A Smart Choice

In 2022, I determined to run every single day for a calendar year. I set out on January 1 and I ran each and every day.

I set a lofty goal, and then, through perseverance, determination, tenacity, and will, I accomplished that goal.

I ran 1,700 miles last year, or an average of 4.65 miles each and every day. I am proud that I was able to do that.

I’m now writing a book of this experience which I hope will serve as motivation for other runners and goal-setters. We can all do more than we ever imagined. You just need to set a plan and get out there and do it.

We also can’t let failure get in the way of pressing forward. I had plenty of years when I thought about and/or tried to run each day and didn’t make it. I learned as I failed from each setback.

But last year, I accomplished my goal.

Then, on January 1, 2023, I went out and ran again. I only did three miles in a new running shoe I was trying out (the Saucony Tempus), but it was three miles and the running streak continued…

But then, on January 2, I made a very sound decision. I made a smart choice. Sanity prevailed.

I didn’t run.

I took the day off from running.

I let the streak end.

I could have run that day. Much of me wanted to run. But I didn’t run.

And that, I think, was a good thing.

***

I never intended for my running streak to continue indefinitely. I wasn’t setting out to be a person who never misses a day of running ever again. None of that was ever the intention.

The intention was to run every day for a year. And I did.

And it was great.

But the year ended. The task was finished.

And I made the very clear choice to just let it be and not get caught up, again, and immediately, in another such streak.

When we accomplish our goals, it is okay, and in many instances it is admirable and smart, to say, “I did it” and to stop. Sometimes we don’t have to do more.

I am a firm believer in the idea that “good enough never is,” but at the same time, I also know that not everything can go on forever. As Robert Frost once wrote, “Nothing gold can stay.”

(I’d like to just leave the quote at that and sound somewhat erudite, but I actually learned that quite a long time ago, and not from reading Frost, or any great poet, but from watching the movie The Outsiders.)

***

I don’t believe in quitting things, but I do believe that there are times when we need to move on, to recognize that a goal has been attained, or an accomplishment… accomplished.

It is good and smart and fine to sometimes say, “I did it” and to simply take pride in that.

***

I have run 23 marathons. I’m proud of that. When I finish a race, I say, “I did it.” I don’t go out and immediately run another race.

Sometimes it’s good to stop.

And reflect.

And note where we did do well. And to find ways to improve.

But, in the end, to simply be pleased with what we accomplished.

***

In the very beginning of the Bible, God commanded “Let there be light.” When he saw the light, HE was pleased.

If God can be pleased with what he accomplished, I think it’s more than fine for each of us to see our successes, great and small, and to also be pleased.

I reached my goal.

I ran every day.

I am pleased.

It was time for the streak to end.

***

Now, that does not mean that we give up and stop. No, no, no. I ran yesterday. And it’s a beautiful day in New Jersey. I’ll run again today.

I would not be pleased if I just stopped, for good.

But I’ll let some sanity guide my running decisions going forward. I do need to run, a lot. I am running the Pittsburgh Marathon in May. And I’ll be running the New York City Marathon again in November.

But I won’t be crazy and of one singular purpose as I run. I don’t have to run every day going forward.

I needed to do that, once. I don’t need to do that forever.

Sometimes it’s good to stop.

Sometimes it is good to be pleased.

And I am pleased. I am pleased I did what I set out to do. And I’m pleased that I stopped.

***

After creating light, God certainly must have been pleased. But he didn’t stop there.

And, while I am pleased that I accomplished my running goal, I have plenty of other goals to attain.

There are many – too many to list right here and right now. (Stay tuned.)

We always need more goals and more things to set our minds to achieving, but as we get there, and as we succeed, it is quite alright, and it’s often good, to pause, if only for a moment and to say,

“I did it.”

(And I did.)

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