How to Get To Where You Want To Go

By Carrie Barrett – August 1, 2013

When I moved to Austin from Ohio 15 years ago, I packed up my guitar in my Honda Civic, a few mementos, and cranked up the Dixie Chicks’ “Wide Open Spaces.” After all, she needs:

“Room to make her big mistakes.
She needs new faces.
She knows the high stakes…”

That song still chokes me up because it was popular at a time when I really had no idea what my future held. I took a dream job at KASE 101, and this Midwest girl moved to the Lone Star State. And, like anyone who drove across the country in the 1990s, I also had my trusty AAA TripTik, the large book of detailed maps, which would take me from Ohio to Texas in about two days.

Although I have found my permanent home in this amazing city, I'm still on a continuous journey; a fitness journey. I suspect many of you are, too. Whether you want to run a marathon, increase the number of pull-ups you can do, train for your first triathlon, or simply lose a few pounds, everyone needs a road map of sorts. We all need to know how to get to where we want to be. And, whether you’re using AAA’s paper or digital TripTik or trusting in Google Maps, you still need to plot your course and follow the best compass possible: your own.
So, how do you begin your journey to where you want to go?
Create a Vision

Do you know there are people who work at Disney whose only job it is to create? They are the ones who dream up fairy tales, Prince Charmings and Shreks, and fish that sing. They think big with no limitations. In the same way, you must also think big—but think clear. Aim for something that almost feels out of your reach. Write down your goal, but include specifics. Do you want to qualify for Boston? What pace do you need to run? What marathon is best suited to qualifying? The harder the challenge, the sweeter the reward. Your vision may sound ridiculous to someone else, but if it sounds awesome to you, that's all that matters. I mean, who would've thought a beauty would ever fall in love with a beast?

Be Committed 

When I stood on the altar and got hitched, I didn't say, “I wish.” I said, “I do.” Think of your goal in the same way. On one end, you may say, “I wish I could do a marathon” or “I hope to run a marathon someday.” You're beginning to create your vision, but you aren't expressing commitment. Those “wishes” and “hopes” must become “wants” and “dos.” In essence, your level of commitment can be gauged not just by words, but also your actions.
How do you become committed to your goal? Start now. Pick a start date and a target date for completion. Select an accountability partner or coach. Plot some of the small steps to achieving your goal. You can't step over the Grand Canyon in one leap, but you can traverse it over small stepping stones.

Be a Rule Breaker 

Katherine Hepburn once said, “If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” Amen, sister. Sometimes, in order to get to where you want to go, you have to break some rules that you or others may have set. Perhaps you've spent your entire life telling yourself that you are too slow to race a bike, too short to play basketball, too this, too that. If you dream big, you have to act big and dwell outside the walls of your comfort zone. Yes, that sometimes means putting down the AAA TripTik and navigating your own way through a lot of annoying traffic and taking a few detours now and then.

Be Fearless 

Being fearless doesn't necessarily mean living without fear. It most often means living with courage. Remember, fears are just feelings. They are not facts. The more you do something, the less fearful it becomes. That's why we practice and train, right? If your big goal and your big vision scare you now, that's good. Little by little, competence leads to confidence. I'll never forget my first day at the Austin Fit marathon training group. I was scared to death of the initial two-mile time-trial run. I wasn't sure I could finish it, and I also thought I would be in last place. So, I skipped it. I let fear get the best of me that day. I still joined the program, but my fear almost stifled me from joining at all. That was 12 years ago, and I'm grateful I stuck it out. It literally changed my life.

Be Grateful

Working toward and achieving your goal is meaningless without gratitude. Realize that not all things happen overnight. Achieving your lofty goal will take time, but gratitude allows you to appreciate where you are in each moment. There will be good days and bad days. Of course, there will be setbacks. Grateful is also being present and appreciating what you have now.

My big move to Texas was not unlike training for my first ever marathon. I had my goal, and I outlined the initial steps it would take to make both of those happen. I also broke a few self-imposed rules along the way. Sure, I was scared to death of the unknown of moving to a new city and doing something my body had never done before, but every day got a little easier with practice, patience, courage, and determination. The people I met along the way have been instrumental in my success, both in competition and in every day living. For that, I am eternally grateful.

So, this fall, as you look ahead to where you want to be by the end of the year, look at these steps and draw your own road map. I promise, it'll be more accurate than SIRI's turn-by-turn instructions.


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