I’m teaching an online leadership class to a great bunch of youth ages 14-16. We meet twice a week and it’s pretty amazing. I’m honored to be associating with these guys. We are reading books, discussing articles, presenting projects, writing papers. I’ve been so impressed with their character. These youth are going to change the world. I have no doubt of that.
The last 6 weeks we’ve read A Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, The Inner Ring (C.S. Lewis), and Anne of Green Gables. We’re currently reading Elantris, then we’ll move on to Do Hard Things, The Hiding Place, Rascal, and Little House in the Big Woods before we break for Christmas.
We were discussing 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens the other day and we had a discussion about the importance of our thoughts. It reminded me of this quote:
Watch your thoughts;
They become your words.
Watch your words;
They become your actions.
Watch your actions;
They become your habits.
Watch your habits;
They become your character.
Watch your character;
They become your destiny.
The kids knew this instinctively… the importance of our thoughts and how they contribute to our actions.
I was glad for the reminder. Just that morning I had been out on a run completing a Couch to 5K workout. The whole time I was questioning myself. It sounded a little like this: “This running thing? What am I thinking? This is ridiculous! I’m not a runner. I can’t do this. This crap is HARD! I’d much rather be walking. Why would I even consider doing a marathon? I can’t even run for more than a mile! Maybe I should just stop.”
My plan is to train for a 5K by January, then progress to training to run a half-marathon next June and then finally a marathon next December. But in that moment, I was tempted to just stop. I wasn’t thinking about quitting… necessarily. More like postponing. I’ll still have the goal, but I don’t need to do it right now do I?
During that discussion with those awesome youth, I realized that my thoughts were betraying me. And my “postponing” looked a whole lot like my habit of procrastinating. I’m pretty adept at putting off items on my to-do list until they become urgent, then hurrying through them. But that’s not going to work for marathon training. I can’t procrastinate that.
Like so many other worthy goals, it won’t do to push it off because of the difficulty of the task. In order to accomplish it, I’m going to have to be consistent and focused. And it’s going to be hard. This body of mine still remembers what is was like to be obese and lethargic and motionless. As uncomfortable as that was emotionally, physically it was easier than what I’m doing now. It’s not comfortable out there pounding the pavement.
But if I’m going to accomplish anything, if I’m going to change my life, I have to watch my thoughts. As I’m red-faced, sweaty, out of breathe, and inhaling a lung I need to be chanting: I can do this. I am a runner. I am strong. I am capable. I got this.