Posted: Apr 30 2015
by: Sarah Bell

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Believe You Can and You're Halfway There

2 Believe You can and You’re Halfway There


“before you have a realistic shot at achieving anything you have to believe that whatever it is you are trying to do can get done by you. A negative mindset or attitude that has you believing that something is impossible will only work against you in the long run. If you believe that you can do something you will be willing to try and try again until you accomplish it, but if you don't think you can do it then you will probably give up after the first try because you will have proven to yourself that you can't do it.


“Believe You Can and You’re Halfway There.” – I’ve always loved this quote. To me it means that an accomplishment is not only about overcoming external forces, about working hard and making sacrifices. It’s also about overcoming the power of your own mind. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?


It still holds that meaning for me. But what about the times when halfway (or a little beyond) is as far as you get? Is halfway sometimes okay?I don’t mean a scenario where you believe you can do something, but never attempt it. I’m talking about having a goal, believing or knowing you can do it, working hard towards that goal, then at some point realizing it’s not going to work out, so you stop.

There have definitely been times in my life when I have had to let go of a goal. An obvious example is back in 2012, when I was signed up for the NYC Marathon. I had given birth in January that year and I just totally overestimated the amount of time I would have for training. Reluctantly, I had to admit to myself that a marathon wasn’t in the cards for me that year. I knew I could do it – or, I believed I could – but I also knew that I wasn’t ready to dedicate the time that was necessary for training. Deep down, I felt like maybe I was a quitter. Now, with hindsight, I think I made a good decision that was right for me and my life at the time. Just by signing up, by getting back into running, training and racing as soon as I could after giving birth, by believing in my ability, it was like I was halfway there.

A few weeks ago, Christine wrote about compassion and her yoga teacher training. In her conclusion, she wrote about whether exercising compassion towards yourself could be a way of ‘wiggling out of uncomfortable situations’. It’s stuck with me ever since I read this passage:

Ever since I read that, I’ve evaluated all the times I’ve found myself thinking, “I’m not ready for…” or “I shouldn’t be hard on myself about…” and asked myself if those thoughts were me being compassionate towards myself, or just masking a fear of failure? I think what’s most difficult about this concept is that sometimes it’s tough to gauge whether you’re afraid or being sensible, when you’re in the moment. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has only realized with hindsight that a decision to let go of a goal was right or wrong.

Some people thought I was making a poor decision when I didn’t pursue a career in the art museum world. But that decision was right for me – I ended up working for a great company for a few years, learning sales skills and about interior design. Then people really thought I was crazy when I quit that well-paid job to go to school to be a personal trainer. But that was one of the best decisions of my life. It’s led me here, to training and writing, feeling fulfilled in my work and with more time to spend with my family and friends. That said, maybe it’s time to reevaluate any big, crazy goals for the future and see if I can let go of the fear of failure.

What decisions in your life have you only realized were right or wrong after the fact?

Is there something in your life you would do if you KNEW you would succeed?”

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