Marathons and sprints

At some point in your life you’ll be faced with the decision of taking a break or keep pushing on.

When you’re running a marathon you know from the beginning that you have to pace yourself for the long haul.

But often we live our lives like it’s a sprint. We want the end goal too quickly without being committed for the long haul. Then you run out of steam before you’ve reached your goal and end up feeling like you can’t go on.

Good things take time so, slow down, be patient and focus on the journey more than the goal.

You need to do better

Think of something that you’re currently working on and ask yourself with no judgement, can I do better?

When you’re not getting what you want out of life and things aren’t quite going your way, it’s easy to blame external things.

But sometimes the reason things aren’t working out is because you need to do better.

Maybe you’ve gotten lazy or maybe you weren’t aware of the effort required.

Once you’ve realised you need to do better, do better.

Yes, it really is that simple.

Two steps back

When you feel like you’re making progress having to then take a step back is a big deal. It feels like you’ve wasted your efforts but more importantly time that you can’t get back.

But if you change your perspective, those steps back could actually be a good thing.

Perhaps you were heading down an unhelpful path and now gain clarity.

I think the main thing is to understand that a setback doesn’t stop you from reaching your end goal it just changes the path you take to get there.

Overcoming a lack of confidence

So often we rely on being confident before we do something without knowing how we’ll get there or how it will feel.

But when it comes to overcoming a lack of confidence, it only takes a willingness to be outside of your comfort zone long enough to get more comfortable.

One day you’ll have the confidence to do whatever it is without the nerves. Then, maybe after a few months you’ll find yourself volunteering to do the thing that once scared you.

Changing long-term plans

Most of us have some idea of where we’d like to be in 5, 10 maybe even 20 years time.

But sometimes the gap between now and then, is pretty hazy.

You know what you want but you’re not quite sure how you’ll get there.

And sometimes long-term plans change.

Maybe you happened to find something you care for more than what you’re currently trying to pursue. Maybe you realised that you don’t really want the thing you were working for. Or maybe you just feel like like doing something new.

For many people they actually end up having a better sense of direction when they change their plans. The gap becomes a little less hazy.

The reason for this is changing plans is a risk and they want it to be worth it.

Useless criticism

If you have something bad to say about something but have nothing to say when it comes to how it could be better. I think that it’s a useless criticism.

It’s easy to be a critic or to complain about the way that something is but what’s the point if you can’t even offer a solution.

It’s far more useful and far more helpful to say ‘I don’t think this works very well but here’s what I think would work better…’, rather than just saying ‘That’s not a good idea’.

I think what a person says comes down to their intention to speaking up. Do you just enjoy complaining or do you want to try and find a way to make things better?

And on the 7th day…

The creator of the habit loop determined that in order to change a habit you needed to change your routine. For example, drinking a glass of water when you crave a cigarette.

For the past 7 days I’ve been working to undo a habit. I didn’t consciously replace it with anything but I suppose I could say I’ve been writing instead.

By the time I got to the 7th day I found I had little interest in carrying out the habit I’d been trying to undo.

It served as a reminder that sometimes we get so caught up in doing things that we believe we’re stuck or that it will be a hard habit to break.

Granted this doesn’t apply to everything but I think it’s fair to say that not all habits are difficult to break.

Welcoming normal

I think what many are craving is a sense of ‘normal’, the way things once were.

If you’re lucky, normal might have been just fine but it’s worth acknowledging that that’s not the case for everyone.

Of course the easy thing to do would be nothing and just let things go back to what they were, after all you don’t have any issues.

I think that’s the mindset that limits us and stops progress.

We’re so afraid that better for them means worse for us that we’re willing to let them suffer.

It might not be so explicit in your mind but if you take some time you might realise that’s the reason behind your mindset.

Slow progress

There’s a popular saying that goes ‘Slow progress is better than no progress’. I totally agree.

What we often do is rush because we want progress to be quick.

Perhaps this is because slow progress doesn’t feel like moving forward in the moment. It’s only, in a few weeks or months time that you’re able to see how far you’ve come.

This idea of choosing to rush instead of embracing slow progress can be applied to many scenarios, one of which is procrastination.

Dedicating a few days to get something done is often much more appealing than spending a few weeks doing something bit by bit.

But often we don’t have a few days spare, just a few moments each week.

And the great thing about slow progress is that it helps build a habit of long term commitment.

On the other hand when you rush you’re relying on adrenaline and cortisol, what your body releases as a response to stress which is great in the short-tun but not something you want to make a habit out of.

Looking back

When you experience a mood change from sad to happy it’s easy to find yourself looking back.

Perhaps you do so because you remember what it was like to feel sad and you remember that you didn’t think it would pass. But now all of a sudden here you are with a smile on your face, feeling like a whole new you.

Looking back is a reminder that the difficult times don’t last forever even if in the moment we sometimes forget.