We live in a culture of do more with less time, less money, less resources. Your Facebook feed is probably littered with articles such as “Do XYZ every day” and “5 Food to Eat Every Day” and “10 Habits of Successful People”. The message is always the same….do this or that every day and you will be successful, whatever that means.
Runners further encounter this on a targeted level. Do more strength training, run more miles slowly, do HIIT training, run hill repeats, do track workouts, eat more protein, eat 100% plant based and the list goes on. It can get very overwhelming to sort through it all for new and old runners alike. To make matters worse, the advice can frequently be conflicting. What is a runner (or any person) supposed to do?
When I first started running, I tried to do it all and I burned out fast, quick, and in a hurry. As a result, finding motivation was an intense struggle and my depression took advantage of this struggle. I could not find consistency in my exercise or daily routines and became bogged down with guilt.
I wondered how “real” runners were able to do it all. I wondered what was wrong with me that I couldn’t be this super human being. I wondered why I could be successful in other parts of my life, but not this one. I wondered what I was doing wrong.
When I turned to others (either in person or via the internet or social media), I got lots of advice – all colored by that individuals experiences and needs. It took me a long time to realize that I needed to focus on what worked for myself, not others.
Sorting through it all and finding what works for you is a process. See, the meaning of life is all about our journey, not the destination. Life it not meant to be easy and comfortable. Life is meant to be raw and dirty and leave us bloody and bruised. It is only with these battle scars and life lessons that we grow stronger and truly experience life. We are born with a seed inside that contains the code to our best selves. Within this imperceptible seed, all the answers exist.
In order to decode this seed, we must nurture and water and put effort into its growth. It may turn into a mighty oak or a delicate cherry blossom or a powerful eagle. It may grow into one thing one day and morph a year or 10 years down the road.
Or It can wither and die on the vine. From the day we are born, we are in a continual process of growth or death….it is up to us to decide through our actions which direction we are headed.
How do we decide which actions are going to help and which are going to hinder?
- COURAGE TO TRY SOMETHING NEW – Try new things, whether it be a new food, new workout, or new way of talking to your partner about an issue. We can never discover what work best if we are unwilling to try. It can be easy to get stuck in our ways, but unless we try something new, we will never know. Failure will occur, but it is only in risking failure that we discover.
- SELF REFLECTION – With all things, it is only in reflection and assessment that we can learn what works. Trying something new is important, but it is equally important to ask – “Did that work for me?” (Word of Caution: Don’t give up if it didn’t work the first time. It can take several attempts for a new food, workout, attitude, etc. to produce results)
- COURAGE TO SAY NO – If you determine something does NOT work for you, have the courage to say NO! If a workout or food or way of living does not work for you, then stand strong and focus your energy in other places. Social media can drive us to think that we should be just like our friends, but we are all unique and special individuals.
- SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY – Find a supportive community, either in person or via social media. A supportive community, no matter how big or small, will not tell you what to do, will not ask you to be other than you are, but will give you the right pushes and nudges and encouragement to grow while providing a softer landing for when you fail. Do not be afraid to cut out those in your life that do not help you become your best self.
- BELIEF IN YOURSELF – At the end of the day, only YOU can be an expert in you. Believe in yourself because if you are unwilling to believe in yourself, no one else is going to do it for you.