Goal Setting: Willpower and Mental Toughness First and Foremost


This weekend I got to see how the power of mental toughness can make the difference in reaching your goals. I was a witness to the power of determination and willpower. It may be cliché, but you can truly accomplish great things if you set your mind to it.

A few months ago for Mother’s Day my gift to my mom was a running t-shirt and the admittance fee for a 5km race in September. I know my mom enough to know that if you give her a challenge and a goal she will rise to the occasion. I found a 8 week run/walk training program that would get her ready for the 5km race. With the goal of completing the distance, off she went. She went through all the ups and downs of a training program, and hoped that it would be sufficient for race day.

Before starting our race I asked if she had a strategy for her race…run as long as I can was her response. Ok, that’s what we’ll do. She told me she usually gets tired around the 500m mark. I told myself, if I can get her to the 1km mark without stopping that would be an achievement in and of itself.

Pre-race nerves set in as we waited for the gun start. With the signal of the gun off we went. It was now or never. The start of a race is always exciting. I had to tell her to watch her pace if she didn’t want to burnout from the start – I actually had to tell her to watch the pace throughout the race. We easily reached the 500m mark and we were going strong. A few minutes later I could see the 1km marker. I pointed the sign out to my mom who didn’t know how far along we were (I was the one with the GPS watch throughout the race; all she had to do was concentrate on goal, putting one foot in front of the other. I would take care of distance and pace).

1km. “Do you realize that at this point you have done more non-stop running than you ever did during your training?” In many respects she had already reached her goal.

We continued our run – my mom concentrating on her running and breathing, me making sure to encourage and motivate her all along.

As we neared the turnaround we were still going strong. We passed the 2.5km mark. At about 2.8km my mom asked if we were halfway done yet or not. Not only were we beyond the halfway mark, but the 3km marker was not too far away. At this point for me, running the complete 5km non-stop was more and more of a possibility. For some that may seem like a small run, but it wasn’t for my mom. She had taken up running 8 weeks ago, and aside from playing golf, my 58-year-old mom was not particularly athletic. This was a significant challenge, so every extra step was a milestone.

At 3.5km it was getting tougher, but I wanted her to succeed so bad. I wanted her to see what she was capable of doing. So we attacked the remaining distance 500m at a time. For about 200-300m we slowed the pace and with my hand on her lower back she was able to recuperate enough to keep going. 1 more kilometer to go now. We were in the home stretch.

I told her she had run all this distance, there was no way we were stopping now. We were going to finish what we started.

I knew she was pushing hard now. She had so much to be proud of. I was so proud.

800m left. Then 600m, 700m and 500m. We were closer than ever. With 400m remaining we could her the music playing in the park by the finish line. Not much left now. The cheers of the crowd carried us through the last hundred meters. Hand-in-hand we crossed the finish line. She did it! 5km of running non-stop! Not only did she reach her goal, she surpassed it. It wasn’t her physical aptitude that carried her passed the finish line. It was her willpower and determination to reach her goal.

My mom’s race symbolizes well what Living4Impact means to me. It’s the challenges that we set for ourselves that make an impact in our lives – they make life worthwhile and push us to achieve more. My mom’s 5km race undoubtedly had an impact in her life, but it has also left an impact in mine. Anything is possible when you set your mind to it.

Living4Impact is about creating impact for ourselves – impact that will led us to bigger, richer and fuller lives. If you are inspired to create impact in your life, I say go for it. One foot in front of the other – if you need to you can slow the pace, you can ask for a hand on your back for support, you can focus on the next mile marker, but no matter what just keep on running towards your goal and don’t look back.


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