Now is the time to try something new

Full disclosure: that title came from my fortune cookie tonight. But it’s so fitting, as today I completed the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in DC — my first time doing that race and my longest distance yet since I started running races in 2010 (two 8ks & two 10ks down).

When I first signed up via the lottery a few months ago, I was excited and nervous, but April 3 was a long way down the road … literally and figuratively. I admit that I didn’t train as much as I should have (and I’m feeling it now). Excuses aside, I finished the race with a decent result for my first time, and I didn’t walk at all — which was my only goal going into the race. Knowing that I had never done the full length up to today, it was my way of managing expectations. Each step I took, each mile that I finished, I reminded myself of my goal and how great I’d feel after (if not physically, certainly mentally). I didn’t worry about people passing me or what my friends were doing — I just focused on the sunshine, the cherry blossoms, my breathing, and the music in my ears.

I tried something new today, and I finished it. One more small step in a grand plan, indeed.

A few days ago I heard live jazz at a restaurant and bar — something that had been on my wishlist for several years. I’ll definitely be going back to that place. Another “new” thing to cross off of my list.

Next up: going to Costa Rica by myself next month (albeit with a group of people I’ve never met), and some other things in my life I’m trying to change, update, and add to.  A new dress, a new car, a new friend, a new job — they all give you that same sense of contentment, satisfaction, accomplishment, or maybe even giddiness.

What is your something new going to be?

A key to happiness: relishing your accomplishments

Another one down!

Most of us have glamorous, grand goals: to run a marathon, to run for public office, to become president of a company, to write a book, to retire by X age with $X.  And then you have the smaller ones: finish your stack of books, finish your car payment, get a raise, finally clean your apartment.

No matter how big or small, glamorous or boring your goals are, it’s important to take the time to feel good about them, to relish them, to pat yourself on the back. Because for every little goal you accomplish, you are one step closer to your bigger one – and to happiness.

Not everyone has to know about your goals and accomplishments. You may share that you got a promotion or earned a medal in a race, but you may not tell everyone that you finally cleaned out your closet, perfected a family recipe, or had a great second date. Or you may – it’s up to you. What really matters is that you take the time to appreciate what you’ve accomplished for you – because whatever it was, you put time and energy into it.

Here are some of my recent accomplishments, big and small, that make me smile, and feel good about myself. What are yours?

  • Launching the third phase of a website at work – on time.
  • Running my second 10k, and improving my time. It was my third race this year – I just started racing this year.
  • Cooking a damn good chili to kick off fall.
  • Being invited to sit on a panel at a summit for a top fundraising & online database provider.
  • Making new friends after losing others.

Springing forward

Spring. A time of newly budding flowers, their colors and scent bringing life back into our dreary, gray worlds. Scores of people taking extra long lunch breaks outside, walking their dogs, hand in hand with their lover, playing with their kids, or reading a book and lazing away on the cool grass under the sun.

And there’s Daylight Savings Time thing, where we set our clocks forward one hour, and “springing forward” as it’s known. Because it’s warm outside, so many things change. It’s now better for running outside, visiting the zoo, and playing catch on the Mall. Bars and restaurants move their patio furniture back outside and the happy hours spill onto the decks and sidewalks, and start earlier in the day every week that we get closer to summer. Baseball season begins, outdoor concert season begins, and there are festivals and parades galore – all meaning it’s time to make plans with friends and fill up that calendar through September with lunches, BBQs, weekend getaways and more.

This spring, I kicked it off with my first running race ever – the St. Patrick’s Day 8k in downtown D.C. I had been planning it for months with Dan, anxiously awaiting my first foray into the racing world, after years of running several times a week on my own with no real purpose or deadline other than to stay healthy. Now that I’ve run an 8k, I’m looking into doing a 10k next, and then a half, and then ultimately, a marathon. I’m springing forward.

Read more