Over the past 16 years, I have developed into somewhat of a serious runner. I run a minimum of 4-5 days a week on an average of 45-50 miles. Running is something I got into during my mid-life transition. I absolutely hated running for most of my adult life. After several basketball and tennis injuries, I decided to get into running to stay physically fit. It is now a year-round outdoor activity for me through winter, spring, summer, and fall. The only thing that prevents me from running are severe weather conditions such as ice, snow, and thunder storms.
Running is as much mental as it is a physical activity. It presents the same type of mental challenges that often prevent us from reaching our full potential in other areas of our lives. In order become an effective runner, I have developed a mindset that has enabled me to master the challenges sent forth by mother nature, negative self-talk, and discouragement from other people. All of us at one time or another find ourselves in a tug of war with at least one of these three factors be it in our personal life or career. My success has been based on my ability to daily take on and defeat these three challenges. I will take this opportunity to further discuss how running has enabled me to develop the mindset to overcome the challenges of mother nature, negative self-talk, and discouragement.
Mother Nature: Mother nature can be harsh and brutal during the winter and summer months. She shows no mercy and has no sympathy for my desire to stay in physical shape. It’s easy to get up and go out to run at 5:00 am under good weather conditions. However, there are days when Mother Nature sends elements of rain, heat with high humidity, and freezing temperatures to test my commitment to running. These weather conditions cause me to ask the question, “Do I really want to run today under these conditions or stay in the comfort of home?” Confronted with these weather conditions can make it a difficult decision. Such decisions can either motivate you or paralyze you. I next question is “do I let this stop me or do I continue out the door to accomplish my running goal and objectives. Running has taught me that we can’t control acts of nature or undeserved situations that occur in life, but we can control our response to them. We must keep moving forward to achieve our goals no matter the situation.
Negative Self-Talk: It would be untrue to I say I look forward to getting up to run when the clock alarm goes off at 4:30 am. My initial reaction on many mornings is to shut off the alarm and go back to sleep. I struggle against negative self-talk that says I’m tired and need more sleep and rest. These are the mornings when I must dig deep within to change my mindset. I fight against tiredness or soreness and push myself to complete those 8 to 10 miles run. If allowed to do so, negative self-talk can keep us from success even when victory is within our reach. All too often, we allow negative words such as “can’t”, “might”, “maybe”, “try”, “but” to stop us from pursuing our dreams, hopes and aspirations. Running has taught me how to reverse negative self-talk to replace “I don’t want to” or “I can’t do this” to “Yes I Will” or “Yes I can” and go get it done.
Discouragement: To become a successful runner, I have learned to tune out discouraging comments from well-meaning people. There are people who make negative comments about my age, share reasons why they don’t run, highlight the possible damage I am doing to my body or bring up the danger of going out alone early in the morning. If I allowed these people to fill my head with all kinds of negative thoughts, I would have given up on running a long time ago. We often hear the same kind of negative comments when we set out to improve the quality of our lives or pursue our goals. There are dream killers all around us and we must be mindful to block out their discouraging comments or they will destroy our spirit to compete. I try to never give my power away.
While you may have no desire to become a runner, we all face challenges from mother nature, negative self-talk, and discouragement daily. No matter what we desire in life, there will be obstacles, setbacks, and uncertainty along the way. How we respond to them depends on our mindset. We have free will to take them head-on and pursue our destiny despite them. Running is a great activity for physical wellness as well as mental growth and spiritual development. Share this blog with at least 10 other people that you think would benefit from this discussion.
Written by Dr. RL Kight for Mind Power Solutions. Visit www.mindpowersolutions.com and let us know if you like.