Today I hit another PR, or personal record. At the gym, we had a couple of challenges going to see who could rack up the longest session on the Jacob’s Ladder machine as well as accumulate enough total steps to have climbed to the peak of Mount Everest. Today was the day I decided to wrap up both of those challenges in one fell swoop. The swoop took about three hours and fifteen minutes, however. Not exactly one of those quick errands to cross off your to-do list for the day. It required a bit of planning, some mindset training and perseverance to take it all the way to the finish.
This activity got me thinking about mindsets and favorable perspectives that help us in achieving goals. Most people stare at me in disbelief when they hear the amount of time I’ve been able to stay on the Jacob’s Ladder for. A couple of months ago, I broke the endurance record by 30 minutes at 2 hours even. Since then another challenger beat it by 15 minutes and today I was able to put in a healthy margin at 3 hours and fifteen. Most people cannot do more than 5 or 10 minutes on the machine at one time, so the concept of working it for endurance is absolutely alien.
So back to mindset.
Historically, my athletic activities have been endurance based. I’m familiar and comfortable with performing high intense activity for over an hour. I’ve run two marathons, competed in several multi sport races and some running relays and obstacle courses. Knowing at the outset that you are in it for the long haul keeps you focused on the process and not focused on the finish. Of course, we all think about what it will be like when this thing is over, but when you sign on for an endurance event, you know right away that it’s only a form of self torture to be thinking about your activity being over when you have hours to go. The best thing you can do is entertain yourself while you do it. You’ve got to find your joy in the process.
Is “joyful” the best word…
to choose to describe my mindset during endurance events? Maybe not, but it suggests the need to shift to a positive focus of wanting to be “here and now.” Knowing that there has to be a certain amount of investment and training to reap the rewards is a realistic perspective to keep. There was a month of training and practical preparations to consider, such as sports drinks, audio entertainment, shoe inserts and gloves to help improve the experience.
So what does all this have to do with reaching goals?
It’s all about understanding what it takes to ultimately achieve a goal, which is patience and persistence. Some people may invoke the quality of “grit” for when the going gets tough to help you get past those hurdles (or obstacles if it’s a Spartan race). But understanding that most of our goals are long term achievements, we need to nurture our spirit of endurance and willingness to say “Yes- I’m going the distance. I’m going to finish this. I will make it to the end, even if it get uncomfortable for long periods of time.” There’s no making it go any faster. there’s no shortcuts. It comes down to an understanding and agreeing to doing the work to enjoy the rewards that come with completion.
What are you most memorable finishes?
Do you have any special events (athletic or otherwise) that you are proud of accomplishing that took a long time to see through? Was it worth the effort?