This past summer, we heard an exciting talk from Colin O’Brady, an endurance runner. After graduating from college and before starting his career, he bought a backpack and prepared to explore the world.
In 2008, while in Thailand, O’Brady had a tragic accident while challenging a rope jumping fire. He suffered severe burns, and injuries covered about 25 percent of his body, severely injuring his legs and feet. The doctors warned him that he would probably never go again.
After being airlifted and treated, O’Brady was released, but was confined to a wheelchair or bed. Her mother challenged her to get out of the wheelchair on Day 1 after being discharged from the hospital, and then walked five steps towards the end of the first week. He didn’t do that in Week 2. But with his mother’s constant and strong encouragement, O’Brady set himself a seemingly impossible goal: to complete his first triathlon.
Just 18 months after his accident, O’Brady placed first place in the Chicago Triathlon. After winning his first race, sponsors paid attention and signed to support his future. O’Brady then attempted to complete the prestigious mountaineering challenge, The Explorers Grand Slam, with less than 50 people completing it, and only four under a year. He did it in 139 days.
With bitterness and patience, O’Brady did something no one had ever done before. On December 26, 2018, he crossed the vast Antarctic world alone and unsupported.
If he can’t score those goals after an injury like the one he really did, you and I can definitely try our biggest dreams.
But how did O’Brady do it? He took push, enthusiasm and determination – what we like to call “PEDs” – to the heart. This strategy can help you achieve any health-focused goal, whether you lose 20 pounds or marathon training.
Having a friend (O’Brady’s mother, and then his fiancée, Jenna, for example) or a group to keep you going when your drive ends provides a good incentive to continue exercising and stay healthy enough to be able to reach your big goal.
If your sport or career is no longer fun (be it table tennis, hiking or swimming), research shows that you will not have the motivation you need to meet your goals. Try a variety of activities — or meal plans, when you eat — and get your old enthusiasm and excitement felt by beating your goals.
To strengthen your motivation, write down your exercise plan, submit it and follow your progress. Review and update your plan if necessary, and benefit yourself (say a day at sea or a cup of gelato) when you meet a goal, such as lowering your blood pressure by 10 points or hitting your weight for 31 days in a row.
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