Last weekend, like many weekend mornings, my running buddies and I laced up our running shoes and hit the trails. The mission: 10 miles. Just so you know, for me, a 10-mile run is challenging. Very challenging.

As is typical with long runs, the muscle pain and fatigue hit me last weekend just after the 6-mile mark. So you can imagine my delight when we encountered an incredibly steep hill right around mile 7.

We were close enough to our turn around point that we could have skipped the hill and made up the mileage on the other end of the run. But one of my running buddies and I decided to conquer the hill! Most races include at least one hill, so we thought it would be good practice.

As we reached the base of the hill, we realized what we had gotten ourselves into. The hill was very steep and very long. We second-guessed our decision, but decided to keep on going.

Running up the hill wasn’t easy, but we did it! And here’s the interesting thing. At the top of the hill, I actually felt better than I had earlier in the run. It was as if my second wind was waiting for me at the top of the hill. This is exactly the opposite of what I would have expected. (I had several miles ahead of me, so I had plenty of time to think about it.)

Your Second Wind Starts Here |

My conclusion? When you conquer something challenging, like a hill, or a mountain of clutter, the very worst place to be is at the bottom looking up at what lies ahead of you. It can make you feel like stopping or turning around. But, when you conquer the challenge ahead, you feel an incredible surge of energy—a second wind that will fuel you for the rest of your project. In my case, this was the rest of my run. As counter intuitive as it seems, your second wind—your motivation to finish that project—starts right at the top of that very first hill.

So what’s your hill? Is it a pile of clutter? Your over-flowing closet? Or is it some sort of important goal that feels too big to even start? Why not take that first step today, with the faith that your second wind is out there waiting for you.


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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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