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The Difference Between A Dream And A Goal Is A Deadline

Do you have a dream or a goal? What's the difference? Let Vision PT show you why the difference between a dream and a goal is a deadline.
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By Matt Gedye at Hawthorn

"Those who lose dreaming are lost" - Aboriginal Proverb

I went running not too long ago. Just an easy run to get some additional km in the legs before the Run Melbourne Half Marathon. I was still carrying an injured knee from The Great Ocean Road Marathon and had my doubts about getting through the whole race without any concerns. My intention on this training run was to run about 18km just as a final hit out before the Run Melbourne half. But my heart wasn't in it, and I stopped after only 12km. No injuries, just wasn't feeling the run. As a matter of fact, I hadn't felt like running in a long time. I wrote my first article about ten days after finishing Great Ocean, and at the time I was excited about tackling another marathon and improving upon the many mistakes I made the first time round. But my pesky knee injury was sapping my motivation faster than it was healing. I'd stopped doing my rehab exercises by now as well. The thought of running another marathon was beginning to seem like a faraway dream. I slowed to a walk when I hit the 12km mark during this particular training run and made my way to Flinders Street Station so I could catch a train home (I'd brought my Myki with me, because even before leaving the house I was anticipating stopping halfway though). As I made my way to the station I came across an interesting quote, an Aboriginal proverb on the side of the National Gallery of Victoria that read "Those who lose dreaming are lost". I liked it. So I wrote it down in my phone. But by the time I was on the train I'd already forgotten the quote and had my phone out playing Pokemon Go, feeling sorry for myself about having failed to complete the training run I had originally intended to run.

A few weeks later I was given the single best piece of advice I've been given since I started working at Vision Hawthorn. I'd been thinking a lot about what my goals were, and what I wanted to achieve in life. I'd put pen to paper and written a few down and was feeling really motivated to get out and tackle them. It was during this time that Tom told me, "The only difference between a dream and a goal is that a goal is written down, and it has a deadline". He further elaborated by saying, "There are no unreasonable goals, only unreasonable deadlines". His final snippet of wisdom was, "Reaching your goal is not nearly as important as the person you become on your way to reaching that goal". I mulled those words over and over in my head as if a light switch had been turned on for the first time. Interestingly though, I didn't apply these words to my fitness or running goals, I was thinking more about my life and career.

The half marathon at Run Melbourne was exactly two weeks before the Brisbane Marathon which was to be my next 42.2km race. I was still apprehensive about how my knee was going to hold up but I just told myself to take it easy and use the event as a long run that I would at least finish. 3km in and my passion for running returned in an instant! I took off! This was no longer just an expensive training run. It was a race! A race against myself and my best half marathon time. I pulled up 2 minutes short of my PB, but I was over the moon with my performance. I ran fast, pushed hard, and finished with no injuries. I was absolutely pumped to run a full length marathon in Brisbane now!

I don't believe I set an unrealistic goal in completing 3 marathons in 2016. Or even an unrealistic goal in running one in under 3 hours. I'm a decent runner and felt like this was definitely achievable. The reason I was so flat and demotivated following a poor performance in Great Ocean was because I'd set an unrealistic deadline. A sub 3 hour marathon by October 16th (The Melbourne Marathon Festival). As a result, I pushed too hard at Great Ocean, fell apart, took 5 hours to complete it, and then had 5 months to try and lose 2 hours off my time. No wonder I'd lost interest in running. No wonder I couldn't be bothered doing my rehab, and no wonder I couldn't be bothered training anymore. So I reassessed my deadline. My dream is to run a marathon in under 3 hours, and I'm going to do it. Melbourne Marathon - October 21 2018 (it's always the third Sunday in October) and I know now that every marathon in the lead up to that sub 3 hour event will be an exciting journey, and I know I'm going to improve with every single one. I'm going to improve as a runner across all distances because my motivation to train has come back bigger than ever! I went into Brisbane on Sunday with a completely different mindset. I ran the whole way without stopping. Between kilometres 18 and 36 I was even able to run quickly! At a good pace, going ninety minutes without being overtaken by anyone, putting daylight between myself and the runners behind me! I shaved an hour off my time from Great Ocean Road finishing with a time of 4 hours and 8 minutes! And it was because I enjoyed the run. I had so much fun doing it! I joked inside my head around about halfway that I might book a flight to Adelaide and run with Tom and Courtney only a week later, I was just loving the feeling of running again for the first time in months!

Remember my proverb? "Those who lose dreaming are lost". I went through a long period of time where I wasn't dreaming of running my sub 3 hour marathon. Because it wasn't a dream, I couldn't turn it into a goal by giving it a deadline and writing it down. And if it's not a goal, then how can I possibly achieve it? There's nothing to achieve because there is no goal.

Time and time again I've seen people give up on their dreams when the going got too tough. We're all at risk of falling into that trap. But just like a finish line in a marathon, that dream isn't going to go anywhere unless you stop dreaming about it, unless you get lost. It might take longer than you originally thought to get there because you might have to stop and walk for a bit. You might have to completely stop and stretch because you're cramping so badly. But these are minor setbacks. They don't increase the distance you have to travel; they just decrease the time it will take to get there. The important thing is to catch your breath, reassess your game plan and keep moving forward. Every step you take in that direction is a step closer to that dream and you decrease that distance between your feet and the finish line just a little bit more.


*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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