Gratitude and Training: Do Sweat the Small Stuff

For runners, the marathon is always the goal.

Whether you’ve done zero marathons or fifty in your life, there’s always another marathon: Worse weather, higher elevations, more hills. And every year, you’re older, and your legs are more beat up and your knees are stiffer, and the training seems to get harder and harder.

You’re waking up super early to avoid the sun or the heat or because it’s the only time you get each day to train, and sometimes nagging injuries and spiking run times make you feel like it’s all a waste, and no one appreciates it anyway – your friends and family who don’t run, or don’t run like you do, don’t understand what the big deal is. They don’t get how the challenge and the solitary achievement define you.

Marathons = Challenges
This can be mapped to just about any of our goals. We spend our lives scheduling time for ourselves – carving out an hour here or there where we can pursue our goals, and not our boss’s goals, or our family’s goals. We work at things that are just for ourselves and make sacrifices for them – and sometimes it’s easy to let small failures and frustrations get us down. They pile up – the pulled hamstring, the curtailed run, or the study session for a course or certificate, or the failure to get a project finished. Over time, it’s easy to fall into a Frustration Trap: It feels good to vent our frustrations and complain – too good. It’s easy to become addicted to complaining and give up, retreating into negativity and a sense of injustice.

Gratitude Therapy
If you stop for a moment, though, and look objectively at your life, you’ll see how much you actually have to be grateful for. You’re alive, for one. You’re healthy enough to tackle projects instead of simply surviving. And no matter how little free time you seem to have to pursue personal challenges, you have that free time – many around the world do not.

Take a moment before each run, or each meeting, or each class, session, exam, or interview, and ponder one thing – just one thing – that you’re grateful for. That you know your life would be the worse for if you lost sight of it. And then watch as every other aspect of your challenge becomes that much easier, just with a change of perspective.

The Appreciation Station is designed for this sort of Gratitude Therapy. Write down something you’re grateful for just before you go out for that training run. Place it in the beautiful jar. And spend your run feeling good about your life because you’ve reminded yourself to be grateful.

Gratitude Therapy works for any challenge. Any personal project you’re working on that will see ups and downs – a diet, a career change, a financial goal, a relationship. Never go out onto the field of battle with a negative ‘poor me!’ attitude – go out grateful, and it will be a superpower.

With Gratitude x