I write this having just finished my local Parkrun. For anyone who doesn’t know what this is, it’s a 5K free timed event every Saturday at 9:00am open to all abilities. It’s the first one I had done in a few weeks and although it felt hard work I felt stronger than I remembered at my last one. So why did I feel disappointed when I crossed the finish line and see that my time wasn’t what I had hoped for? Why did I not congratulate myself on getting round the course without stopping (or even falling as one poor guy did in front of me today), why did I not give myself a pat on the back for actually getting out of bed on a Saturday morning and running 5K?
Most of us are very quick to judge ourselves too harshly. We tend to compare ourselves and our achievements to others which can be very destructive. Feeling a bit deflated on my way home I started to change my mindset and thought, well a year ago I wasn’t even able to run due to injury, 3 years previously I seriously hurt my back but am now pain free, I am juggling a business, family and training and what can I do now to improve my Parkrun time?
Sometimes we are quick to compare ourselves to others and forget about our own achievements and how we got them. You don’t always know how hard somebody has had to work to get to where they are whether that’s in sport, their weight loss, career etc. Generally things don’t happen without some effort having been put in somewhere, although I do believe some people are born with gazelle legs and have a natural ability to run but they still have to train they might just get results a bit more quickly and easily than the rest of us.
I had a conversation online the other day with one of my bootcampers who didn’t think she was a success because she has a constant battle with managing her weight. I told her that I think she is a success as she trains hard so is fitter and stronger than the majority of the population and she is one of the most genuine people I know. So how we view ourselves is not necessarily how others see us. Success, I think, is very subjective.
So what can you do to change the way you think about success? Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Start with writing down all your achievements no matter how big or small, even if it’s something like getting the kids to school on time everyday or being able to run a mile without stopping (regardless of speed, a mile is still a mile).
- Go to bed each day and say out loud one thing that you have achieved that day or are proud of.
- With training, keep a diary of your workouts so you can look back and see how you have progressed over the weeks/months/years. This may be distance, speed or amount of weight lifted.
- Help others by celebrating their successes no matter how big or small and see them as a way to be inspired in reaching your own goals, not as somebody to try and compete with.
- Ignore the naysayers and those who put you down. Usually their lack of support or criticism is just down to jealousy in seeing you do something which they are too scared or not committed enough to try themselves.
Give those 5 tips a go and see how you can start changing your mind for the better. I guarantee you will be in a better place and feeling the most successful you have ever felt