Just finished watching the 2011 Ironman World Championships on NBC. Great coverage! It was much different watching this year knowing I will be there next October! Along my journey to qualifying for the Championships, I used these 3 principles as my guiding force. I think it is a simple message...but one that needs to be said and internalized. The beauty of these principles, is that they aren't just for sport...or Triathlon. They are for life. They can help make you a better parent, husband, wife, son, daughter, coworker, etc... This is why I try to live my life by these principles.
If you want success in anything, you have to be dedicated. It sounds simple, and it is, but it's not easy. Simple and easy are two different things. To be truly dedicated, you must prioritize and then make sacrifices. When I'm in my most important blocks of training, I don't drink. It is very simple...but not always easy. I have work functions, social events, sporting events, and stressors that would make having a few beers really nice. But in the end, it isn't worth it. There are too many 4am wake up calls to derail my goals on a few drinks. However, I partake in the off season :)
In order to dedicate, you must set a goal. The goal needs to be a stretch, but yet attainable. I'm sure you have heard this in the past...but setting unrealistic goals is a recipe for major disappointment and negative feelings. If you can press for a goal...dedicate to that cause...your chances of success are far greater. This post isn't really about setting goals, but without them, you ARE just going through the motions.
The most important part about dedication, is your attitude. In my opinion, there are really only 2 types of people in this world:
People that find a reason they can't do something. Too tired, work too much, I'm hungry, I had a bad day, I drank too much last night, I'm scared to fail, I'm nervous about what people think....
The other person, is the person that finds a way. These people are ultra stubborn...in a good way. I truly don't give a f*ck how busy I am. If I want something bad enough, I make it happen. I set a goal...and I get after it. If I party like a rockstar on a Friday night, I suffer through my Saturday workout. No excuses. I did it to myself, I'll pay the consequences.
Which person are you? Most people are both at times...but overall, tend to lean one way or another.
You can be the most dedicated person in the world...and have great goals, but if you aren't passionate about what you are striving for, you will never get there. Instant gratification will become your driving force. For me, competition was my passion. I was lacking it in my adult life and found triathlon. I love triathon....don't get me wrong....but there is no way in hell I would workout as much as I do if I didn't have a race on the calendar. A chance to compete is my passion.
For some looking good is a passion. For others it is the rush of the workout. I have friends that love to lift because they are addicted to the "pump" they feel when they are done. You don't have to swim, bike, run in order to find fitness and health. Most people don't realize, but whether you run a mile in 5 minutes...or walk it in 25 minutes...you still burn approximately 110 calories. Crazy! Of course the runner will burn a lot more over an hour...but you don't have to run to get moving.
Find your passion...and dedicate yourself to it. I promise you, your life will become much more fulfilling. Going through the motions will be a thing of the past for you.
If you truly have the first two principles licked, you will get results. The key here though, is to make sure you celebrate the smaller results along the way. I have a friend that recently told me that he was disappointed in his season last year. He just started running 3 years ago. This was his biggest year. He completed a marathon in a GREAT time, crushed a half Ironman, and built a base of fitness that will allow him to compete in Ironman next year. However, this person has a hard time enjoying the successes along the way. He always thinks he could/should have gone faster. And of all things he was disappointed in, it was his TRAINING paces. Not the race! The TRAINING. For real? I almost lost it when he told me. He had forgotten about the fact that 3 years before, he couldn't run for 1 minute...now he is a marathon finisher...and worried about TRAINING pace? At the heart of the issue, it was an unrealistic expectation that a 10 minute mile should feel "easy." And it doesn't.
Let's look at this for a minute...his MAX pace for a mile is roughly 8 minutes a mile. My "easy" pace is roughly 4 MINUTES per mile slower than my max. So...the simple math will tell you that the "easy" pace for my friend is probably closer to 12 minutes a mile. He was ready to throw his ENTIRE season of successes out the window based on an unrealistic goal.
Morale of the story, set a stretch goal....not unrealistic....keep your eye on that goal. And most importantly, CELEBRATE the SUCCESS along the way! What good is doing all this if you can't be happy along the way. It's a lot easier to just sit on the couch and eat cookies if that is the attitude you struggle with!
So, if you add up all three, you have a recipe for success. Whatever that success might be! It can truly be a foundation for a healthy lifestyle that has LONGEVITY! I'm not talking about fads here....we are talking about life changes. Changes, that can bring you tremendous amounts of happiness and joy, in sport and in life.
Dedication, Passion, Results