With everything that’s been happening, I am more and more aware that it can be extremely difficult to maintain a consistent pace. From running to writing to preparing for life’s next adventure, things seem to be happening in short, irregular bursts, rather than unfolding according to any sort of plan. I keep telling myself that I’m going to do X, or set things up for Y, or be more vigilant regarding Z, but more often than not, I’m just satisfied in getting home and being free from responsibility for at least a couple hours.

A big part of it is, I believe, momentum. Last year at this time, I was working out regularly, pretty much every day, and pushing myself to write more. I’m not sure where all of that energy went, or if it never left and I simply lost my pace of the long, cold winter and the rough road I’ve been on over the last few months. It can be hard to start certain things, like an exercise regimen or an intense artistic endeavor, but I’ve found that once you do get started, it can be equally hard to stop.

There are a lot of things you can do to jump-start your endeavors. An adjustment in sleep or diet can be a good place to start, as can changing your surroundings. Leave what’s holding you back behind, at least for the time being, and let one of your new ideas have some time in the spotlight. You really don’t know how something is going to turn out until you try it, after all, so even if a new project goes nowhere, if it leads to you coming back to something you were struggling with stronger than ever, it will not have been a waste of time.

In fact, time you spend trying to regain momentum is not a waste, either. I’ve never been mountain climbing, but I imagine the same applies. The first few steps up a mountainside are not a waste of time, no matter how deliberate you make your pace to prepare yourself for the climb, take in the scenery, snap photos, or take another inventory. When you’re preparing to run, you may spend time making sure your water, your music, your shoes, everything is in order. Again, not a waste of time. It helps organize your mind to deal with what’s ahead. And it’s likely to make the event even more rewarding.

This is a case of saying it to myself as much as to anyone reading: Don’t give up. Keep trying. Continue to push forward. Even if you’ve stumbled, tripped, or slowed to catch your breath, the race is not over. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. If you’ve lost your pace, don’t worry. You can get it back. Just keep breathing and measure your steps. Before you know it, you’ll be beating your old times and on the road to victory. You just have to want it. You can do it!