Saturday, February 12, 2011

Positive & In the Present

Before this morning's run, our Running Spot coach, Sarah, gave a speech that resonated with me, so I thought I'd share it here on the blog. 

Sarah's daughter, a competitive swimmer, was having doubts last week about a meet in which she was about to participate.  She told her mother that the particular pool where the meet was being held was very cold, and that she never swims well there.  With little time to spare before they had to be at the meet, Sarah scratched out a few words on a piece of paper and asked her daughter to read it over and over again during the car ride to the meet.  It said, "I am a strong and powerful swimmer."

In swimming, or running, or any other sport or goal in life, it's easy to let doubt creep in. This morning as I drove to Newport for my run, I had all sorts of not-good thoughts running through my head.  I wondered if this extra 15 lbs I'm carrying around is going to affect my running ability.  Wasn't I faster at this time last year?  Am I cross-training enough?  Is my lack of sleep catching up with me?  I caught myself doing it, and told myself to stop and focus on the positive instead.

Sarah told us that thinking positively about our goal is essential in achieving it.  Furthermore, it's not good enough to say, "I'm not going to have a bad run."  Stating something positive in a negative tone still evokes doubt.  And while saying, "I'm going to have a good run," is better phrasing, it places your goal in the future.  To achieve your goals, you have to focus on the present, otherwise it keeps your goal too far in the distance to realize.

Today we ran up a biiig hill.  It was a monster.  Gilbert and Devou had nothing on this bad boy.  About halfway up, my legs were screaming at me, and I said to myself, "I'm not going to stop and walk."  And then, thinking about what Sarah said, I revised it.  "I am going to run up this whole hill." And then, I revised it again to put it in the present: "I am capable of making it up this hill.  I have the ability to accomplish  this."  And, darn it if I didn't make it up that whole hill without stopping.  I had a great run, and it was because I believed I was capable of it.

In my last post, I talked about how important perspective is in reaching your goals.  A lot of self-help books (The Secret, for one) preach the benefits of self-fulfilling prophesy and the laws of attraction.  I firmly believe that when you want something in your life (to run a marathon, to get a new job, to achieve a goal), you have to think about it in the positive in order to "make it" yours. You will it to be, and it will be. When you believe in your ability to do something, that gives you the power to actually achieve it.  But the power of the present takes positivity one step further.  Not only do I know that I can achieve my goal, I am present in believing that I fully capable in every step I take towards it.

One of my favorite Dave Matthews Band songs has a line in it that sums it up nicely: "The future is no place to place your better days."

1 comment:

Jamie said...

I like this. I was thinking about how I put a lot of my motivating phrases in the negative tone today. Congrats on getting up that hill ;)