Taking Action and Setting Big Goals in Running and Life!

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The beginning of the year is definitely a great time to set aside space for self reflection, both on the year gone by and the year stretching ahead. This can help you stay the course or correct your course.

In this episode we want to offer you two simple but powerful tips for making 2019 an epic year. Plus, we are going to be sharing a lot of books with you. So get ready to channel your inner student!

Making 2019 an Epic Year

The way that you best achieve goals is going to depend on your personality and how you respond to expectations. A couple books that I highly recommend when it comes to setting goals are Better Than Before and The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. Having an understanding of what makes you tick will enable you to make the most progress in your life.

Take Daily Action

The fact is that you can set all the goals you want but to actually carry them out you have to take daily action. It’s not enough to dream that a future version of yourself is more disciplined or virtuous. The things you do today are making your future self. So start today with your goals. Maybe this is the year that you’re going to build back your running base, train for your first half marathon, your first marathon, your first ultra, train for a PR, or make changes in your eating. Whatever the goals you have to be very clear about what you want and what it will take to get there.

If it’s helpful you can enter these daily action steps on your calendar so you have constant reminders and can get the satisfaction of checking them off. Part of taking action involves getting the support you need. Most people do best when they are surrounded by an encouraging support system. Maybe that means a friend, family member, online group, journaling, or an app. The bottom line is that you don’t have to go it alone. Maybe you’ve been interested in or on the fence about Academy membership. Our goal is to have your back. To be positive, encouraging, and help you make your running goals a reality.

Set Bigger Goals

If you’ve just started to run the thought of running a marathon is going to seem overwhelming. It can even seem overwhelming even when you’re in the midst of marathon training. But as you take daily action you will grow as a person and will be able to set bigger goals. This will give you an increased sense of confidence which will lead to more growth.

Part of the process of setting bigger goals involves not being afraid to fail. Many of us fall into the perfection trap and tend to avoid committing to anything that we’re not sure we can accomplish and avoid things that might make us look foolish. But if you truly have the desire to do something, don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. Former Navy Seal Brad McLeod says this,

“Don’t be afraid to fail. Without failure you won’t know your limit. And it is impossible to win every day. You may even feel like you are regressing at times. This is where you have to fight through.”

Failure doesn’t have to have such a negative stigma. In fact, if we never failed we’d be completely perfect (and I’ve never met a perfect human). Fear is one of those tricky emotions that needs to be examined before it’s acted upon.

Finally, having a growth mindset doesn’t mean that you’re constantly dissatisfied with where you are in life or with what you’ve accomplished. It’s also not helpful to be constantly comparing yourself with other people, which is often what social media draws our attention to. Often we’re comparing our worst with someone else’s best.

Sometimes the running world can leave you with the impression that you’re not fast enough, you don’t have enough endurance, you’re not thin enough, or you’re not making progress quickly enough. I’ve thought all those things too. But feeling like you’re not enough doesn’t actually lead you into a positive space for growth. It leaves us stuck and discouraged which saps our energy.

As we continue into this year I’d encourage you to do it with the mindset that you are enough. This will lead to more progress as you take action and set bigger goals. Knowing that you are enough will give your efforts a sense of positive energy.

My Goals for 2019

  • To write a daily gratitude list.
  • Increase to 20 minutes of daily meditation.
  • Spend more one on one time with my boys.
  • Run a sub 4 marathon.
  • Run a marathon in 3 new states.
  • Consistently strength train 2-3 times per week.
  • Continue reading good books.

And speaking of books . . .

Books I Enjoyed Last Year

I read a total of 263 books in 2018 (more non-fiction than fiction which was a first for me). Here are my top 7 favorite non-fiction books from last year:

  1. Daring Greatly, How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the way we Live, Love, Parent and Lead by Brene Brown (I also highly recommend her books Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, and Dare to Lead). She talks about vulnerability, whole heartedness, shame, and courage. The fear of vulnerability is at the core of many of our difficult emotions. She writes, “When we shut ourselves off from vulnerability, we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives.” Her message calls us to dare greatly and strive for whole heartedness in our lives.
  2. Get Well Soon, History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright. As a nurse I’m fascinated by the history of diseases, epidemics, and medical practices of the past. This book is a great blend of history, storytelling, some very gruesome practices, and humor.
  3. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. This is the autobiographical tale of Bill Bryson who after living in the UK for many years returns to the US and decides to hike the Appalachian Trail with a good friend from the past. He’s an amazing storyteller and dives into the history of the Trail along with his preparation and experiences alongside it. I just recently learned that it was made into a movie that was released in 2015.
  4. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. This book tells the story of the 1936 US men’s Olympic 8 person rowing team. These were just ordinary young men after the Great Depression from poor backgrounds that were transformed into a force to be reckoned with. They went on to defeat the elite Eastern rowing clubs and compete in the 1936 Olympics in front of Adolf Hitler, defeating Germany’s Aryan team.
  5. Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You by Sam Gossling. This is written by a psychologist who studies how people project and protect their inner selves by looking at their belongings. He can predict with uncanny accuracy so many things by looking at people’s stuff. There’s a lot of interesting research, psychology and stories packed into this book.
  6. Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor. Deena does an amazing job of weaving her personal story of training and growth along with inspiration for the reader. There is so much about mental toughness and mindset that can be gleaned from this book.
  7. Endure by Alex Hutchinson. This books explores the variable limits of the human body and mind where it relates to human performance, particularly long distance running.

More Books Mentioned in This Episode

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Generation UCAN, our go-to fueling source for long runs and races. Use the promo code “MTANOBONK” to save 15% off your order.

Athletic Greens -With 75 whole-food sourced ingredients, Athletic Greens is the best of the best in All-In-One whole food supplements. Get 20 FREE travel packs valued at $79 with your first purchase.

The Red Rock Canyon Marathon in Las Vegas on February 23rd 2019. Angie will be running it.

Live Event with Meb Keflezighi at the Tallahassee Marathon. On February 2nd he will be interviewing Meb before a live audience at 1:30 pm at the Doubletree Hotel (race headquarters). The event is free an open to the public. And, there is still time to sign up for the half or full marathon. Use the code ‘Academy’ to save 20% on your registration.

4 Responses to Taking Action and Setting Big Goals in Running and Life!

  1. Carl Birt January 21, 2019 at 7:43 pm #

    Trevor, check out the book titled The Floor of Heaven

    • Trevor Spencer January 21, 2019 at 9:33 pm #

      Thanks for the recommendation. Looks like another great read on the Yukon Gold Rush!

  2. Jessica January 23, 2019 at 3:20 pm #

    Angie, I loved your nonfiction book list, but I would l would love to hear your favorite fiction reads from last year too.

    • Angie Spencer January 24, 2019 at 10:47 am #

      Some of the fiction I enjoyed last year included: The Castle of Kings by Oliver Potzsch, The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts, The Cormoran Strike Series by Robert Galbraith, The Last Kingdom Series by Bernard Cornwell, Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin, New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson, The Stand by Stephen King, The Otherland Series by Tad Williams, Delicious by Ruth Reichl, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Mean Streak by Sandra Brown, The Poisenwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, Goodnight from London by Jennifer Robson, Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan, Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher, The Boy on the Bridge by MR Carey, One Plus One by Jojo Moyes, and Before the Fall by Noah Hawley.

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