Here, I am going to talk about a few other positive aspects of running that can supplement and texture other productive styles of moving toward your goals (such as those described in Part 2). These goal achievement styles assume that one is running toward goals. Also assumed is a determination, a desire, and courage to continue moving forward with conscious resolve. They involve running toward with eagerness and a willingness to do whatever you can to close the gap between where you are now and your goal. Perhaps the goal is calling out to you, and goal achievement is something you are destined to meet.
Sometimes we run for the joy of running…
In the context of moving toward our goals, sometimes we just run for the pleasure of running, enjoying the process, feeling the movement, enjoying running to look at the sights, to meet new people, and to just enjoy the sheer pleasure of movement and stimulation. While this can be an unproductive strategy in some situations, as long as you are moving toward a clear and realistic destination, this can be a wonderful benefit as you run! It can be a great way to be and a wonderful addition as you are running toward whatever it is that you are running toward. Loving the movement and loving the direction that you are going makes the journey much more pleasurable and makes it seem like it takes a lot less energy.
Enjoying the run, taking on the right meanings and the right frames along the way to make it pleasurable rather than arduous, to make it a challenge rather than an effort, can make all the difference. Enjoy the movement, enjoy each step. Appreciate all that you see, all that you feel, and everyone you interact with along the way. This will help propel you even further and with less effort. So, love the run for the joy of running with purpose.
Sometimes we run, slow down, and then run again…
This is really a very healthy strategy because it is very hard to run constantly, no matter how much joy you are having, how good you are feeling, and how compelling your goal is. Running constantly has its pitfalls as well, and it can take its toll. It is important to stop, slow down, rest, and replenish your resources at times before running again. This is really not stopping your progression; it is just helping keep you prepared to keep moving. Oftentimes those striving toward their goals fail to slow down and replenish themselves. Indeed, stopping and slowing down is just part of the process of getting to where you want to go. If you are not moving at all you are not going anywhere, but if you do not take care of yourself along the way you will sabotage yourself.
Slowing down or stopping briefly gives you a chance to assess the progress you are making, to make adjustments to your course, and make adjustments to your plan. Part of achieving any goal is to mindfully make these adjustments along the way. There is a time to slow down and reflect, and there is a time to just do without conscious thought. Being able to know the difference between these two is a critical skill for moving toward your goals.
To be able to step into running mode and step out when appropriate is an extraordinarily useful skill to master in order to keep moving and progressing toward where you want to go. Taking rest periods is definitely advisable. By slowing down, you can also see, hear, and pay attention to things that are important for you to know as a successful runner—a successful runner who is thoughtful and circumspect but also driven to get toward where you want to go.
Thus in summary, we run in one way, shape, or form in order to get what we want in life. How we run makes a big difference in terms of the effectiveness or futility of what we do. It is important to have something that you are running toward and that you really want—a positive purpose and intention that drives you and is meaningful to you. It is often very helpful to know that you want to change things, that there is something you are running away from. It is important to enjoy the process, to enjoy the movement, the planning, the problem-solving, and everything that goes along with moving forward on your journey. It is also important to slow down, stop, rest, and make adjustments to refine your next move. I invite you to consider whether or not how you run is productive, so that you can effectively move forward and accomplish what you want to accomplish in your life. Run well.
~Rich Liotta, Ph.D.