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Posts Tagged ‘goal setting’

How adopting an “Endurance Mindset” can power you to reach your goals

IMG_4782Today 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?

Why New Year’s Goals and Resolutions for Weight Loss Backfire & What to Do Instead

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It’s tempting to start off the near year by mustering up all of your willpower and setting your sights high on the goals you want to achieve. Have you been known to write up an ambitious “to-do” list at the beginning of the year? It might be a list of the things you won’t do again (resolutions) or a tidy list of achievements you hope to attain? In either case, goals and resolutions have the potential to backfire, which can feel quite defeating.

How so? According to Edward Desi in the book “Why We Do What We Do” people are more motivated by autonomy and choice than they are by external motivators like New Year’s resolutions. Even though you may have chosen the goal to lose weight, it’s actually setting you up to follow specific behaviors (like dieting, exercising regularly, avoiding splurges and treats) in order to achieve the weight loss goal. Every time you think I “have to” do this or that because of my goal, you are taking away your own autonomy. You aren’t the boss anymore, but your weight loss goal is. And every time you fail to reach a goal or the steps you believe are required to reach the goal, you feel like a failure yourself.

Are there more effective ways to lose weight than setting a goal? To answer that, you need to look at the WHY behind your desire to lose weight. The weird thing about excess weight is that it can be disguising the real issue. If you’ve ever thought “my life will be so much better/happier/exciting/successful when I finally reach my goal weight” you are experiencing exactly what I’m talking about. Instead of tackling weight, it’s actually more effective to work in reverse and tackle what’s behind the desire to lose weight first. Then, you will find that the weight starts to come off without trying so hard. This is exactly what happened to Sheila Viers, read about here weight loss story here.

Let’s look at 3 alternatives to setting a weight loss and see how much more¬†enjoyable these approaches are.


Goal Setting Gone Wrong

full-of-possibilitesIt can be a little ominous to step into the new year. We’ve got 2013 behind us with all of its screw ups and proud moments. All of our mistakes have the opportunity to we wiped clean as we begin January. It’s a great feeling, this fresh start before us. But, at the same time, there is also a sense of pressure to do better, be better and achieve more than we did last year. This feeling can be a little overwhelming, especially if we feel like we keep repeating history of unsuccessful changes year to year. But there are are ways of making peace with this feeling and becoming more confident in taking action to make your goals happen. Let’s have a look, shall we?