Americans spend billions a year on self-improvement. Is this because we’re trying to better ourselves or are there deeper lying issues and we’re searching for answers to why we’re not happy with ourselves? Perhaps, it may be combination of both. It’s cliché to say “life is short”, “you only live once”, or “take time to smell the roses”, but if you think about it, each of these statements resonates with us. Everyone has goals we’d like to accomplish, so what has prevented us from accomplishing them? If we were to take an assessment of ourselves, the majority of the reasons would be excuses. This is why I say to you “now is the time to stop wishing, and start believing.”
I’d like to share my own experience about a personal goal that sat dormant on the bucket list for sometime. “Run a marathon.” Is it easy to understand why that one sat there for so long? I had tried to accomplish this goal in the past but I never saw it through. From this experience let me offer the most important piece of advice I can. Close your life off to negativity. Don’t let someone say to you that you “can’t do something”, that “it’s a ridiculous idea”, or you’ll indeed fail before you begin…and yes this means ignoring the little voice inside your head telling you that others are right and you can’t do it…because you can. What were my excuses preventing me from my goal? Work schedules, family schedules, injuries, self-doubt, other people’s doubt, and many other excuses to justify why I couldn’t do this. Notice I said excuses, because that is what they were. Finally last year I said, “forget it” enough with the “I can’t do it’s” and the “maybe next year’s” and I went for it. I won’t lie, it wasn’t easy, training was hard, injuries were abundant, babysitting bills added up, and I was tired, but when that gun went off, I was so proud to be at the starting line, and even more proud to cross the finish and it was all worth it. I can’t explain the sense of pride and accomplishment I had when I completed that goal. No self-help book, no perfectly placed highlights, not even a new designer bag would allow me to feel the way I felt in that moment. I beat the odds, I felt amazing, and not even the five-mile walk back to my hotel in the freezing rain, could bring me down.
You might wonder, OK but did that happy feeling last? Yes, everyday. I have my medal in a shadow box and I smile every single time I see it. My advice to you is to surround yourself with things that encourage you to set new goals, and things that make you happy. You hold the answer to your own self-improvement, you’re only as happy as you decide to be, and remember we’re all works in progress.