When setting goals, it's easy to put limits on ourselves. "I can lose 10 pounds, but there's no way I could lose 20." Or, "I can walk a mile, but I'd never be able to walk 5 miles." Sometimes we set limits because we want to be realistic (which isn't a bad thing), but sometimes it's because of fear of failure. If you don't set a goal that's pushing you further than you ever though possible, then you won't be disappointed if you don't reach it. But at the same time, what if it really is possible? What if, through hard work and determination, you could attain those goals that seem out of reach? After reading the story of Don McNelly and Norm Frank, I've learned that setting unbelievable goals might not be such a bad idea.
McNelly (age 90) and Frank (age 79) have been running buddies for years. To say that they are marathoners is really an understatement. McNelly has completed 744 26.2-mile races, and Frank has finished 965--more than anyone else in North America. Frank has dreams of completing 1,000 marathons, but health issues in the past few years have put a damper on those plans. McNelly is still walking marathons (with the goal just to finish), setting world records when he completed 295 marathons in his 70's and 177 in his 80's.
When Frank moved into an assisted living facility last year, McNelly started driving out to see him once a month. Although they don't run together anymore, they still talk about the sport. It seems that these days, McNelly is running for both of them. Frank works hard to keep a positive attitude. Even though he can't run, he knows that he's doing better than many other people his age.
Can you imagine setting a goal to run hundreds of marathons? It seems unattainable, but there are people out there setting amazing goals every day and working hard to reach them. Maybe your goal isn't marathons, but something else you've always wanted to do but never thought possible. As 2010 comes to a close and we start thinking about the year ahead, maybe it's time to start dreaming big.
Not sure where to begin? Check out Optimism and the Power of Positive Thinking and Shoot for the Moon, two of the many SparkPeople articles on this topic.
What do you think? Do you have any big goals you've hesitated to set for yourself? What is stopping you?
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