I heard something recently that has makes a lot of sense. Finish every race you enter. I’ve raced a lot over the years – mostly 5K running races. But, there are a lot of races in life – and, they aren’t all running races (yachting, motorcycle, automobile, drag, airplane, swimming, etc.).
The races that most of us are familiar with involve sports. Occasionally, we’ll hear a phrase that talks about the race of our lives – whatever that means. But, I think it is safe to say that the analogy of a race can be applied to almost every facet of our lives in one way or another.
If we decide to stop smoking, then that goal is a race we choose to run in our life, figuratively speaking – just as a 5K race has a finish line. The finish line (goal) becomes the condition of not smoking for the rest of our life. There are lots of similarities, parallels, and comparisons that can be made between a race and a goal.
The most important one that I can think of is the decision to set a goal or run a race. Some goals, like income tax preparation and submittal, are forced upon us by external conditions. Others, like voting, are simple, easy to do, and are things that we choose to do on a regular basis. It’s the important ones in life that we choose or not choose that make our lives worth living.
I have several big goals in my life that I view as races. The first focuses on with my health. My other large goals involve my financial, relational, spiritual, family, life, business and social. Each is written down and reviewed often, at least weekly. Written goals tend to get accomplished more often than non-written ones.
I want to have a healthy end of life – being able to do the things I want to do without limit. Therefore, my goal is to never have a need to go to a hospital. I need to do the preventive things daily that keeps me at the peak of my health and fitness. There are reasons to go to hospitals. I will go to the hospital (for treatment) if I have a legitimate reason to go – car accident, diseases caught from others, etc.
I went to the hospital last week to visit a friend. I went to the hospital today to visit another friend. I planned to stay three hours. Seven plus hours later I departed. It is what it is. However, sometimes it is more than what it is.
I see many people a few years older than I am today who are not in good-excellent physical shape. I don’t know their individual circumstances. I don’t know what choices they made or didn’t make to arrive at their current condition. But, I know what I have to do to get to my goal – I know the race I have to run to get there.
When I used to run 5K races, I would start out slowly and gradually pick up my pace. My first mile was always the slowest – the next mile was faster and the last one point one miles was faster than my second-mile split. I was continually improving – getting faster as I got to the finish line.
On a short race (5K) it is easy to continually improve. To do something like that in a much longer race is more difficult. We have to know how to pace ourselves so that we can finish the race. It’s the pacing that we do daily to improve the rest of our lives. We don’t want to be speeding at the end of our life to make up for those things that we should have corrected earlier. We don’t know when our lives will end, so we don’t always have the option of speeding up at the end.
Pacing is much easier when you have a good knowledge of what options are available. You actually make the right decisions. It comes down to knowing and doing – in all areas of our lives. Figure out what is important to you. Define that goal in writing. Run to that goal like you were in a race. Pace yourself. Measure your progress often. Rejoice when you accomplish it and set another one.
This is a great analogy. Life’s goals are very much like an athletic competition. They often require us to train and practice, and to constantly work at improving our performance over time. We “compete” with ourselves to do better each time and, when we achieve a goal, it can feel like crossing the finish line.
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