Spada Law Group - December 2019


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For the First Time What Keeps Us From Trying Something New?

to get me prepared. I was sore constantly, and I complained a lot! When I first started, I couldn’t even run 3 miles without being totally exhausted. But slowly, through regular training, I made progress. I eventually got to the point where I even enjoyed my runs. This came soon after I made a powerful mental breakthrough. There was this phenomenon I noticed as I trained. When my training called for a 5-mile run, I would start to feel fatigue setting in around mile 3.5. Then two days later, when my training said to run 10 miles, I wouldn’t start to feel any distress until mile 8 or 9! I realized that my mind would take the known goal and put up a barrier just before it was accomplished. This mental block would trigger a physical response telling me that I was “close to the end” and I must be getting tired. My body wasn’t the problem. I knew I could handle the distances. Either I am a psychological mess (a distinct possibility according to some) or this was a common experience among people pushing themselves toward new goals. As I got deeper into my training routine, I fought against that mental barrier. I would tell myself, “You aren’t tired. Your mind is messing with you. Now get over it and run harder.” It really helped me physically when I knew the goal post was farther away. I moved faster and stronger to get there. When I made this realization, I took this new mindset to other places. I wasn’t just running a half-marathon to do something for the first time. I was also raising money for cancer research and the Dana- Farber Cancer Institute. At first, I set a goal of $2,500. Once I became aware of how this mental game was limiting my progress in my

“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

This line comes from one of my favorite songs by Darius Rucker, “For the First Time.” It is a line that has resonated with me more recently as I get up into my mid-50s. There comes a point when we settle into our daily routines of work, family, and other obligations. We very seldom get a chance to do anything really new, something we’ve never done before. This is a real shame, so I told myself that I would do at least one really new thing per year. something big , bold, and exciting, something that challenges me to push myself past my comfort zone in some area of my life whether it be professionally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. I want to have more first-time experiences as I move through the remainder of my life. As I reflect on my 2019 goals and accomplishments — some achieved, some not — one goal stuck out in my head. It was something I did “for the first time,” something I didn’t think I was capable of doing: On Oct. 13, I ran the B.A.A. Half Marathon. For some people, a half-marathon is no big accomplishment. But for a devout nonrunner like myself who lives with an obsessive-compulsive runner (aka my wife), this was a huge deal! I didn’t start training until August. At first, I was overwhelmed with the amount of running I had to do to stay on a training program designed When I say “new,” I don’t mean something small or easy to accomplish. I mean

physical training, I dramatically increased my goal to $10,000. I had to put myself out of my comfort zone. Race day came, and I finished the race comfortably and even enjoyed the 13.1 miles. To my surprise, the experience turned me into a runner! More importantly, I was able to raise over $10,000 for cancer research from people who sponsored my run. That was truly amazing! I learned a very valuable lesson by running a half-marathon for the first time: Our minds often present the biggest challenge and obstacle to our achieving goals that require us to do “something new.” As I go forward, I plan to keep my “goal posts” sufficiently far away, outside my comfort zone, and be more aware of how my mind can conspire to hold me back. In 2020, I will once again strive to do something for the first time. Stay tuned, there may be a mountain adventure coming up! -Len Spada

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