When I first heard the phrase life is a marathon not a sprint, I was instantly drawn to follow this idea. It inspired me to think about all the things we fail at when it comes to pursuing true happiness.
When you observe your life as a marathon and not a sprint, you become more focused on the process and not only the finish line.
Instead of satisfying yourself with short-term goals and happiness, you start seeing things in long-term mode.
We’ve spent half of our life sprinting along only to experience severe burnouts and then do everything all over again. In the wild race called life, we’ve forgotten to find our own pace.
We want it all and we want it now but we’re not ready to invest, push past our limits and persevere.
An instant, modern lifestyle is constantly encouraging us to run a sprint and reach our goals in the fastest way possible.
However, running a marathon is a whole different thing. It requires a strategy, devotion, willingness and balance.
Unlike a sprint, a marathon doesn’t only test our endurance but it challenges our mental toughness and ability to keep moving forward when everyone else (including ourself) would usually most likely quit.
Being a marathon runner means constantly working on yourself, which is a long-term process and it doesn’t happen overnight.
Below, you’ll find tips that will help you turn your life into a marathon and find your own pace.
However, before that, let’s first define a marathon and compare it with a sprint (our modern lifestyle) to see how it is affecting the quality of our life.
Running A Marathon Isn’t Easy But It’s The Only Path To True Happiness
In order to understand the concept of life being a marathon, we need to compare it to the process of preparing for a marathon race and what comes after it.
One thing is sure, running a marathon or half-marathon isn’t easy. To be able to run one, you have to train for a long time, be fully dedicated in everyday life and be consistent.
You make a commitment to yourself and your body for the sake of a long-term goal.
You see, running a marathon is not only about running that one race and continuing living your life as you please. It’s more of a lifestyle that requires self-discipline and pure dedication.
It encompasses both aspects of our life: physical and mental.
You have to be active and run regularly, eat healthy food and take care of your calorie intake.
In other words, you have to take care of your body and avoid eating unhealthy food or anything else that might decrease your performance.
Also, you have to prepare yourself mentally for the upcoming race.
As a matter of fact, every day of your life is a new race where you strive to be the best version of yourself and avoid temptations that are not beneficial to you in one way or another.
Of course, there will come days when you will become sick of everything including your self-imposed healthy regimen and your mental toughness will be challenged.
But you know that if you give up now, you won’t be able to perform, so you push yourself harder and find new ways to motivate yourself.
And that’s the real beauty and the key to success and happiness.
After months of tough training, you are finally ready to run the marathon.
During the marathon, there will be times when you will be the one leading and the others will try hard to follow your pace but then you will switch roles.
The marathon itself is a mental roller-coaster.
There will come times when you will feel like giving up but when you think of all those moments of your tough training and regimen, you will keep moving forward no matter how hard it is at that moment.
You will keep motivating yourself because that’s the only way to reach the finish line. And when you reach it, the marathon doesn’t end there.
There’s a lot that happens in-between the start and after the race. After finishing, you will evaluate your marathoner performance to learn how you can improve it next time.
You will think about all the things you could have done differently during the race and turn them into important life lessons.
As you’re thinking about all of it, you will be resting so your body and mind can recover.
Once you feel ready for the next race, you’ll do all of this on repeat but only this time you’ll remember not to repeat the same mistakes.
And you will also remember that life’s a marathon not a sprint.
The Pitfalls Of A Modern, Instant Lifestyle
Even though a modern lifestyle has brought us many advantages, I daresay that the disadvantages are prevalent. We have never been more connected but we’re feeling lonelier than ever.
We have instant access to everything! If you don’t believe me, just pause for a moment and look around yourself.
We like to think that electronic devices, smartphones and suchlike have become our servants but the truth is otherwise.
They don’t serve us but we serve them and for that, we’re paying a high price both physically and mentally. We have never been more impatient, anxious or depressed.
Being constantly busy has become our life motto that has taken its toll on our mental health and how we function in general.
