I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but I wanted to try a couple new things in 2019. One new thing I’ve signed up for is a half marathon. I will be running a 13.1 mile race on April 6th of this year. I’ve never been one to enjoy running extremely long distances, but I figured it would be nice to step out of my comfort zone.
After I signed up for this race, I began looking for different training schedules for half marathons in preparation. Most schedules lasted twelve weeks, started slow, and progressively built up the runner’s capability leading up to the race. The first week has runner’s doing 2-3 mile runs, and week 10 has runner’s going for a 12 mile run!
If you’re doing the math in your head, I’ll save you a few seconds. My twelve week program started this past Monday, so I am officially in training mode! One of the difficulties of running a race in April means that majority of training will take place in the cold, dark, dead of winter.
The first day getting up to run was a challenge. I won’t lie. It was 20 degrees outside, the sun wasn’t even up yet, and it was a Monday morning on top of all of that. There was nothing more I wanted to do than stay in bed, but I pulled myself up and went for that run. As expected, I felt amazing afterwards.
After that first day of training, I came to a few realizations. This process isn’t going to be glamorous, and it isn’t going to be easy. It’s imperative that I find joy in the process, however.
The process of training for the race is truly what matters, and if I don’t enjoy the process, who cares what the result is? The reward at the end of the process is not a medal for finishing the race, it’s the culmination of weeks of hard work paying off.
The same goes for investing and retirement. The race is retirement in the same way that training for the race is your life. It’s important to be prepared for retirement, but if you didn’t enjoy your life along the way, who cares what the result is?
It was difficult for me to start my training on a cold, dark, winter morning. The conditions will not always be ideal.
It can be difficult to start establishing good financial habits, and saving for retirement. The timing will not be ideal.
Regardless, these first steps need to happen.
During the twelve weeks I will be training for the half marathon, I will be constantly telling myself to take in the moment and enjoy the process along the way even when things get tough.
During your life while you are preparing for retirement, you need to constantly remind yourself to take in the moments and enjoy your life along the way even when things get tough.
Some days I might not run as far as I want to, or I will have to stop for a few minutes and catch my breath. That’s okay.
Some years you might not hit your financial goals, or you’ll find yourself deviating from your plan a little bit. That’s okay.
As long as you’re working towards your goals and enjoying yourself along the way, that’s all that matters.
It’s a shame that people have regrets at the end of their lives. Every person is different, but I’m willing to bet that more people regret the amount of time they spent worrying about little things instead of enjoying the moment than not hitting every single one of their financial goals.
Please don’t take this as a statement to not care about your money. That’s not what this is. This is just a friendly reminder to enjoy your life while it’s happening around you while ALSO making smart financial decisions for your future. Balance, people. It’s called balance.
Oh, and one more running/saving money analogy for you.
Run at your own pace. Some runners will be faster than you. Some runners will be slower than you. None of that matters. Run at your own speed.
Don’t compare your financial situation to other people. Some people will save more money than you. Some people will save less money than you. None of that matters. Focus on yourself. Finish the race, and be happy along the way.
And be sure to say a prayer for my legs on April 6th!