Goals are Fragile. Make Objectives to Last.

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If we can expect anything in life, it’s setbacks. Injury will come. Tragedy will happen. Knowing hard stuff happens does not make these setbacks easier, but having broader objectives can keep us from wallowing in our self-pity. Goals are fragile. There are higher objectives that injury and/or setbacks cannot break.

Setbacks are anything getting in the way of our race plans and other goals. Setbacks come in the form of personal tragedy like death, divorce, or walking with friends or family through dark times. Sometimes running can be helpful during emotional or mental stress, but training may need to be altered. Other setbacks are physical and impossible to ignore from a training perspective. They produce physical limitations and require significant adjustments.


As you read this, it may be perfect timing to help you address the heaviness in your own experiences by setting up some positive, healing objectives. If not, these considerations still may support a mindset of continued lifetime success, whatever your situation.

Admittedly, when I have setbacks, I stay positive for a couple weeks. I feel motivated, seeing my injury as short-term and without major consequence. After this time period though, I start to become depressed and discouraged. The following list reveals the transcendent goals I’ve set for myself.

Practicing letting go of fragile goals and leaning in towards strong life objectives shifts everything back to balance.

Why do I run?

Why do I run?
Simple question, but the answer is so important. Take some time. Write it down.

My List:

Processing life.
Enjoying the outdoors.
Praying to God.
Connecting with friends.
Feeling strong.
Continuous improvement.
Discovering myself.
Achieving difficult tasks.

3 Objectives

After reflecting on my list, I have made three objectives based on why I run.

Experiencing the outdoors (and getting that vitamin D!)

If you need the sunshine, raise your hand! As a Michigander, there are many days I don’t see the sun. If I am outside for a run (or walk while injured), I maximize my chances. It’s also beneficial to keep the eyes up and soak in the beauty of nature. The upright posture alone is important in a world where we look down at phones and screens.

Connecting with myself, friends, family, and God.

Girls run
Two of my running buddies.

I find my best self reflection to be on a run. How about you? I come up with my best ideas, remember things I’ve forgotten while in motion.

My longest friendships have been ones that include side-by-side time. There is something that connects us when we move together.

God tends to meet me during endurance training. When I shut him out with busyness, he shows up when I’m finally away from distraction. I mediate, pray, and reflect while exercising.

Reducing stress and feeling accomplishment by pushing myself.

Zach runs

If you love to exercise to any degree, you know there is something incredibly satisfying about working hard. American Psychological Association shares with us that 62% of people find effectiveness in reducing stress through exercise. You can read the results here.

Despite life’s circumstances, I should be able to live out these goals. Notice that each of my main objectives listed above can be achieved even while injured.

What are your transcendent goals? Do we have any goals in common?

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2 replies
  1. Karl
    Karl says:

    Agree! God meets me when I get away from distractions.
    Wait!, God is always there. I hear Him more when I’m away from distractions. I just need to learn to listen more.

    • admin
      admin says:

      Isn’t that the truth, Karl! It’s a front-of-mind question more than anything… on what am I spending the most amount of time “meditating”? That’s the first and greatest obstacle for me…

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