I completed my first marathon last year. It wasn’t something I had had a burning lifelong desire to achieve, it was just something I decided to do.  People often ask me, “How was it?” I try and be as honest as I can when I say, “I think the first 42.2 kilometres was the hardest.” The collapsing in a heap at the end, well, that wasn’t hard at all – the getting back up, – that was tougher.

At the end of it, as I basked in the post race glow, and nursed muscles I wasn’t previously sure existed, I reflected on why exactly I did it. In many respects, I followed the example of British mountaineer, George Mallory, who when asked why he was involved in the first three expeditions to climb Mt. Everest, in the 1920’s, famously replied, “because it’s there.”

And so, it was a bit like that for me. Although, fortunately for me, and unlike Mallory, and indeed, the first Marathon runner, Pheidippides, who both succumbed either during, or at the completion of their goal, I was able to tick my achievement off my proverbial bucket list, and lived to tell the tale. Job done. Tick. Next. But, what is next and how to get there?

Mallory’s quote is timely, as climbing season begins in Nepal. In 2012, there were almost 550 successful summits of Everest, by a majority of mountaineers who paid in excess of $120,000, for the privilege. Now more than 4000, have witnessed the vista from the highest peak. It is suggested by locals, including Panuru Sherpa, almost half of all climbers who attempt “the big one”, do not have the necessary climbing experience. However, what they lack in skills, they make up for in dollars, and a desire to achieve. They have their trophy, hopefully a photograph, bragging rights and a tough task of bettering their bucket list.

Those climbers had a dream and they made it happen, most probably against the odds, but they did it, kudos to them. How many of us are actively pursuing our own goals and dreams? What is stopping you?

Our goals do not always have to be the biggest and best of everything, we should be only doing it for ourselves, not others, anyway. Life goals are not supposed to be a “mine is bigger than yours competition!” It’s about finding something that you consider will offer you the pleasure and satisfaction of successfully reaching your target goal. Then re-setting the target and beginning to plan the next endeavour.

I found it curious when a recent websearch, www.bucketlist.net found more than 577 people wanted to experience, “skinny dipping.” It hadn’t occurred to me, that stripping off and leaping into a body of water, naked, was so compelling, but what is stopping you?

Grab a friend, grab a camera and find a river, a beach, a dam, a pool. Immerse yourself in that cool water cascading across your entire body, revel in the delicious naughtiness of it all, you’ll be laughing, you’ll be daring, maybe you’ll get caught, maybe you won’t, you are doing it for you, so live a little, don’t think about it, DO IT!

17 people responded they wanted to use a fake name in Starbucks. Again, if this is something you feel worthy of your bucket list and have been putting off, get it out of your system, sooner, rather than later. A word of warning though, I have actually done this one, so beware of unforeseen complications.

Having “hilariously” told the server, my name was Randolph, I, amidst my own snickering, told my friend to just wait to hear my name called. Well, you can just imagine my embarrassment when my name was called out, as Rudolf, instead of Randolph. I then felt it was my duty to let the barista know, my name was Randolph, and most definitely, not the name of the red nosed reindeer, although, I did leave the store red faced.

Sometimes, I think, many of us believe all the planets need to be in alignment if we are going to achieve our goals. Sadly, the planets rarely do align. There always tends to be some obstacle obscuring the destination and ultimately scuttling the best laid plans. So, we tend to put off seeing the pyramids of Egypt, which 1463 people listed, because of work, family, poor timing, a lack of resources or other events, and the end result – we don’t get there.

How much do you really want to do it? If it’s something you really want to do, what are you waiting for? There will always be reasons why we don’t do things and there will always be some people who will always feel better about themselves, if they can be negative towards your best intentions.

Perhaps a “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach will work best for you. Don’t worry about “having all your ducks in a row,” just get something  happening, and work the rest out, as you go. As the German philosopher, Goethe, once said, “boldness brings mighty forces to it’s aid.”

This was pretty much the approach that got me to the finish line on marathon day. I could have started training earlier, I could have run further beforehand, I could have slept in on the big day. I could have done lots of things differently, but the one thing I had set myself to do, was to get to the end and that’s what I did. Ready, Fire, Aim!

 

The journey counts, it’s part of the story you tell when you have successfully achieved what you set out to do. Be strong and commit, commit, commit to your goals and make them happen, then find a new target and work towards it. Keep moving forward, is the advice I would offer, to the more than one thousand people who have completing a marathon on their own dream bucket list. Keep moving forward, you will get there, if you want it!

When you look back, it doesn’t seem nearly as daunting as you thought it was going to be. In fact, it inspires you to challenge yourself again, even to write your first blog posting!

Now all of this goal setting and achieving is making me thirsty, and I think Luke Skywalker, can use a Starbucks!

 

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