Getting Your Mind Right

Back in January I made the decision to get serious about my training again. It was time to work towards a goal and put everything into it. Since then, without as much effort as I would have expected, I have gotten in almost every workout and I have given each of them the focus they needed. After almost two years of struggling with my training, what changed? That is simple. I got my mind right.

Whether you want to run a marathon, qualify for Boston, go back to college or find a spouse, the first step in meeting any big goal is in getting your mind right. You have to have your head fully in the game, you have to be completely, whole-heartedly committed to that end goal. So, how do you do it?

1. Breath – For me, almost everything starts with breathing. I have to literally take a deep breath and calm my body down enough to even begin to set a goal. If I were into yoga I would probably know this as centering myself. I use this to open up my body and mind to ideas bigger than myself. It is so easy to stop breathing, close off our souls and set limits on our abilities without ever thinking about it. By breathing and relaxing my body I can begin to let go of those limitation.

2. Be nice to yourself – Too often when we set these limits subconsciously it is because we don’t believe in ourselves. For me this time there was a voice telling me that I had slid to far, I had gained too much weight and the Ironman finish in 2012 was too long ago for me to suck off of. I had taken everything from that race that I could. I couldn’t count on the lessons learned there to get me through. Then I stopped. I reminded myself just how hard I had worked for that. I reminded myself that it was not easy from the first run of training until the last step of the race but I had done it. And if I had done that I could stage a successful comeback. So I let go of the negative and I started being nice to myself. I started congratulating myself on getting out of bed in the morning, on registering for my first 70.3 in more than two years and being ready to tackle something new.

3. Be honest – What do you really want? What are your real motivations? If you want to qualify for Boston so that your husband will be proud of you, if you want a spouse so your mom will stop bugging you about it, or if you are thinking about going back to school because it isn’t as scary as letting everything go and taking that three month walking adventure across the country, then you are doing it for the wrong reasons. If you are doing it because you can’t think of anything you want more, then you are on the right track. A goal, a big goal, cannot be for somebody else. Not if it is going to be successful. It has to be for you. It has to be what you want.

4. Get a plan – Wanting to run Boston is a great goal but without a training plan you will not get there. Research your goal and figure out how you are going to get there. Set it up like a road map. What will it take to get from here to there. You know what they say about eating that elephant, right? You eat it one bite at a time. That is how you will meet your goal and take that next big step.

5. Take action – And finally, take action. Hire a coach, tell your friends about your plan, send in those applications for college, ask friends to set you up if you are looking for a spouse. But whatever you do, take action, move forward and begin your journey.

I am a true believer in training properly for an event. I believe in working hard towards a goal but I am also a true believer in the power of the mind to make or break us. If we don’t get our mind right, if we don’t take the time to get mentally into the game, meeting any goal whether for an endurance event or a life event is exponentially more difficult than it is with the right mindset.

What steps do you take to get your mind right? How important do you think it is to be in the right mental frame of mind when tackling a big goal?