I know this feeling of failure and losing my focus all too well. If you’re like me, I’m thinking you are trying to figure out how to stay consistent with your goals for the year ahead.
After over a year out with injury, I began trail running again. I had wanted to get back running but if I’m honest I was quite anxious, as I had lost my fitness, carried weight, moved to a new country not knowing anyone, and lacked the confidence to meet new people.
Eventually I did join a very mixed running group with people of all ages and abilities and as I sized up the group, I became less anxious. Even a little more confident.
Our first run together was enjoyable to begin; running and chatting in the beautiful nature of the mountains. Then I felt the pace increase and some of the group broke away. I increased my pace, less chatting. I lost control of my breathing and became frustrated. Feeling embarrassed, I ducked into the bush, pretending for a toilet break. The run ends and I’m 20 minutes behind. Disgusted, I decided running was not for me. I was too far behind and would never make up ground.
What I failed to do was stay focused on my goal, which was to control my breathing, and instead went with the beat of the group. Both body and mind struggled and thoughts turned against me, urging me to give up and question why I was even running.
This lack of consistency seems to happen every year and to add to the misery, you see everyone around you achieving and progressing seemingly with ease and that is something you desperately want, right? You’re wondering if you could do something right now to overcome going off track.
Well, I am going to tell you the top three things you need to do right now.
- The first thing you need to do if you really want to avoid that feeling of failure is to keep the focus on you.
Thankfully I’ve learned not to trust decisions made in frustration and so have been on many more runs with the group. Focusing on me and my goal each time, whilst also being able to enjoy the trail, the scenery and the people. Helping me feel more at home in my new surroundings.
My goal of becoming the strongest runner in my group excites me. I want it. Everything about it excites me; exploring new routes, making new friends, being lost in nature and the feel-good factor after completing a run. My body is buzzing as I write this because I can feel it. If you could see my face and body language right now, you would be consumed by my passion for it.
- So, the second thing you need to do is to ask why you have set each of your goals?
This goal and the journey towards it are key factors as to why I decided to stay in this new country. It has helped me to connect to both my new environment and new like-minded people. This is essential for me as I constantly look for new ways to manage my depression, anxiety and loneliness. This goal and journey towards it permeate the whole of my life.
I need you to take out a pen and paper and write down what excites you about your goal and the journey towards it. The more you connect it to all areas of your life, the more it will excite you.
Now I know full well that even when a goal excites us, being disciplined can be a struggle. The problem may not be discipline but the fact that your desire for that goal has waned.
- The third thing you need to do is build back up that desire for the goal.
As mentioned already, the journey towards my goal is just as important as the end goal itself and I continue to create new waves of excitement on this journey. The same is true for the end goal and is something I do each and every day.
I need you to once again get a pen and paper. You are going to write down your future goal but in the present tense, as if you have achieved it already. You are going to do this first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Here’s a quick example:
‘I am so thankful that I am the strongest runner in the group by over 10 minutes and am the current winner of the runner of the year award by September 2022’.
I have achieved my future goal now! Or so I would have my body and mind believe… that is until it happens.
Now it’s over to you! And remember ‘if you change nothing, nothing changes….so do something’.
Neil Kelders is an International Speaker, Coach & Advocate for Mental Wellness and Physical Fitness. He specialises in the areas of Performance Coaching, Mentoring, Mental Health & Wellbeing Coaching.
Find out more at @neikelders on FB and INSTA