Celebrating the Small

This week I’ve felt kind of down; bummed out and in a funk.  As the week progressed and one of the buzzing topics on Twitter was centered around the upcoming PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona races, I started to realize that was part of the reason for my sad mindset.

This will mark the one-year anniversary since I faceplanted in the 2009 marathon there, earning my first DNF.  As the day got closer and this week progressed, I started to feel more and more like I’d failed in some way… I haven’t done another marathon to “redeem” myself for that perceived “failure” and I don’t have another one on the immediate horizon.  I was discussing this with someone and she reminded me that I’ve done a lot of things throughout this past year, things that have been really good for me and how I’m continuing to work on improving myself.  I said, “I just feel like I haven’t done anything big!”

Her reminder to me was, “Perhaps you need to make more small goals then and be certain to celebrate those moments.  Because those small goals are the things that get you to the big goals.”

I would like to challenge all of us to try and embrace this approach; in running AND in our everyday life.  Even if we are working on a big goal, making the steps that lead to the big one tasks on our list and celebrating when we check them off can provide a lot of fulfillment. It may seem goofy, but it does provide positive reinforcement. (Ever been around a two-year-old? The child, the parents and others around celebrate each of their little achievements. “You picked that toy up! Good job!” “You went potty in the toilet! Good job!” It’s a proven method for bolstering their confidence and reinforcing the good behavior.)

I’m not necessarily saying that you have to cheer out loud and dance (but if that makes you happy, go for it!), just remember to give yourself credit for the small steps along the journey. After all, that’s really what running is… one step at a time to propel yourself forward.

Weekly running photos:
January 12 January 13 January 16 January 17

And here’s a pic of a stormy day here in Vegas this week. I managed to slip out for a run shortly after a small downpour, I love that fresh and clean feeling that immediately follows rain.
Post Rain Clouds

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17 comments

  1. that DNF made you a stronger person! You will run another marathon one day! And you will kick it’s ass!!! You are a fantastic runner!! And a fantastic person!!! You rock if I might say! So do not think back-look forward!! You have years of running and accomplishments ahead of you!!!!

  2. I had a DNF too! I learned so much from my injury..one thing I realized is that I’m afraid of failure, and I’ll push myself to achieve the goals I set, and then I end up “failing”. But I have to remind myself it’s not failure.
    You’re an excellent runner and an inspiration! Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Mmmm, wise words, my friend. You’re a pretty competative person (with yourself at least) and I can see why you felt like you hadn’t “redeemed” yourself. And yet… I agree with your friend. You’ve been building up in so many other ways, that when you DO try a marathon again, you will be such the stronger person for it. Go easy on yourself, dear, and stop smacking yourself for something so far outside of your control (a DNF). It’s a small blip on the radar, really.

    • You’re absolutely right, it really is such a small blip on the overall radar of life. For some reason I’ve place a magnifying glass over that blip, distorting the view on all the other things on my radar! I am far too competitive (and judgmental) on myself… both of these things are items I’ve been working on this past year in order to make my lifelong running more enjoyable.

  4. Excellent, excellent advice! I’m kind of laughing at myself, though. You’re such a goal-driven person who challenges herself, and I’m just NOT that way at all. I celebrate the small all the time because I don’t even attempt the big! Well, I guess my life just naturally provides big things because Troy is in the Navy and we have to deal with long-term separations, moves every couple of years, etc. And I suppose some people would point out to me that I crochet blankets and make wedding cakes, which to some people would be big challenges. So I guess I should say, I don’t attempt big things that are unfamiliar to me. 🙂

    Also, I LOVE the photo of you at the bottom left in the running collage!

    • Bethany, you always provide a perspective on life that seems so peaceful and happy. I love the way you and Annalie embrace the small moments, because like you said… when Troy’s work provides the big things for you embracing the small becomes part of the journey. But I agree, crocheting a blanket and making a wedding cake seem like HUGE tasks and would be giant challenges for me!

      Thanks for the photo compliment, that one turned out kind of fun. It’s kind of hard to snap a photo of myself with the iPhone, but if I keep doing this throughout the year I should have it down!

  5. I totally needed to read this.

    I am having a really hard time with the idea of moving home. I know it was nothing I did…I got the crap of the crap neighbor and I have a crappy landlord who doesn’t care. None of this is my fault. I looked for a new place and just didn’t find one. Not my fault.

    Tell me then, why do I feel like a failure?

    I know the answers and still can’t shake the feeling.

    This is another good reminder to celebrate the small. I have a roof over my head and chance to save some money.

    Great post Jill!

    • I am so glad that this helped you some! It’s funny how there are days when you stumble across a blog post and it’s something that you needed at that moment, huh? Thanks for the kind comments!

  6. This a terrific idea. I have been rewarding myself for big goals but not so much for the smaller ones & today I have started to set some smaller goals. Good luck with your goals & snap out of this funk. You are doing well.

    • I always wish it was as easy as just “snapping out” of the funk, but it does help when people online are giving such kind and wonderful validation. I hope this advice works for you! Good luck!

  7. I was feeling bummed about the PF Chang’s Marathon too, and I finished it last year! My point being, you may have been feeling bummed even if you had exceeded your goals there. We just get all wrapped up in the hoopla of the full marathon and discount all the shorter distances, when really, they can be just as exciting and fulfilling as the full if we just let them. I really like your perspective on celebrating the small. And I know you have been making huge leaps in other areas of life so that doesn’t even count as small! Pour your energy into what’s important right now and don’t let the other “shoulds” weigh you down (easier said than done I know!).

  8. How about celebrating the small accomplishment of getting really good at taking running photos! You’ll get back to that marathon, and it’s ok to feel that funk – being able to move on from it is the important part 🙂 Enjoy the rain this week!

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