Doctor's note: Goal setting and your health
Photo: Anne Fabiny/Chicago Marathon
Last winter, my sister sent me an email asking whether I wanted to run the Chicago Marathon with her in October 2013. My initial response was, "Oh my gosh, no." I am a committed exerciser and runner, but the thought of tackling such an ambitious goal made me feel anxious and insecure. I hesitated for a long time, but after much deliberation decided that I would register for the race.
I am 53 years old and I want to keep myself as mentally and physically flexible as I can be, for as long as I can. Training for a marathon would certainly serve that purpose! I wondered whether I could set three goals for myself: train without injury, run the Chicago Marathon in under four hours, and qualify for the Boston Marathon.
When I reflect back on how I finally came to say "yes" to my sister, I think it was about having high expectations for myself. Even if I did not achieve my goals, I would have at least tried and learned something in the attempt. My unexpected discovery through this process was the power of setting smaller, incremental goals.