Taking ownership of yourself, your dreams, your belonging
and seeing then how your life will follow…
January… a great month, a fresh start and for many, a time to quit bad habits, redefine “me” time, plan new conquests – a new hobby or just a bigger better goal than those of 2016. The leisure market is vast these days, full of exciting things to try from endurance events, tough mudder challenges, bubble runs, too many to mention, but all of which require some mental strength, as well as the more obvious muscle power.
So I’m sure I am not the only one to sit down during the Christmas holidays, after a large pinot grigio and think, “I know what I’m going to do in 2017…… it will challenge me, make me stronger, fitter, etc, etc…”
Not that many years ago, by the time I reached the middle of the month, my challenges would be waning, thoughts would creep in like…. “What was I thinking, why did I book this, I’m too fat, not fit enough, never will do it,” and how stupid was I for thinking I could even attempt to!
Thankfully this is a far cry from me today! In 2016 I achieved my dream, I swam the English Channel, having not swum until the last 2 years for 36 years following on from a serious road accident, aged 12, which almost stole my left leg from me. My swimming went on hold. I was left with a psychological barrier which I hadn’t learnt how to conquer of having to bare my legs, and ugly scars, if I wanted to swim. So I stopped swimming for 36 long years – I realise now how foolish I was to put my interests on hold for so long.
Whatever we do, we encounter barriers, at work, we resolve matters, work through them because that’s our job. So why is it so difficult in our own precious lives to do the same? See an opportunity, grasp it, live the dream and reap the satisfaction of our achievement. Today, I want to tell you that you, yes YOU, can do anything you set my mind to. Let me give you my top 10 tips to grasping your goal and living your dream:
Let creative energy surge through you and open your eyes to new opportunities. Have ambition – be inquisitive, try new things, its the only way you discover what you want to do. Everyone has their own inhibitions, leave yours behind every once in a while you will discover all sorts. Remember, if you change nothing, life will stay the same!
Realise your goal
Write it down on a post it, in big letters, whichever – just make it visible, documented, make it real, and believe it’s yours!
Be realistic – create a plan
Break your it down into manageable chunks, you may have multiple stages in reaching your goal – each one is a stepping stone to success on your journey. Mine was to swim the English Channel (that wasn’t going to happen overnight!) I discovered open water swimming, entered smaller swims, organised a relay and then worked on my endurance for 2016. Of course, you may have your first events planned already?
Get ready to work. “Nothing great is easy”
Where would the challenge be if we didn’t have to invest – time, effort, money, commitment. Research your goal, schedule time and be committed to your goals (I say goals as there will be more than one along the way remember.)
Communicate with others
Look for local groups, meet up with others who share your interests, join a club, post on social media, talk to people who have drive and ambition and have conquered similar things – most are all too happy to talk to you about their experiences and it’s always much more fun training with a friend you can spur one another on because it won’t always be easy to finish work on time or get out from in front of the TV – but the chances are if you still do your planned workout you will be pleased with yourself.
Monitor your progress
There is an app for more or less everything in life – take advantage of free social media tools. And if you choose not to be technical whizz a paper diary/calendar is fine. Structure and summarise your sessions – a brief resume of what you did, conditions, date, time, how you felt before and after, even during – you may identify patterns in your routine which you can then plan for, save things tripping you up next time. Also remember to listen to your body, a lost session or two won’t have any great impact so if you do feel unwell, then maybe you need to rest but be honest to yourself. You are superior to poor judgement and actions now.
Believe in yourself
Absolutely 100% more than anything else. Own your goal. Say I am, I will, I do….. and not I want, I might, I’ll try. Be positive even when things are tough, don’t let life’s little interruptions deny your belief. You are strong – you know it was never going to be easy, and if it was there is no challenge. Expect to have to fight your mind some days, and expect nothing less than a win.
Practice, plan and play
Visualise your event, have a disaster plan, ie, a puncture in a cycle race – be prepared, carry kit, know how to use it – always have a plan in your head ready to tackle any unexpected barriers. Know in your mind you are mentally prepared for these and able to cope with – it will leave one thing less to worry about on the day – you will go out with great confidence. As part of your play visualise the finish line, the medal, reward at the end. The burst of excitement, exhaustion, success and pride that you will experience all rolled into one. Nobody can ever take that feeling away from you.
Contemplate what to do next
Is your goal bigger and better? Is it a total change of direction? There is nothing wrong with success, and realising that really you would rather learn to crochet, but the chances are you will grow from strength to strength.
Finally, should the worse happen, and it does happen to the best of us sometimes, learn from your experience, identify what you can do better, don’t ever give up. The only failure in life is “Fear Of” because then you never really discover what you enjoy and what you are really capable of.
Christine has been nominated amongst 17 inspirational world class athletes for the Yorkshire Choice Award (Sporting Achievement category.) If you have found this article helpful please cast your vote, and share with family and friends. Awards are by public vote and voting closes on 1st March, so every single vote is appreciated https://www.yorkshirechoiceawards.co.uk/votehere
You can read about Christine’s Channel swim in her blog
Christine can also be contacted via her Swimease facebook page should you be interested in swim tuition/coaching, open water/triathlon training or motivational speaking.