Where do you want to go this year?
Where do you want to go this year?

Since we’re focusing on goal setting for the new year, I thought I would share a success story.  It’s about my friend Sam.  Sam was feeling out of shape and overweight, and was tired of feeling that way.  She also wanted to start a family soon, and part of her motivation to lose weight was to be healthy and ready for pregnancy.  So she made a goal.  A big goal.  She would run a marathon.  But not just any marathon—Sam decided to run the New York Marathon.

I met Sam one summer afternoon at a track for her first run.  “Let’s start by seeing how far you can go without stopping”, I said.  So we started around the track in a trot, and made it 300 meters before Sam had to start walking again.  300 meters is 3/4 of one lap.  A marathon is the equivalent of around 105 laps around a track.  Literally and figuratively, Sam had a long way to go.  Undaunted, and aware of the task at hand, Sam began a regimen of walking, jogging, and lifting weights at a local gym.  She also began registering for road races.  To qualify for the New York Marathon, locals can run and volunteer in a determined number of events in a year in order to gain entry into the Marathon the next year.  The advantage for Sam is that this qualification system gave her plenty of time to train.

Sam started with 5Ks, walking and jogging her way to the finish line.  Soon she entered 10Ks and even a 15K.  Soon after, she completed her first half-marathon, jogging the entire 13.1 miles!  By the end of that year Sam had run enough races to gain entry into the New York Marathon.

It was at that point that she had a set-back in her running plans…she got pregnant!  Sam’s main goal of getting healthy had been accomplished, but she had to skip the Marathon in 2010.  Still wanting to complete all her initial goals, she deferred her entry to 2011, and nine months after giving birth to her first child, a healthy baby boy, she completed her first marathon as well!  It was a big year for Sam.

Sam ready to take on 26.2 miles.
Sam on race day ready to take on 26.2 miles.

I think there are a few keys to Sam’s success, which I believe we can learn from:

1.  She decided to make a committment to change.

2.  She set concrete goals and shared them with her family and friends.

3.  She took action on her goals.

4.  She was not discouraged because she understood that change would not be instant, and that she had plenty of time to bring the changes she desired.

You can follow these same steps in order to make 2013 a big year for you, whatever your goals may be.  You’ll be amazed at where you might end up!

There is power in making goals, writing goals, and sharing goals

That’s why the Montana Moves Challenge of the Month in January is setting a concrete goal and sharing it with us.  Just email your goal to wellness@montana.edu, and you’re entered to win stuff.  But more importantly, maybe we’ll be sharing YOUR STORY at the end of the year!

For more good tips on goal-setting, click here: SMART.  For more information on the Montana Moves/Montana Meals Challenge of the Month, click here: CTM.

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