Finish Line or Starting Point?

Finish LineToday is November 30th–the last day of November, and the last day of the National Blog Posting Month challenge. And there have been 30 posts written for the blog since November 1st. They may not all have posted when they were scheduled, so some days had zero posts, while others had two, according to the publish dates. But they were written on time, and ready to go.  As I mentioned at the beginning, I had been struggling with my posting schedule in September and October, and I decided that pushing myself to write a daily post would help me get better at keeping my regular post commitments.

I was nervous at the beginning of the challenge–I really wasn’t sure that I could keep this commitment, especially with the beginning of the holiday season.  But here we are. 30 posts in 30 days–done.

And that has got me thinking a bit about challenges.

I know that there is a temptation to back away from challenges.  Doing something outside of our comfort zone means that we have an increased risk of failing.  It means that we are more likely to fall flat.  But it also gives us a chance to stretch our muscles a bit.  Mentally, this month has been a little bit like a marathon.  I needed to plan for the long run–especially this last week of crazy disrupted scheduling.  I wasn’t sure I could complete it.  But I decided to give it a shot.

Because, as fun as the finish line is, it’s really not the point.  It feels good to have accomplished the goal I set, but the value in the challenge was that I chose to push myself.  I chose to try for something I had never done before.  I set the bar higher and now I get to enjoy the fact that I became able to reach it.

The value in this is what I learned about myself along the way (more on that later–I’m still processing the lessons I’ve picked up).  If I hadn’t completed the challenge, I would still have learned many of these lessons. And I would have been able to talk about the value of trying even when we can’t finish.  Because that happens a lot in life.  Many of our big goals are only partially met.  I think that’s okay–as long as we put in the true effort to complete them.

Effort is where we gain our strength.  A marathon is well and good, but your improved health benefits came from all of the time and training you put in, not the actual race itself.

So, as I reach my finish line, I’m thinking about all the ways that it’s really a starting point.

How about you?  What have you learned about finish lines and starting points?

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