Secret Success strategy #1 – Find your why, build your vision
Without fully exploring your why and establishing a strong motive, you will have no real reason to stick with change once your will power declines.
Let’s use an example to make this easier….
You started a regular stretch, recovery and conditioning program, to complement your running. You know it’s good for you but you just don’t stick to it. The pain that is the impetus to start the program is your tight aching muscles, fatigue and regular injuries that at times prevent you running.
This is a good illustration of one way willpower fails us. (there are others!). After some weeks on your program of recovery and strengthening your muscle aches ease, recovery improves, you have more energy and can run more comfortably. As you feel better you get distanced from the reasons that you started. Your need for them has dimmed in your mind along with your discomfort. You feel frustrated that these other activities are taking time away from running when you have limited free time. So the balance of pleasure / pain starts to change. Your willpower dips.
Short term gain, instant gratification instead of long term success
Without addressing your thoughts, beliefs and values you will continue to swing between these pedestals of pleasure vs pain. Choosing short term pleasure over long term success. This only changes again once you face pain and injury once more. Leaving you frustrated as you flip flop seemingly helplessly against your challenges,
Really getting to grips with your why is the first step to overcoming this challenge. Relating your why to a VISION and what you love or fear will help your goal become more achievable.
Change takes energy, commitment and discipline. A labour of love will always be easier to manage than a labour without love.
How to explore your WHY.
So for our example:- The goal is to consistently achieve conditioning and recovery work …. but WHY is it important?
Questions to consider: What impact does it create in your life and the life of those close to you? What qualities does it bring to your life? What is your dream? Is there a particular achievement that means a lot? Whatever the goal why is this important to you? How important is it on a scale of 1 to 10?
In our example, achieving the goal is important in relation to the achieving the DREAM of being able to run, consistently into old age without pain and injury. There may be races that you specifically want to finish. You feel this DREAM is important and registers as an 9 out of 10. If your dream was below 7 then potentially it is the wrong DREAM for your energy to be focused on. You don’t want to spend your life climbing the ladder only to find your ladder was against the wrong wall the whole time.
Your goal needs to connect to the WHY of your DREAM.
Without meeting the GOAL of doing the recovery and conditioning, the DREAM of running into old age will not be achievable. So next you need to explore the WHY of your running.
The WHY could be…
Running provides a sense of achievement and self-pride, a sense of purpose and meaning to life that does not come from work or other interests. Time for self-reflection, quiet time in the outdoors or a sense of belonging with running friends and groups. It improves mental wellness bringing, a sense of calm and happiness, helping you deal with lives ups and downs, carry out your responsibilities to your dream team (partner / children / relatives / friends etc).
What is your FEAR?
What is the worst that could happen, if you don’t meet the GOAL?
At best you would continue to feel fatigued and sore. But how does this impact your wider life? If you are in pain and tired, how do you perform at work? How do you feel emotionally each day – are you really living a full life or just getting through the day? Or how do you relate to your dream team – are you giving them your best or what they deserve?
At worst, it will end your DREAM. You could sustain more injuries and even get to the stage where you have to give up running and may even struggle to walk any great distance. How would this make you feel? That sense of purpose would be gone. It could cause regret if it was gone and you could of done something about it. It could create unhappiness or a sense of unease. You may feel older than your age or out of control of life. It could lead to weight gain, low self esteem, put pressure on relationships due to low mood.
Create a VISION and display it where you will see it
This is your VISION and the start point for your plan. Spend some time considering it, building it and feeling the emotions it brings up. Create a vision board – doesn’t have to be a creative masterpiece but some words on paper, some colour, pictures and quotes. Display it somewhere you will see it or carry a small reminder with you.
Having a plan will make it easier to make choices that take you towards your goal. We all face a multitude of choices each day and your decisions in the moment will either keep you still, move you towards or away from your dream. Your will power will waiver in the day so having clarity of your vision will help you make the best decisions for your success.
A little about decisions….
Every choice you make takes you in a direction….
OPTIMAL – this is the choice that will support your DREAM / VISION. Eg. the choice to do 10 minutes of stretches post run or get to a conditioning session.
INDIFFERENT – not moving, this is ether apathy, or a chance for time out before making a real choice.
SUB-OPTIMAL – choice based on short term gain or instant gratification. This actually moves you away from our long term goal. E.g. Not stretching after a run or not bothering with conditioning in favour of another run.
Understanding your WHY fully will help you make the OPTIMAL choice more often.
But that’s just one part of the picture… next week we will explore how your understanding your values can help get you closer to your goals and dream.