Is there anything more terrifying and thrilling than committing to a new challenge? It’s why we sign up for marathons after tackling halves, or look into triathlons after taking up cycling. New challenges expand our concept of what we can accomplish, and keep us motivated to head out the door to work out when we’d rather curl up under a blanket.
I didn’t exactly commit to a new challenge this week. But I did commit to think about committing to one by registering for a lottery spot for the 4.4-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge Swim.
I’ve done the Chesapeake Bay Bridge 1-Mile Challenge, derisively called the “Baby Bay,” twice, and placed in my age group both times. The distance and course are comfortable, but I can always work on the challenge of defending my “title” (ha!) or besting my previous time. Still, the 4.4-miler, a terrifying journey from one shore to the other, with a terrifying registration cost of $250, has my attention, and I’m at least thinking about committing to it.
Psychologists call this the “contemplation” stage of goal-setting or behavior-changing, and say it’s marked by ambivalence and conflicted emotions (yep), with a stark understanding of what’s at stake (my “fun” budget for the next two months thanks to the $250 registration, my Saturday mornings thanks to long swims). The lottery-selection process might decide for me. Even if I do get picked, I’ve got some time to continue contemplating before I start the next phases of goal-setting: preparation, followed by action.
What’s your style when it comes to registering for races? Do you ponder and contemplate, or just take the plunge and sign up?