Just Getting Started is the Hardest Part

Well, it’s official. I am a triathlete. Two days ago I competed in the US Women’s Triathlon Series race in Illinois, and all in all, I had a wonderful experience. I’m not very fast, and I was racing with an injury, so I finished in the last third of the competitors. But I got something far more valuable than a win, I gained a great new perspective.

Everyone I’ve talked to in the past two days has congratulated me on finishing the triathlon, and even as I planned and trained for the race, finishing was my only goal. But Sunday morning, I learned that finishing isn’t really the hardest part of the race. Starting is. That morning, every possible excuse for not starting the race was running through my mind. I had an injury, my son was sick, the weather might not cooperate, and my stomach was upset. I had a million reasons why I didn’t want to start, and I know that no one would have blamed me if I backed out at the last minute. But I wasn’t doing this for anyone else, I was doing it for me.

I pushed all those excuses out of my mind, and I started the race. Once I got going, it was just a matter of doing what I had trained to do. Two hours later, I had done it. Finishing wasn’t nearly as hard as starting was.

So why am I blogging about this on the Writer’s Retreat? What does this have to do with writing? Well, for me this was an interesting revelation. I always tend to focus on the importance of finishing. If I don’t think I’ll be able to complete something, I tend to talk myself out of even trying. This has certainly always been true when I write and for that reason, I rarely start any writing projects. The problem with that theory, is that since I’m not starting, I have no chance whatsoever to finish anything.

So, I’m going to try to take this lesson from the triathlon and apply it to the other aspects of my life, especially writing. I need to shift my focus away from the all the reasons why I can’t do something and reward myself when I have the courage and determination to start projects that might be difficult to complete. After all, starting is the hardest part.

5 Replies to “Just Getting Started is the Hardest Part”

  1. Well done Liz!!! I was wondering how you went. And you are absolutely right, starting anything is the hardest part. I am so excited for you, I think you have gained much more than you put out…hope you can feel this *HUG* 🙂

  2. Awesome post. Awesome connection. I commend you Liz!

    I completely agree. It’s very easy to put road blocks in front of our selves before we get started – especially if we have a ‘I’m not a quitter’ attitude – because once you start, you know you have to finish.

    This totally applies to writing, and I am so glad to hear you got something more than just a well-deserved sense of accomplishment from it.

    Go you!!! *hugs*

  3. …joins the party late… YAY! I’m so proud of you for finishing! And I’d say, you do too have something good to say for Wileys. It’s just this sort of insight I look forward to hearing from you. You always have something spot-on to share. Thank you! And CONGRATULATIONS!

  4. Atta girl, Liz!

    I think it’s wonderful you blogged about your experience and what you learned–especially because you noted all the pitfalls and excuses that can oh-so-easily sway us.

    Making up your mind to take that first step IS the hardest step. You gotta be in the mindset, willpower like steel, optimism in hyperdrive.

    Not, uh, that I’d know.

    Finishing, though, is ALSO a great achievement. Pushing through when you’d rather do anything else.

    Wonderful post.

  5. Amazing accomplishment, starting and finishing both. And it does have a lot to do with writing.

    I’m proud of you and your stick to it ness! You’re an inspiration to me. ~yay Liz~

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