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Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You…

I apologize in advance to all my bookish friends, as this post has nothing to do with books or writing…However, it does have to do with accomplishing goals, something we can all relate to.

Yesterday, I ran my first 5K. For those who don’t know, a 5K is 3 miles. I know some people run 3 miles like it’s no big deal every day before breakfast, but for me, this was a major accomplishment.

I never set out to run a 5K. I’ve never been a runner, and it’s never really been my goal to run any kind of race. But in September, I was frustrated with my body. Now, I’ve never been a tiny girl…I’ve always had curves, and I probably always will. But after a little more than three months at my new full time job, I was frustrated at how quickly I was packing on the pounds sitting at a desk all day. I didn’t realize until then the difference that rushing around campus from one meeting the next really did make. So, I joined the gym.

I joined the gym with intentions of losing some weight and toning up. I wanted to not feel gross in my new work clothes and I certainly wanted to be able to walk up four flights of steps without feeling winded (that was embarrassing). So faithfully I went to the gym  three-four times a week; I did the elliptical and a few weight machines and called it a day. I lost some weight, but nowhere near the amount I had been hoping to lose.

Then one night, I had this weird, vivid dream that I was running outside and it was so effortless. I wasn’t out of breath and I felt great. I woke up energized. Maybe actually learning how to run was the key to losing weight. I immediately downloaded the Couch to 5K app on my iPod, a program that boasts turning couch potatoes into runners in nine weeks. I wasn’t sure if I believed it would work, but I was willing to try.

Three times a  week I dragged my butt to the gym, hopped on the treadmill and steadily increased my running time, following the program.I dropped weight pretty quickly and it felt amazing when at least once a day, someone would notice and tell me how great I was looking or asked what I was doing to lose the weight. And still, my goal was never to run a race; it was really to learn how to run, but when an opportunity arose to run a 5K for colon cancer awareness with work, I figured why not? I was already training for it, whether I realized it or not. Plus, it was another way to push myself, something I’m trying to do a lot more of lately.

So yesterday was the day. Yesterday morning, I ran a 5K.

My time wasn’t great. I walked more than I would have liked to. It was definitely tough and I wouldn’t exactly say it was fun, but I DID IT.

I did it for the chubby girl in high school who dreaded the day each fall and spring in gym class when we’d run a mile for fitness testing.

I did it for the girl who used to cry in store dressing rooms.

I did it for the girl who never quite felt comfortable in her clothes.

I did it for the girl who always felt like the fat one in a group of skinny friends.

I did it for me.

It was about finishing. It was about accomplishing a goal. It was about doing something that absolutely scared the crap out of me. Some say Eleanor Roosevelt said it, some say it was Kurt Vonnegut, but either way, this quote has become my 2011 mantra:

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Why not take risks or set big, larger than life goals? What’s the worst thing that can happen? Failure, maybe? But even if I fail, I know that I put all of me into something and tried. That’s why this year, I’m doing things that scare me.  What’s the point of being afraid?

I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

Your turn! What’s one big accomplishment that you’re proud of achieving? Or, what is something that absolutely scares you, but that you WANT to accomplish?

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20 thoughts on “Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You…”

  1. That IS a huge accomplishment! I think most women — including me — can relate to not feeling comfortable in our own bodies, and this is a great way to combat that. You should be proud!

  2. YAY for you, Jess — that is awesome and so inspiring! You should be so proud of your accomplishments and I know you must feel great. So pumped for you.

    I’ve never been a runner, either, and have always struggled with weight, but I joined a gym earlier this year and have been pretty steady with my progress. I haven’t dropped significant weight but am noticing my clothes fitting a little looser than before, which is awesome. The more I exercise, the better I feel — emotionally, physically. Now I just have to keep up the momentum!

  3. Congrats! That is actually one of my 2011 goals as well! I’m looking for a 5k to run in the next few months (Im on week 4 of the couch to 5k plan)! Then, to do something that REALLY scares the crap out of me, I signed up for a 15k in July. I figure, go big or go home right? I need a goal that doesnt involve work. Congrats again! I agree with everything in this post!

  4. That is fantastic. Good for you! I am wondering if I should give the couch to 5K program a try. I am most certainly not a runner, I don’t understand the appeal.

  5. GOOD FOR YOU!! That’s really awesome.

    I started the Couch to 5K program last year but then stopped once the extreme summer heat set in. Now that spring is here I want to pick it up again. I hate the gym but I really enjoy running outside. I love that quote.

  6. A friend sent me your post because I just started the Couch to 5k. I’m on week 2. I don’t know if I’ll make it, but you have inspired me. Thank you!

  7. Great job. I’m very proud and excited for you. This is such a huge accomplishment.

    And this is definitely a goal that I would absolutely love to accomplish one day. My boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend is a runner and I admire her so much. I always look at her and think I wish I could do that AND I wish I could look like that. But every time I try running I get frustrated and give up. I start running and just think – I CAN’T BREATHE! I’m going to have to check out the app that you mentioned.

  8. Pingback: The Pursuit of Progress - Jessica Lawlor

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Meet Jessica

I live by the saying “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and help others do the same to reach their biggest, brightest goals. Read my story here.

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