‘Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.’ — Josh Billings
On Sunday, June 19th 2005, I was fortunate enough to see hundreds of cyclists, young and less young, tackle the 13th Scottish Bikeathon in aid of Leukaemia Research. The course of 26 miles wound its way through the spectacular Highland countryside, with some breathtaking sights along the way, as well as some pretty steep hills. What impressed me was not so much the fit and athletic who completed the course in next to no time, but the others who didn’t usually attempt this kind of thing, but were absolutely determined to complete the 26 mile course. One of those was a 7 year old girl, who along with her father, slogged along from 10.45 in the morning until 3.30 in the afternoon, with only a half hour break for lunch. She wasn’t the fastest, in fact I think she was the slowest, but she was not going to give up! That was determination! As she came to the finish there was the biggest, brightest smile I have seen in a long time. All that effort was definitely worth it and I know she’ll be doing it again next year. How do I know? She told me. You see, she is my daughter.
How can determination help to move you towards your goals? The goal here was the finish of a somewhat tough 26 mile course. It was in the same place as the starting point, so was a clear landmark in everyone’s minds. In this case, moving towards the goal was made simpler by the fact that everyone was riding bicycles! If you didn’t do something, like pedalling, you would go nowhere! However, you had to be determined to reach that goal. There was ample opportunity to give up, as there were support vehicles ready to take the weary and exhausted back to the start, and no-one would have judged you for it. The last half was particularly challenging, as there were quite a few long steep hills to climb. Completing the 26 miles was no simple task.
Can being determined help you do what you’ve been putting off for a while? Yes, indeed! Why not follow the example of those fantastic cyclists and get on your bike! Or put on your training shoes, or walking boots. Or join a dance class! What have you been putting off? What is weighing heavy on your mind that needs a kick-start? Do you really take care of yourself? What can you add into your life that will make a difference to your health and wellbeing? Show some determination and do something!
Determine to do something for yourself. A wonderful day out in the fresh, clean air, doing something to raise money for charity in the company of like-minded people. I don’t know of anyone who participated in the Bikeathon who didn’t have a tremendous sense of satisfaction at completing the course. This was the ideal situation of doing something challenging for you while helping others. Why not see if something similar is taking place somewhere near you?
Determine to do something active every day. You don’t really get more active than this! 26 miles up and down hills. Pedalling hard and breathing with your full lung capacity. This is activity at its best! Activity of one form or another will not only give you a healthier body, but a healthier mind.
Be determined to do something because you want to, not because you have to. Everyone who was participating was there because they wanted to be. This is not an event that you have to do. There are many people who have never taken part, including myself, who are not judged by those who do. There is a party atmosphere, with some people putting on fancy dress, and the whole day is one of celebration. Celebrating life to help those who are struggling with a threat to theirs.
Determine to do something new every day. For many people taking part this was definitely a new experience. And for many of those, it is an experience they are determined to repeat next year!
Be determined to do something creative every week. Creativity manifests itself in many ways. Our imagination takes flight and we can see ourselves achieving all sorts of resourceful and inspirational things. Just cycling through the glorious Highland scenery is bound to have set someone’s creative juices flowing. I’m willing to bet on it! What a great feeling!
Make sure you are determined to do something for nothing. This one is a tough one. This event was not for nothing. It was to raise as much as possible for the charity Leukaemia Research. However, I don’t think there was one person taking part who did so for any recognition or glory. They took part for the challenge and the fun of it, and because they were determined to do it!
Isn’t it time you became determined?