There’s nothing new about the concept of the mind having power over our results. The placebo effect shows that if we give attention to something we can get better. If we believe we can run further or faster, then we can. If we believe we’ll beat our personal best (PB), then we will.
In 1954 Roger Bannister proved a mile could be run in under 4 minutes. Up until he broke that record, no one believed it was possible, but just 46 days later someone else ran a similar time and then lots of people went on to do the same. He’d shown it was possible.
Possibility is where our success lies. Tony Robbins talks about certainty. How certain are you that you can beat that PB?
Pick your goal. Maybe it’s completing 9 miles a week, maybe it’s running a marathon. Tip: start with something small: your next big step — a bit of a stretch, but something you believe (on a good day) is possible. So, for me running a marathon seems completely impossible, but 9 miles in a week would be a good stretch.
Think about what you’ll have to do to achieve this. Break it down into specific, measurable actions. For example, mine might be:
- Get up 30 minutes early on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
- No alcohol on Monday, Wednesday or Friday
- Text Ellie (accountability buddy) my goals for each run (and text her when achieved)
- Get the nurse in on Saturday to look after the cat (hubby away)
- Book massage for late morning Saturday
You see I’ve included practical things, an accountability strategy and a reward. What might yours be?
So, that’s the planning, now what about the mind stuff? Tap into your feelings. If you want to feel exhilarated and powerful (rather than exhausted and cheesed off) imagine that. Vividly using your senses, imagine getting to the end of your run (or race, or whatever your goal is) feeling exhilarated and powerful.
- What do you see (e.g. your front door)?
- What do you hear (e.g. birdsong and your own breathing)?
- What do you smell (e.g. flowers in your garden / next door’s bonfire)?
- What can you taste (e.g. cool water as you swig from your bottle)?
- What are the tactile sensations (e.g. cool water running into your tummy / cool breeze on the skin of your face, arms and legs as your sweat begins to evaporate / dull, but pleasant throbbing of your blood as you’ve come to a stop)?
- Finally, what are the emotions (e.g. exhilarated, proud, happy, calm, energised…)?
Record this in vivid detail (write it down, create a collage / mood board, record an audio of your describing it… whatever works for you) and refer to this regularly so it becomes real for your mind.
What else? Where do you record your performance? In a smart phone app or training diary? Imagine yourself recording your desired figures (again in vivid sensory detail). How does that feel? What else might you do to make your desired future outcome feel real in the present moment?