Instant gratification – it is what we are used too these days. Technology has changed the way we live, especially social media and because of this we have become accustomed to the satisfaction of instant results. It seems now that whenever we have to work to achieve something we become frustrated and more often than not we give up if it doesn’t happen right away.

I did not wake up one morning and decide that I wanted to run a half marathon in 90 minutes and then go out and do it. In all honesty, when I started running I could barely run 5 minutes without stopping and I was 20 pounds heavier than I am now.  I started from the bottom and worked my way from a learn to run program, to a half marathon program to 10 more years of training. I’m still not at my 90-minute goal, but I’m close.

I also did not wake up one day decide to complete an Ironman. Ironman had always been a dream of mine and at the age of 21 I bought my first road bike. I was so scared to get on it that I trained for my first triathlon with it on my indoor trainer and did not take it out on to the street until the day before the race. 5 years later I signed up for Ironman and had troubles riding my bike 40km. But after a year of hard work and determination, I completed my first Ironman 6 years after purchasing my bike.

Then came Boston, a feat I thought impossible. But again, with hard work and determination I crossed that finish line.

My new challenge, mountain biking, is constantly presenting me with obstacles that I cannot fathom riding my bike down but day after day I face these fears and one by one the obstacles are conquered. 

Do not expect to make changes in your life over night.  If you want to run a half marathon but have not run a day in your life you need to believe in yourself and your ability to do it. Figure out the steps you need to take, where you need to begin and start moving forward, following a plan that will get you to the finish line.  It may take you 3 months or 3 years but you will get there.

If you are trying to lose weight, do not expect it to happen overnight. I have said this before -- 1 change a week equals 52 changes a year, so start with 1 change and every week build on that change. Last summer a client of mine who had been trying to lose weight for years decided to take this approach.  She gave up her quick fixes and her search for instant results and we set out on a plan to get her down 50 pounds. A year has passed and she is well over 50 pounds lighter and in the best shape of her life.  People are constantly coming up to her asking how she did it or what she did and she tells them the truth. There was no magic pill, magic workout routine or magic food but just day after day and week after week of making changes. Hard work, focus and determination were her magic.

My next goal is the XTerra World Championships in Maui. This race has been a dream of mine for years but there has always been one problem - I did not know how to ride a mountain bike. I am now a year into the sport and still have a long way to go before I can even think about qualifying but I had to start somewhere. Instant gratification? No. But when I finally do cross that finish line and look back at where I started and how hard I had to work to get there it will be a moment I will never forget just as it will be when you finally reach your finish line. 

Start moving forward, one step at a time. Let go of the fear of failure and simply do the best you can every day; that is all you can ask of yourself. Start tomorrow and by the time you rest your head on your pillow to count sheep you will be one day closer to your goal.

Attached – Colin Farrell leaving a yoga class.