If any of you watched the London Marathon last weekend, you would have no doubt been humbled by the efforts of British soldier, Major Phil Packer, who completed the event, despite being told in 2008 that he would never walk again.
While serving in Iraq, Major Packer was injured by a rocket attack, and lost the use of both of his legs. After doctors had told him he would never walk again, he set out to prove them wrong, and after undergoing months of strenuous physical therapy, Major Packer got back on his feet with the aid of a pair of crutches, and vowed to walk the entire 26.2 mile length of the London Marathon to raise money for 'Help for Heroes'.
The incredible determination he showed on Sunday to get round the course and complete those miles was inspirational to all who saw him. Last year he attempted the course for the first time and it took him a gruelling 13 days to complete the course and cross the finishing line, at a pace of 2 miles a day.
Last Sunday, the Major beat his previous time, like all other able-bodied marathon veterans aim to do, but Phil Packer crossed the line in just 25 hours and 55 minutes - shaving 12 days off his previous effort!
So the next time you think to yourself that getting fit, losing some weight, being more active and eating more healthily is just too much like hard work, think about the Major. Here is a guy who, with great strength in adversity has set a goal, worked hard to achieve it and surpassed his previous efforts.
After his terrible accident he didn't sit there, complaining that he couldn't do anything about his situation. Even while recovering in his hospital bed in Basra in 2008, he decided that he would put his misfortune to good use and raise a lot of money for other diasbled servicemen.
You have more hope and determination than you allow yourself credit for.
If you can set your sights on a goal that you want enough, you will find the strength and determination to reach out and grab it.
If you really want to lose pounds and look healthier you will do it. If you want to clean up your diet and feel better you have the power to do so. NOTHING can hold you back when you want something enough.
Major Packer got to his feet and walked 26 miles on crutches. Some sedentary people don't walk that distance in a year!
So next time you feel down about your lack of results, the fact that your weight hasn't budged this week or that you didn't have the time to exercise, think of inspirational people like Phil.
Follow his example:
Set yourself a long-term goal - Phil's was to get to his feet and walk again, something the doctor's had questioned. Your's might be to run the marathon, climb a mountain, walk without feeling breathless, look great at a wedding, fit into your favourite dress or look younger than you have done in years.
Set yourself some smaller goals to achieve along the way - Phil's would have been to get out of his hospital bed, then to walk across the room unaided, followed by walking 100 metres - all steps towards completing the bigger goal of the marathon. Your's might be too cut out coffee, do 2 more push ups each workout, go walking at the weekend, play with the kids outside more often, lose 2 pounds before Sunday...
Find the support to help you achieve these - Major Packer said: “I’ve walked 52,400 steps and somebody has walked with me every step of the way, be it a dinner lady, a London taxi driver or a Metropolitan Police officer.”
He had support along the way which would have made him more determined, more focused and more likely to achieve the goal that he had set himself. Tell your friends and family what you want to achieve physically. Ask for their help and support as you work towards your goal. Don't let them steer you off course or inadvertently scupper your efforts.
This story of Major Packer has humbled me, inspired me, and touched my emotions.
I hope that it touches you in a way that spurs you on to make change in yourself and set the required goals to achieve this.
This quote from the Major sums it all up for me:
"My injury is not a disability to me any more. It’s all about what I can do, not about what I can’t do. That feeling is very strong."
The same rings true for all of us - focus on what you can do, and do something to make that change!
Don't always look for the excuses for why you can't, haven't, shouldn't, unfortunately and nearly.
At the end of the day, it's down to YOU to search inside yourself and release that inner strength to succeed.
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