It must be the start of a new year because everywhere you look there are articles on how to get your goals on track. Don’t get me wrong I’m a big believer in setting goals. To succeed in any area of life you must have this kind of clarity. But before you pile-on a bunch of big hairy goals to an already busy schedule you need to learn what to Stop Doing first.
The shortest way to get from where you are to where you want to go is to annihilate limiting beliefs and habits. We all have them. Stripping them out of your life is necessary and for most of us ridiculously hard. Why? Because it requires you to deal with real change and let’s face it most of us like our old comfy ways of doing things. Yet these habits were established based on information or situations that no longer exist so they no longer serve us. The challenge then is to identify and replace them with new ones in order to transform your life and become the person (or athlete) that you’ve always aspired to be.
So what limiting beliefs and habits are you still carrying around? As a self-coached athlete it’s up to you to figure out what they are and how you’re going to dump them so that you can make room to for the RIGHT things. Here are a few of the most common disempowering habits/beliefs for you to chew on:
- The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: If you think you have limits you have them…it’s just that simple. It won’t matter how many hours a week you train or how diligent you are about proper nutrition. If you think you’re born to be over-weight and slow then you’re right. You can’t out run what you think of yourself. And if you don’t think you can do something then how are you going to get anyone else to believe in you?
- Goal Obsession: This is a tough one because so much success is wrapped up in reaching your goals. But the real key is if your pursuit of a goal comes at the expense of your bigger, more important purpose. For example if your purpose for taking up triathlon was to serve as a role model for your children and you become so focused on training and racing that you ignore them then you’ve completely defeated your purpose.
- Win at All Costs: What I mean here is the difference between being competitive and being over competitive, something that’s quite common for goal driven people. There’s a reason for ranking your races based on priority, e.g., A, B, C race. The reason is so you don’t burn yourself out trying to crush the competition every time you race. Remember that triathlon racing at any distance is very demanding both mentally and physically. The key is to choose which races you’re going focus on and which races are training days. If you’re always trying to go as fast as you can then your time in the sport of triathlon is probably going to be short-lived.
So How Do You Change?
Cleaning up bad habits is not easy but there are some simple ways to identify and then make changes so you can uplevel your game:
- Get Some Feedback: Many habits are so ingrained in your daily life that it’s hard to recognize them so get some help. Your family, friends, and co-workers are an excellent source of information. To make it useful ask them to tell the truth, be supportive and helpful versus cynical and negative, and focus on improvement and not on judgment.
- Get leverage on yourself: Build rewards and consequences into the act. They don’t have to be big they just have to be meaningful and if at all possible fun. An example is if you meet your short term goal then you get to pick which movie to go see. If not, well your movie night is at the mercy of your spouse or children.
- Start Small and Build Momentum: Unless you’re dealing with an addiction, identify some small things you can do right now to build positive momentum toward your desired behaviors. The single most effective action you can take is to map out a set morning routine that starts your day on positive footing, such as getting up a little earlier, getting in a workout, and eating some quality calories. They say it takes 21 days to establish a new behavior… so don’t give up before you’ve developed a new behavior pattern. If you’re committed, you’ll get there.
That’s it for this week. Until next time train safe, stay healthy, and hope to see you at the races.