What Does Going The Extra Mile Look Like For You?

It’s the first Sunday of the new year — Happy New Year!

Whether you’re reading this tonight, or at another time, the start of January is when your inbox and social media feeds become flush with ideas and “best practices” for New Year’s goals and resolutions. Some will suggest easing into the year; others will make a case for hitting the ground running.

My take: Do you! 

Know what you need and what works best for you. Know what will feel most energizing to and for you. And, do that.

In my case, it’s a combo. I’m hitting the ground running as my first speaking engagement of the new year is tomorrow (Monday). So, I spent time this weekend preparing for that. Yet, I’m also easing into it by not writing a very long post. 🙂 

But I wanted to hop on your screen with this question:

What do you typically do when you reach a goal?

Especially at this time of year, there’s a lot of talk about goal setting and planning. Rightfully so. While you can have a fresh start at any time of the year, this symbolic “crossover” is certainly an inviting time for such. 

But do you know what I wish there was more talk of? I wish we talked more about what to do when you reach your goals.

I’ve been noodling on this for the last several weeks; here’s why: By December 19, 2020 I had logged 769.8 miles. It was clear that I’d meet the previous years’ miles of 772.1. 

Now, I could have run the difference and stopped, and took the rest of the year off from running. And that would have been a perfectly fine choice. 

Instead, I moved the “finish line” and decided to change my goal from meeting last year’s mileage to running 800 miles by December 31. And I did!!! Woot, woot.

Unless you are brand new to me, you know my style. You know this email isn’t about my running accomplishment. I’m always on the lookout for parallels and patterns, so I’m using my running experience to posit something for you to contemplate as you kick off 2021. 

And to make a case for what is perhaps an unpopular opinion: Don’t coast.

Once a goal is met, making the choice to not coast means making a commitment to figure out what going the extra mile looks like

With running, it’s literal. But, this notion can be applied to almost anything. The extra mile could be…

  • Making one more call
  • Sending one more email
  • Following up one more time
  • Making that request (when you don’t feel comfortable asking)
  • Doing something unexpected to show your appreciation

Once a goal is met, making the choice to not coast means asking the question, “Who do I need to be…?” At least this was the question I asked myself. 

Because going the extra mile requires more of you and from you.

As you read this, are you in reflection mode — thinking back on the goals you achieved last year? If so, what did you do after celebrating? Did you coast, or did you go the extra mile? (There’s no right or wrong answer, here.) 

Or, are you in planning mode? If so, have you considered what you’ll do if you meet any of this year’s goals ahead of schedule? Will you coast, or will you invest the time now to figure out what going the extra mile looks like…and then go for it? (Again, there’s no right or wrong answer.)

Mindset + Action

That said…

I can’t stop thinking about the saying, “How you do one thing is how you do everything.” 

I truly believe that my choice not to coast, along with my willingness to sit with the question – “who do I need to be?” – in the realm of running showed up in my business. Big time. In a positive way.

And here’s where nuance comes into the picture. I had thirteen days to run 30 miles. I knew I could do that without pushing myself in an abusive way. 

So, please understand this: I’m not advocating you push yourself (and choose not to coast) in any way that is abusive to your body, energy or any of your other resources. I’m suggesting you sit in that (uncomfortable?) space in the middle, and find the nuanced balance between not coasting and going the extra mile.

By the way, going the extra mile doesn’t have to involve a gargantuan effort. It can be “small” and incremental. (Like spreading out 30 miles over twelve days.)

Therefore, as you kick off 2021, I hope you will join me in contemplating the question that is the title of this post…frequently throughout the year. Because I’m fairly confident that doing so, at the very least, will increase your self-awareness. The question – What Does Going The Extra Mile Look Like For You? – is really an invitation, but one that asks you to stretch yourself in ways that requires more of you and from you. And from where I sit, that is always useful!

Again, Happy New Year!

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