We spend half of our time complaining about things instead of being grateful for everything we already have. We want to achieve more and more but we’re not willing to make a single effort to make it happen.
Why? Because we have got used to instant solutions, spending time on the biggest virtual enemy called social media and expecting to find happiness somewhere in-between artificial and insane.
We’ve become impatient, demanding that every aspect of our life goes the way we want it to instead of striving to find a work-life balance with our own efforts.
We have instant access to our friends and family but we have never felt more distant
I remember when I was growing up, neither I, my friends or anyone in my family had a cell phone. And do you know what? I can tell you for sure that we’d never been happier!
If you needed to reach someone who was not in your vicinity, you had to go to their house or call them on their home phone (instead of a cell phone) and pray that they’d answer.
If not, then you repeated the entire process.
And none one of us ever lost our mind or became impatient. I cannot accentuate enough how liberating it was not being constantly glued to our phone, like today.
Instead of constantly typing with each other, we worked on creating powerful connections in person.
We weren’t spending half of our time worrying about those modern phenomenons of ‘not texting me back’ or, ‘seen but not responded’ and suchlike.
We weren’t wasting our time following all those influencers on social media (don’t forget that that is their job and they are being paid for it by different companies).
Instead, we were having fun in other non-virtual and more productive ways.
So, today, we have self-proclaimed role models (aka influencers), smartphones and instant access to everything but we have never felt more distant from our common sense and the rest of the human species.
The online world has become the new reality
From online games to social networks, there are so many things one can do online without feeling the urge to go back to reality for hours.
But this practice has made us isolated from each other and the online world has become the new reality.
The more time we spend online, the more we’re disconnected from the real world, our needs and goals.
We spend hours and hours observing what others are doing in this artificial world only to forget about the real problems and things we have to deal with in the real world.
And that is when we start running away from our problems, when we become restless and start neglecting the need for self-care rituals.
Instead of going for a walk, socializing and visiting stores in person, we choose to buy things in our pajamas with just one click.
Sometimes this is a handy solution but in the long run, it is nothing more than a recipe for becoming isolated from the rest of the world.
Spending time outdoors has become the unknown world
Before, children would spend all their free time playing outside and today they are only playing and ‘socializing’ in the online world. The same thing goes for adults.
We would rather watch a movie online and eat tons of ice cream than spend time outdoors and stay active.
Since parents are children’s biggest role models, I’m afraid that we’re doomed in the long run (if nothing changes).
Spending time outdoors, playing outdoors, discovering new things, observing the sky, the flowers and the trees has become the unknown world.
Since when did reality become a second reality, something that we fear facing?
We hide behind our masks, we refuse to admit that something’s terribly wrong with our lifestyle even though we’re perfectly aware of it.
We basically don’t have time to be in the real world because we’re preoccupied with creating the perfect life online.
And because of all that, we become alienated from our true self, our friends and family. We think we’re living life but in reality, we’re running a sprint where the finish line is an illusion.
6 Ways To Turn Your Life Into A Marathon And Unlock Your Unlimited Potential
One thing is sure; we are where we are at the moment and we cannot simply decide to become hippies and neglect all of modern technology and years of evolutionary success.
However, what we can do is create a balance and save ourself from the shackles of the instant, modern lifestyle! And this is how you’ll do it:
Socialize with others in real life (and not only virtually)
Due to our hectic lifestyles, we often forget to maintain healthy connections with other people.
It’s when you get home from work, turn on the TV and simply text your best friend or someone else with something like, “What’s up?”
That one statement has become the pinnacle of our modern-day conversations, so you spend some time texting, thinking that you’ve fulfilled your daily dose of socializing.
No matter how busy you are, you can always organize your schedule so that you spend more time with others in real life and not only virtually.
Instead of only drinking coffee at the nearest coffee shop, think of some exciting activities that you could do together.
Be creative with your time spent with other people because one day you might wake up and regret not doing it.
