Happiness is one of those beautiful finish lines that we spend our entire lives chasing.
When I get a promotion, then I’ll be happy.
When I find someone to love me, then I’ll be happy.
When I pay off my credit card debt, then I’ll be happy.
When I lose 20 pounds, then I’ll be happy.
When I feel confident enough to run in my sports bra, then I’ll be happy.
When I run a half marathon, then I’ll be happy.
Every New Years, we collectively make resolutions to focus on self improvement in the coming year. Our ‘When I...Then I’s become goals, and we craft a plan to chase them. And as runners, we know how powerful goals can be. They’re empowering, inspiring, and they can even change your life.
I would know. A goal helped me survive.
My younger brother passed away in a tragic accident at sixteen years old. I went from being a carefree college student to someone who struggled to make it through the day in the blink of an eye. I didn’t know what to do or how to cope and within six months, I’d gained over 75 pounds. I was pushing away my friends, struggling with my self confidence, and I started to believe that my life wasn’t worth fighting for. I felt alone and lost.
Then my Mom stepped in. She’d already lost one child and wasn’t ready to lose another. She helped me set a goal. Helped me see that it wasn’t impossible, just scary. Showed me that asking for help wasn’t something to be ashamed of. Reminded me I wasn’t alone.
Together we set a goal, and I survived. Turns out, losing weight is really simple. I ate proper portion sizes of healthy food and suffered for at least thirty minutes in a gym every single day. But as simple as it was, it was never easy. It took patience, it took grit, it took support. She believed in me, so I believed (but somedays, I still struggle with that last one). I was stronger, more confident, happy.
The beautiful finish line of happy still calls our name, but this year, I’d like to offer a new way to run that race. Instead of the “When I’s” and “Then I’s” -- let’s change our pronouns and shift our perspective.
When we empower the people around us, then we feel powerful.
When we reach out to support one another, then we in turn feel supported.
When we remind others of their own potential, then we feel poised for greatness.
When we look for beauty in the people around us, then we are reminded of our own grace.
When we come together for the journey, then we can go further as individuals.
Goals are often simple, but never easy. It’s a long, hard road to the finish. A road too hard to ever go it alone. So surround yourself with people who believe in your strength, your beauty, and your capabilities -- and believe in them too. Happiness is a lonely finish line if no one’s there to share your champagne.
Wherever your impossible goal, obstacle, or challenge might take you, know that you’re never on that journey alone. Let’s join forces to fly farther, faster, and fiercer than ever before.
Head up, wings out.