list; create a goal list. Aim big and then go for it.
#2 If you can run a marathon, you can do anything
A few days after I finished the marathon my wife asked me, “so what’s your next big goal”. I said “I don’t know, any suggestions?” She said “Why don’t you make a movie?” I said “but I don’t know anything about making movies, I not a movie maker”. She just smiled and said “you weren’t a runner either but you completed a marathon”.
Finishing the marathon opened my eyes to a new world of possibilities, what else had I previously thought was beyond me, but was actually within my capabilities.
To complete any goal you just need a plan, to start small, and be persistent.
My marathon training started with running just 15 minutes a day the first week, and after 6 months, I was running a marathon.
I didn’t make a movie, but I did start to write on leadership. I started small writing just 500 words per day. Three years later, as a non-author, I written over 800 articles, and have had 3 books published, one of which has already sold over 11,000 copies, and have been recognized by In Magazine as a Top 100 Leadership Expert.
So aim big, start small and be persistent.
#3 We Have Plenty of Time, It’s just a Question of Priorities
If you had told me before I started the marathon that I would need to find at least an hour a day, 5 days a week to train, I would have said ‘no way, I don’t have the time, I’m too busy’. But in reality we have the time for anything, it’s just a question of how much priority we put on other things such as watching TV, procrastinating, or whatever other time-thief’s we tolerate in our lives.
I found 200 hours of spare time to run. Imagine what you could do with another 200 hours per year. You could learn new a language, learn to play the guitar, teach yourself a new skill that could help your career, or even write that book you’ve been talking about.
It’s all a question of prioritization.
We all have more time than we think, and we all have the ability to achieve so much more than we believe. We just need to create a goal list; aim big, start small and be persistent; and reprioritize to eliminate the time thieves and if you do that you will be amazed at what you can truly achieve.