I have a new group of heroes. I’ve never met any of them, I don’t know what they look like, what they do, or much of anything about them except this one thing: they are Streak Runners. I call them Streakers but happily or sadly, depending on how you look at it, they do keep their clothes on. All six hundred on the Streak Runner list have had a running streak of at least a mile, every day, for a whole year. Some have more. Some have MUCH more like 10 year streaks, which is running 3650 days IN A ROW. Isn’t that wild? Some have run for 20 years each and every time the sun has come up, some 30 years, and Jon Sutherland from California and Jim Pearson from Washington have run over 45 years. Every. Single. Day. I am so amazed. I heard one Streaker on the radio saying that he had broken his nose once but checked out of the hospital against doctor’s orders to keep his streak going. Now, that’s just crazy.
I’ve decided to be a Streak Runner. I’m on day number 25. I’ve tried this before but on day 81 I got home from work in a late night snowstorm and instead of running, I sat by the fire with a glass of wine. Nope. I don’t regret that wine one bit. But, I’m giving Steak Running another go.
Out of my current 25 miles, I’ve probably run 15 more than I would have if not trying for a streak. The fact that it’s only a mile helps. I don’t care how tired I am, or how busy. One mile? Ok, one mile I can do, even if I have to drag myself out to do it. “What? It’s raining and dark? Ugh.” But I really want that streak.
Some friends of mine decided to run a mile because none of them ever had. They were out of shape and overweight but they wanted it bad. Everyone ran at their own slow pace and, low and behold, they did it! It took them a whole month and much patient work, but they ran a mile! There were hugs and tears all around, that day. They said doing something they thought was impossible helped them believe in themselves and believe that other dreams just might be possible.
That single mile changed their whole lives.
The first part of doing anything is believing that maybe, just maybe, we can do it. That means we put our fears and doubts behind, shut our ears to anyone telling us there is “no way,” and we imagine ourselves actually doing it. Sadly, most dreams die right here. But, if you can imagine and believe the tiniest bit, you’re on your way. The second part is figuring out exactly how it’s going to happen and here we can get stuck again, especially if our dream is very large and far away. Staring up at towering projects paralyses us; we can’t get started and probably never will. Our dreams are out of our reach.
But there is hope.
Small tasks are much easer to do than big ones and that leads us to the solution.
Break all that big down into tiny steps. Conquer the intimidation with tiny points of progress. I call them tiny lights. I find tiny lights of progress by asking this: What is one thing I CAN do that will move me forward? What is a simple step, a tiny light of progress I can accomplish this week, this day, this hour?
Simple is good. Simple is doable. Complete one simple task at a time, then watch them stack up. Twenty tiny lights will brighten a path. One hundred tiny lights and, guess what? You’re there.
Are you writing a book? “This week I will write seven pages.” Need more sales? “Today I will make twenty calls.” You don’t know how? “What ways can I learn this?” Want a running streak? “Every day I will run a single mile.”
Simplifying makes life easy to love. Love the process, love the achievement, love making something happen. Love the rush of participating instead of observing.
“One bulb at a time. There was no other way to do it. No shortcuts—simply loving the slow process of planting. Loving the work as it unfolded. Loving an achievement that grew slowly and bloomed for only three weeks each year.”
~Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards
I figure I can dream my dream forever, or I can do it. The only difference between me and the other guy who has already succeeded, is action. That’s it. Unless I break some bones, I’d rather fail miserably than never have tried. Never having tried is a regret waiting to happen.
But what if I fail? Do I regret my failures? Let me tell you, failure hurts. Oh man it hurts. But this I know from all my failures – if given enough time, failure leads to something wild and beautiful. When that dream dies, space frees up for other bigger dreams that I actually CAN do because of how I failed before. Ha. Wild. Beautiful.
So now my dream is to be Streak Runner. 340 days to go. No, wait. One day to go.
Check out the Streak Runners at http://www.runeveryday.com.
If you want to join me with my running streak (or walking streak), do it with me! Shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com.
Blessings to you,