“Failure is a trickster, it trips you when success is in reach.” Napoleon Hill Think and Grow Rich

I can’t help but to think of all the life lessons I’ve learned through running. Many people told me training for a marathon would change my life. I think the experience is different for everyone, but the statement is true. Whether you complete your race or hit your goals, you learn about yourself in a way I can’t easily explain.

In running, as in life, you have your routine, your schedule, you have setbacks and mini victories. You never know when something big is going to happen and you can’t force the future with either. You have to go day by day and do everything you can to influence the outcome to move in the direction you see fit. There will be days when you think everything is going to be great and other days you think the world is going to fall apart.

I wanted to share with you a few life lessons I have learned through running. I hope you can find value and maybe it will spark something for you to take a positive step in the right direction. As I think through the list, one is not really more important than the other. Each lesson has it’s time and place.

Positive Attitude– My attitude is a blessing and a curse. I’m always looking for the positive in any situation. I don’t always find it, but it helps me get through. I protect my attitude from negative people and situations as much as possible. This is one reason I don’t watch/listen to the news, I stay out of politics and religion, and avoid gossip at all cost. I know if I lose my attitude, I lose my ability to move forward through even the worst situations.

Goals– Without goals, we have nothing to move us forward. In running and in life, you have to set a goal, focus on it with all your energy and take massive consistent action toward your goals. Lose focus on your goal and you’ll lose your motivation to move forward.

Discipline– If you want to be reach your goals, you have to align your daily actions with our goals. If one doesn’t support the other, you won’t take the action and you’ll end up short of your target. The daily, consistent, massive action toward you goal(s) takes place in your daily discipline. If your goal is to take a daily vitamin, you have to take one every day. You can’t just wake up on Sunday and take 7 because you didn’t do it all week. It doesn’t work that way. Your success is defined in your daily actions.

Hard work– Be the hardest worker in the room. Think of action as a pond. No action-no ripples. The more action you take, the more ripples you see. If you want to make a wave, you better start moving some water. When your action stops, the water will slowly begin to calm. Wait too long to take action and the water becomes calm again. Remember not to quit, just keep moving and create the ripples you want to see.

Rest/Recovery– Work 6 days and rest 1. Don’t get these numbers mixed up! If you honestly and truly work 6 days, there should be no guilt in rest. Too much sleep is just as bad as not enough sleep. Too much rest is just as bad as not enough. I have learned to schedule my rest/recovery like I schedule time with my family. If it isn’t on the calendar, you just sort of look past it until it’s too late… You wouldn’t neglect your kids (I hope) so don’t neglect your body, it’s the only one you get.

Moving forward– Just keep moving forward One Step at a Time. This is my life motto. We get through life and running by picking up one foot and putting it in front of the other. When I’m tired and hurting, I can’t just stop running. When I’m exhausted and it’s time to step up and take care of the boys, I can’t just push them off. You have to learn to work, live and run on tired legs using a tired body. Watch the way your body reacts to fatigue. You go through a stage when you’re ready to give up and all of a sudden you catch another wind of energy. You can always take just one more step and go just a little farther. If the goal looks too big, break it down into small pieces. One mile at a time, on to the next aid station, and sometimes just the next painful step. When you’re in pain and you want to give up remember “… you’re already in pain, get a reward from it.”- Eric Thomas When you push past your current weakness, you find a new strength.

Unexpected Changes/Comfort– Things change, roll with the punches. This one is tough for me. I have my vision, action and future planned on paper. I’m willing to put in the work- I just want everything to go exactly as planned. I would love to get comfortable and just work my plan with no major interruptions. Unfortunately, most of my days don’t go this way. As much as we plan to control, something swoops in and wrinkles the paper. Don’t let it get you down. Be flexible and don’t let a small loss keep you down. Life is going to kick you in the nuts- bend over, take a deep breath and kick back! Dwelling on a bad situation has never done any good. Start looking for a positive solution right away. When you find it, start taking action.

The law of day and night– Don’t be surprised by negative events. Every day is followed by night and every night is followed by day. Laws of nature can explain everything we need to know. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Simply put; for everything good that happens, expect something bad. For every bad situation, there’s always light to follow. When you are deep in sadness or defeat, remember to keep moving forward One Step at a Time and eventually you will find the light. Some nights are long and some are short. When everything seems to be perfect, don’t get comfortable. Plan for the worst to perform your best.

Let every experience in life touch you in its own way. By blocking pain you block pleasure. Don’t be defined by your mistakes or setbacks. Learn a lesson and move forward. Use every day to start fresh with no worries. Surround yourself with positive people, a positive attitude and positive action. Have a great week!

Published by Gary Stotler

Gary Stotler is a father, running, fitness, weight loss and personal development addict. Formally 400 pounds, Gary has naturally lost 200 pounds, created a coaching & speaking business and has become a 100 mile ultra-runner. Holding a degree in Psychology & Sociology, certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a personal trainer, mindset & behavioral modification coaching, a certification in DISC personality assessment coaching and he is a certified speaker, coach & mentor with the John Maxwell Team. Gary firmly believes, if we take One Step at a Time, nothing is impossible. He is determined to let his actions show people what is possible and hopes to help you shake up your thoughts, change your actions and create your future.

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