Amazon’s “Brittany Runs a Marathon” on the surface, may seem like a story about a hard-partying young woman who gets a health wakeup call, and in order to lose weight, decides to prepare and run for the New York City Marathon. But the movie is so much more than the story of someone losing weight and training for a marathon. It’s about the character Brittany, whose negative perception of herself, propelled her to make unhealthy choices in her life. She formed bad habits which affected her personal and professional life. She also surrounded herself with “friends” who contributed to her continued spiral of toxic bad choices and lifestyle. Brittany’s decision takes her on a transformational journey manifested in the form of training for the New York City Marathon.
As we go along for the ride in Brittany’s life journey, there are three life lessons we can remember (or learn) to help us achieve our own goals in 2020 (in no particular order):
1. Make a decision, and establish “little goals” to help you reach your ultimate goal – once Brittany decided she was going to start training, she needed to start running…and she had a few false starts as she talked herself out of starting to exercise, because the goal seemed too daunting. Her neighbor (and soon to be running buddy) suggested she establish “little goals” en-route to her larger goal. So, Brittany’s first goal was just to run one block, then run one mile, then a 3k, and so on…you get the picture.
2. Decide to do something versus nothing – maybe you don’t have the ultimate vision right now, but taking some action will help you feel a sense of accomplishment, which will propel you to continue to take action. Brittany didn’t quite know what training for a marathon would entail, but, she focused on her “little goals,” and took some action, and every time she accomplished that action, she learned something new, met someone new, which helped her get a clearer sense of her ultimate vision.
3. Develop a community of people that support you – I know I received this advice from my grandmother as a kid, and I didn’t know what that meant until years later when I developed adult friendships. This community is one where you can feel that you can both be vulnerable, in other words, be yourself, but also one that we can accept support from…which I know can be very hard for “some of us” (a.k.a. women and men alike, who think we can do it all, and on our own). In Brittany’s case, she realized that her roommate was toxic and didn’t care to support her new lifestyle change and personal goals, and thus she came to the realization that she had to cut that relationship. Additionally, Brittany had found a new community, two fellow runners, who had become her support system both for her goal of running but also in her personal life. She realized towards the end of the movie that accepting these two new friends meant it was imperative that she learn how to be okay with showing her vulnerable side and learn how to accept their help in supporting her life goals (in this case, Brittany had declined one of the friend’s offer to help pay for the marathon entry fee and she cut off their friendship for a while because she was both embarrassed she couldn’t participate and was too proud to accept the help).
So my grandma’s advice continues to be true, your friends represent you, your goals and who you want to be in life. Additionally, building a more positive state of mind around who you are will manifest itself into your actions. Lastly, practice “little goals” which will allow you to take some action and feel a sense of accomplishment, versus doing nothing at all. So although I’m not a fan of New Year resolutions, I have to say that for 2020 I have a new goal in mind (besides writing my second book), and that is to train for a half-marathon. So…I’ll also be practicing “little goals.”