This is perfectly explained in my current fave song by Lewis Capaldi, ‘Before You Go’, that I listen to on repeat:
“I fell by the wayside like everyone else
I hate you, I hate you, I hate you, but I was just kidding myself
Our every moment, I start to replace
‘Cause now that they’re gone, all I hear are the words that I needed to say
Was never the right time, whenever you called
Went little by little by little until there was nothing at all
Our every moment, I start to replay
But all I can think about is seeing that look on your face…”
I’ve noticed that we live in a world where the term self-care is often mistaken for selfishness. I know that the first four letters are the same but still, taking care of yourself has nothing to do with being selfish.
Instead, it’s something necessary for your health and overall well-being because life is a marathon not a sprint and you have to prepare yourself accordingly!
Here are some basic ways of practicing self-care:
Get enough quality sleep
Always make sure that you get enough quality sleep because this greatly influences how you function on a daily basis.
If you don’t get enough sleep, your performance at work will be decreased, you will be easily irritated and not to mention the potential development of mental illnesses.
Getting enough sleep is essential for our well-being.
I know what you’re thinking! “But I don’t have time for that.” Yes, you do have time for that because it should be one of your priorities and people often use lack of time as an excuse.
If you organize your activities accordingly, you will definitely have time to commit to yourself. Hitting the gym three to four times per week or simply going for a walk is something we all can and should manage.
Eat healthy food
Don’t let the charms of a modern lifestyle turn you into fast food junkie. Don’t be so cruel to your body because it deserves to be nourished and taken care of (just like your mind).
Try to eat healthy (healthier) food whenever you can and trust me, you will notice the difference in no time.
Get out of your comfort zone and explore new things
To prevent yourself from falling into a boring routine, make sure to widen your horizons and explore new things around you.
You can visit a museum, meet new people (because new people will bring you new perspectives) and do whatever your heart desires.
Instead of looking for instant solutions and reading posts on social media, find an interesting book and start reading it!
Learn about new cultures, take up a new hobby or join a new class on something you always wanted to learn.
Breathe, relax and enjoy.
Sadly, the majority of people have become only focused on receiving instead of giving. This goes for both love lives and lives in general.
When we need help from others, we judge them if they don’t have time or are not willing to help us.
And when others need our help, we do the same thing to them. Instead of practicing giving and receiving, we only expect to receive without reciprocating.
One way to practice selflessness is to work as a volunteer (in animal shelters, homeless shelters, etc.) and contribute to your community.
Also, work on implementing selflessness into your daily life as well.
Simply greeting strangers with a welcoming smile, helping elders cross the street and similar gestures are things that restore faith in humanity.
They say that change comes from within us so be the one who will start changing things and make the world a better place!
Spirituality is not necessarily connected with religion like many people think because there is so much more to it.
Spiritual activities encompass meditation, praying, discovering yourself and connecting with your true self.
It also includes understanding and constant questioning of how and why things function the way they do.
Spirituality is also those long conversations about anything and everything in the small hours with someone who understands you.
It is being willing to constantly challenge your beliefs and acquire new perspectives and as a result, this will help you to improve and evolve.
Live in the moment and listen to your gut
One of the main reasons why we tend to spend the majority of our time in the virtual world is because we’re afraid of living in the moment.
Look around yourself, turn on all of your five senses and embrace the moment!
Don’t run from yourself or your problems but see things as they are and work on improving them. Also, have the courage to accept the things you cannot change.
Always listen to your gut because your body and mind know what’s best for you and they are trying to guide you. So, don’t ignore those little voices in your head telling you when something is wrong or right.
Become the best version of yourself!
The only way to become the best version of yourself is to make constant effort, be persistent and never give up, no matter how difficult things are at the moment.
The only way to be truly happy is to create a balance in every aspect of your life and to reduce the time spent in the virtual world. You need to tap into your passions and the essence of your core being.
Only then will you be able to discover and unlock your unlimited potential. Life is a marathon not a sprint, so stop rushing and start living!
See also: This Is What Life Means To Me