Several years ago, a good friend of mine, Kathy, had a baby. A few weeks went by, when I decided to visit her and see the new baby.
When I got there, Kathy looked as though like she had not slept for several days. The baby was crying loudly in his crib. As an experienced father, I asked Kathy if I go upstairs to see what I could do to try and hush the crying. She gladly agreed.
"Anything to try and stop it", she tiredly exclaimed.
After some rocking and gentle bouncing, the baby's crying ceased and soon he was sleeping. I put him back in crib and went back downstairs to visit with my friend.
For the next 90 minutes, she went on and on about how hard this baby making thing was.
There were months of swollen ankles, uncomfortable sleepless nights, and nausea followed by 16 hours of labor and childbirth, and now, more sleepless nights trying hard to soothe a newborn that has seemingly developed a bad case of gas and colic.
After some time, the baby woke from his nap and rekindled his crying efforts this time wanting food and most likely to be changed.
As I let myself out, she headed upstairs to attend to the baby. As I said good-bye, Kathy cried out, exasperated, "What was I thinking?...I'll NEVER do this again!"
It was a couple of years later when I next saw Kathy. My kids and I ran into her and her now 3-year old son while on a visit to the local zoo. She was very obviously pregnant once again.
When I reminded her of her words of "Never Again", she sighed, "Well...I guess it really wasn't that bad".
Eric (her husband) and I always wanted a bigger family and I'm not getting any younger".
"Yes, it is a lot of work to have a child but the rewards that come to me are definitely worth the effort", she said with a smile.
We exchanged some pleasantries and went off to catch-up with our respective children who were growing impatient to visit the different animal exhibits.
My long-term memory reminded me of this incidence this past week as I sat in front of my computer. I had just completed the registration form to once again ride in the Arthritis Foundation's California Coast Classic (CCC), a 525 mile, 8-day trek, from San Francisco to Los Angeles on a bicycle.
I had completed this exact same ride last October vowing to never attempt such a feat again.
"One and Done". "One time - an adventurer...two times - a fool". "The definition of insanity is to do something over and over looking for different results"
These were my standard answers to people asking me if I was planning to ride again.
Ugh! What am I thinking?!!
One of the biggest obstacles I now face is that I have not, in any way, kept up my cycling since last October. Whereas during the month prior to the ride, I was typically riding 150-250 miles per week, in the 6 months since, I have ridden a grand total of somewhere less than 100 miles. I have become complacent with my health and have not maintained it the way that I should have. I became lazy, resting upon my achievements of the past.
As I think about this, I look around at other areas of my life and wonder just how many other aspects of my life that I've taken for granted and not maintained well.
Do I work as hard as I should to build my company on a daily basis or have I wasted opportunities?
Do I continue to strive each day to foster better relationships with my friends and loved ones or do I take the people in my life for granted?
Have I continued to build for an independent financial future or have I spent money needlessly on things I really don't need or want?
Do I embrace new technologies and ideas or do I cling to the past because it's just too much work to change?
Have I continued with my education by reading and experiencing new things or do I waste precious time in front of the TV watching someone else's "reality".
The key ingredient to achievement is the need to create goals and then do the things necessary to reach the goals...and then even more important...upon reaching your goal, we need to set a NEW goal.
Too often we reach our goal (say to lose 20 pounds) and then forget about setting a new goal (like maintaining our new weight for a period of time). Then often we regress back to where we started because we never moved the bar just a bit higher.
We worked hard at something...achieved our goal...and got complacent.
My goal last year was to get in shape by training to complete the CCC ride but once that goal was accomplished, I never set a new goal. Now I need to start again from "square one".
That's the bad news...the good news is that It's never too late to begin again. It just starts with an idea and a goal and a lot of hard work.
Perhaps you can take some time these next few days to think about what areas or your life that could use some "goal-refreshing".
The rewards are definitely worth the effort.
So it begins...
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