What do we do about the self-defeating side of achievement?
How do we keep ourselves from sliding completely into an abyss of self-loathing, or, worse, becoming so goal-obsessed that we disregard all other things in pursuit of perfection?
Here are three ways, of course, because bloggers love lists!
|Through hardship to the stars, by Tom & Carol who sponsored my leg in the Spinx 1/2 last year.|
1) Identify YOUR levels.
Take some time to say, “this is the dream level.” – for me, this is regular 10 mile runs, marathons, seriously crazy runner-freak stuff.
Then say, “this is the comfort level.” – for me, this is at least 3 miles, two or three times during the week, with occasional long (weekend) runs in the 6-9 range, maybe a half marathon or two a year.
Then, “this is the unacceptable level.” – for me this is not running at all, not once this week. I know that if I only run once a week, I’ll be huffing and puffing. Which is miserable. The comfort level is a much better place to be.
Identifying your levels puts achievement in perspective. It’s your personal gauge that gives you a reading of where you are in comparison to where you want to be.
Perspective provides a safe space to occupy while keeping an eye on achievement which is always jogging at a bit-faster-clip than you over that hill.
|Aubrey's quote on my left wrist during the 1/2 (Bruno Mars song)|
2) Change your internal dialogue
Say nice things to yourself. Praise yourself for small goals and for keeping the comfort level.
I used to say to myself, “you have to work out. You’re fat. You drink too much. You eat too many cheeseburgers.”
Now I say, “you’re extraordinary! What are you waiting for? Go out there and be extraordinary!”
I would much rather run for a coach who encourages me with positivity than one who puts me down and makes me feel bad about myself. And that’s what your internal dialogue is: your coach.
Make promises to yourself and keep them. Hold yourself accountable. Reward yourself (within reason) for small achievements and then extravagantly for big achievements.
Write a few repeatable mantras and then use them to get yourself out of the unacceptable range and into the comfort level, or out of the comfort level and closer to the dream level.
Favorite mantras: I am not afraid of hard work. I am worth it. Be strong. Be stronger. Nice legs and wine (that’s why I run).
|Reedy River 10k Spring 2012|
3) Stop comparing yourself to other people
This is really hard. It feels good to say, “at least I’m not her.”
Truth is: there’s always someone training harder, on a steeper incline, at a faster pace, than you.
You have to focus on your progress and your achievement.
Find three things you love about yourself: something physical, something mental, something emotional. Mine are my legs (man are they strong!), my new positive internal dialogue! (where’d that come from?), and my deep love for and trust in my husband (what a guy!).
There are so many things I want but as I tell HB over and over “first things first!” We have to do what we have to do and then we can do what we want to do.
So I put fitness – running, swimming – into the have to do category even if my achievements are a little below Olympic standards.
What things do you like about yourself?