Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Down Side to Achievement Part II

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?


  1. Be sure to go see Carrie who has a great post on being yourself and liking who you are.

    I put a link to here in the post, but just in case you missed it, it's Carrie's Busy Nothings (A Jane Austen ref, BTW)

  2. Kasie, I just want to let you know that in my world, you are extraordinary ... and I'm so happy that you are a part of my life. On this, Tamra's 35th birthday, I've been revisiting the past, and you're there in so many chapters. I'm excited to see what the future has in store for us all :). Have a happy day, hug your family for me and know that you are loved each day. Sheila

    1. Thank you, Sheila. I value my friendships with Tami and with you. I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating her 35th birthday. But how'd she get so OLD? ;-)

    2. I know ... not sure how that happened! And to answer the actual question that you asked in your post: Mine are: my heart(I care), my perseverance (both my years as a single parent, and my recent "job" as Relay For Life Event Chair), and a second dose of heart (I love being a Mom).

    3. I think those are definite likeable traits, Sheila. Perseverance is a big one. When life knocks us down, we get back up. Keep giving 'em Hell. Keep working to be better. There is no life if not a life well-lived. And well-loved, too, for that matter ;-)

  3. Love the levels -- applies to so many things in life.

    This would be a terrific post to link to Readers' Workouts. This week's is here:

    Or you could link it up to next Tuesday's post when it might get more attention.

    1. Thanks, Joy. I'll get that link added to it. Glad to see you on Clemson Road!

  4. WOW! When I first read your post I began to think "what is there I like about myself?" I then came up with several achievements and even more goals which while I have not met those goals yet, I am confident I will meet them. Thank you for helping me put it all in perspective and helping me realize meeting small goals lead to meeting big goals! Keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks, mom, for coming by as always and for leaving a comment. I continue to feel blessed by your unfailing support. You have so many great qualities. I think loyalty is one!

  5. Physical: Stamina...although recent health issues have but a dent in it, I'm still pretty fierce.

    Mental: all strengths, they reveal our fatal character flaws as well. Not all problems need to be solved...especially on a mental plane. Sometimes a cigar isn't a cigar.

    Emotional: Humor...because if I can't laugh about it then the problem is my own ego and THAT is a problem.

    Spiritual: explanations.

    I was a Montessori that I read the books and devised my own adaptation (just as I did with your post). The first three waves, Maria Montessori taught dealt with the physical, mental and emotional needs of the child. Her fourth wave added a spiritual component...however that is defined for the individual.

    Thanks you for the lovely post. Now I have leg-envy to add to my growing list of things to admire and be amazed about you, Kasie. In a good way. In a good way. If I can stick to my guns and Joy's inspiration, I'll let you have some waist envy in a few months.

    1. Always glad to see you on Clemson Road, Lara Britt! I think you've categorized humor perfectly as "emotional" -- certainly laughter has unfailing healing qualities.

      I was blessed with nice legs. My mom and dad both have them. Charlie does, too, so HB's lucked out, too!

  6. Decided to re-visit your post because as I finish up the week at work and look ahead to the weekend and next week I have decided on the 3 things I like about myself in the 3 realms you listed. Physical: my dedication to my Yoga practice; Mental: my ability to effect positive change in my community because of my knowledge as a nurse; Emotional: my capacity to love without boundaries. All that being said, I find myself feeling so blessed because of the family and friends I have who make all things possible for me. Kasie, you and your sisters have always been at the forefront of my continuous joy because when I pull together physical, mental, and emotional to make the whole of me, the 3 of you and now my 3 grandchildren give me that wholeness. Thank you for a well-written blog to which I will return.

  7. What a fantastic post, Kasie! I can relate to all of your points, which are excellent reminders to keep focused on myself, my positive traits and WHY I'm doing what I'm doing and to do it happily. Thanks for that! :)

    I came here via Joy's Readers Workouts Link, by the way.

    1. Hi, Christine. So glad to see you on Clemson Road. Joy's a good friend and I'm glad to share connections with her.

      I find that reminding myself why I'm doing what I'm doing helps me to avoid distraction and stay on task.


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