I was never an athlete by any measure of the word. Therefore, signing up to run a half marathon seemed like an idea that may not have a favorable outcome. I committed to it and, like most other things in life, I decided to just figure it out as I went along. I was scared yet my expectations were not very high so I was ok with running slowly or walking occasionally. My mantra, as the number of miles increased, became to tell myself “the first mile is always the hardest.”
This was how I got myself in the correct frame of mind to start each run I did. Then I found another challenge, after a few miles and my mind started chattering with the “I can not keep going” conversations I created a new trick. The new trick was I told myself I only had to make it to the next marker. Instead of 5 more miles the mission was to touch the next tree, stop sign, or the edge of the sidewalk.
This way of thinking is very powerful when dealing with mental health challenges. The “I can’t” conversation can become overwhelming but can be replaced by small steps and goals to get through the next week, day, even minute. I found that knowing and seeing where I was going increased my determination. Sometimes knowing that all you need to do is make it to that next marker makes all the difference.