As I ran yesterday with the sun shining above and clear skies a thought kept running through my mind: “Why am I doing this? This isn’t my goal. It is someone else’s. You’re doing this because you still haven’t learned the art of saying ‘No.'”

If it’s not your goal, it won’t work.

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Don’t get me wrong I love to run. I got the running bug years ago in high school. Somehow I was convinced to sign up for the cross-country team (oh no I just realized I couldn’t say “No” back then either).

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I ran track as well, but I really did love cross country. It was a three-mile race. I got smoked most of the time, but in a few races, I was able to hold my own. Anyway, I’ve been running ever since. I’ve done plenty of 5k’s, 10k’s, and two 1/2 marathons. I walked one of them years ago after getting diagnosed with my heart condition (see my “About Me” page for more info on this) and one most recently on December 31st.

Why am I saying all of this? Because as I did my run/walk session yesterday I realized that I have a flaw I need to work on. I can often say “Yes” to other peoples goals. But since I don’t really have buy-in, they never work out. Let me give you a few examples and see if you can relate to what I’m saying.

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  1. Last year, I agreed to a four-month contest after talking to a guy I had recently met. At the time, it felt really good and I was motivated. But that motivation was short lived. Needless to say, I didn’t do it. It wasn’t my goal and it didn’t work.
  2. A few months ago I signed up for the Chuck Norris 5k in College Station. Who doesn’t like Chuck Norris? He’s great! And it’s for a great cause. I’m a competitive guy by nature, so eventually, a buddy of mine got to talking to me about turning this fun run turned into a competition. Or maybe it was me.  To truly compete, I would have to train a whole different way. While I agreed to the challenge, I wasn’t preparing for the challenge. Recently, our plans have changed for the race. They have fallen apart. We were still going to have a virtual race off. But I’m not even excited about the virtual run we have scheduled. It’s not my goal and therefore won’t work. As a result, my motivation, and enthusiasm aren’t there.

I could give you more examples, but I think you get the point. I was thinking about why I felt the way I did as I worked out yesterday. I tend to be a people pleaser which can be a really bad thing. I will commit to things that in hindsight I shouldn’t commit to. I’m trying to take a step back on that. I’ve already bailed on two races.

So what should I do when I realize something I’ve committed to is not really something I want to go after? What should you do? Below are some thoughts. I’m sure I will have more thoughts in the future but I think these will save me and you some short term pain and even embarrassment. Be sure to share some other thoughts in the comments section.

  1. Count The Cost: Jesus spoke about this in Luke 14:26-30. I love what He says in verse 30: “…This man began to build and was not able to finish…” I really need to count the cost more. People are watching.
  2. Ask Questions: When we’re presented with some new options we need to ask more questions. I recently did a blog on this. I need to go back and read what I wrote. I think competition is great. I think assisting others is fantastic. But we (I) need to be realistic. If I do this, how will this align with my current goals? How much extra time will this add to my schedule? Truly preparing for races requires a lot of time. Am I doing this because I just can’t seem to say no? If that’s case RUNNN AWAY. You won’t be happy.
  3. Cut Your Losses: I want to always keep my word. I want to follow through. But I do think there are times when I think it’s appropriate to bow out of something. Cost became an issue for my buddy for our Chuck Norris 5k. I recommended we cancel the big trip we had planned. There’s no sense dreading something because you may not have to cover it. Cancel it. Plan to do it in the future and have a better plan the next time around. The fear of missing out is real. Don’t let it suck you in. Not being able to say “No” can also be really expensive. Be honest with yourself. As I was running yesterday I finally came to terms with those feelings I was having. No need to run away from them. Cut the loss as quickly as you can. I had been thinking about this for a long time. During my run, I told my buddy what I was thinking and feeling. Our big trip to the 5k is already canceled, but we were still going to race against each other by signing up for another race and comparing times. I told him I wasn’t going to do it. I didn’t want to do it. It’s not my goal and it’s not something I’m passionate about at the moment. I haven’t heard back from yet. Is he mad? I don’t know. Maybe. Or maybe he never got the text. I tell myself a lot of stories. I will find out sooner or later.
  4. Question Yourself In The Future: I don’t think it’s good to constantly cancel, reschedule, reboot, etc. Slow down with saying “Yes” and be really quick to say “No.” That’s what the author of Essentialism talks about.  I really need to work on this.

If it’s not your goal, it will not work. Which means you and I really need to know what our goals are. We need to be clear with what we’re going after.