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Just One Habit Can Change Your Trajectory

Just One Habit Can Change Your Trajectory

Kona was my first glimpse into the sport of triathlon. It was where I first gained a curiosity and a love for the sport. Every year I would set aside the day to watch the Ironman World Championships on TV. I would block the day with my family, and mark myself as unavailable for all except being able to watch the championships. I usually did a long ride that day, had a fantastic breakfast, and treated myself to watching some unbelievably talented athletes. In the professional race, I marveled at their speed, and ability to push beyond perceived limits, I dissected their different race tactics…. I watched their every move and thought to myself “I can do that!!”. Then I go back, pour over my numbers, do the math, and laugh at myself. I loved watching the athletes run down the red carpet with a renewed spirit, listening to the excitement from the crowds, the drums, the ocean waves, and Mike Reilly calling them to the most amazing finish line on earth. The midnight hour was always my favorite time of day, constantly being awestruck and inspired by every individual athlete, their perseverance, and dedication to the sport, with the focus purely on reaching their dreams and goals. I would always end the day with some silent goal-setting for myself, a goal, that on the surface seemed very simple, Get to the Ironman World Championships.

 I also knew something about myself and my circumstances at the time. My life was busy, I was a wife, and a mom of 4 girls, 2 of whom have serious cognitive and physical differences. I also knew, that although I am a competitive person it is mainly with myself, my internal drive was solid. I would find myself delving into my data, researching training methods, and just enjoying the process. Invariably life would happen, I would forget why I was pushing myself to places of frustration, and I would find myself wondering why I thought I could do Ironman distance races in the first place. The six inches between my ears would take over, it would repeatedly tell me why I could not. I would get frustrated at myself, and invariably find myself stuck in not knowing why I could not get where I needed to be. I would soon forget about my dream of Kona and just go through the motions of the workouts I was given.

 When plans do not seem to go according to plan….

I don’t think it is unfair to say that training for a 70.3, a 140.6, or any endurance event can be lonely. We often find ourselves alone in long workouts, with only the space between our ears and our thoughts. We get tired and rundown, and with the added stress we start to doubt our ability and question our Why’s.

How can we keep an eye on our big life goals?

I recently attended a business coaching conference, where I was reminded of the importance of developing a clear, simple, and concise plan based on your values and dreams This not only helps you remain focused but can translate as a road map to your dreams. One of the biggest takeaways was the idea of blocking 15-30 minutes in your calendar DAILY to review, visualize, and plan. Think of it as your personal business plan to reach your dreams of becoming an Ironman. It forces you to start your day with clarity and develop a healthy mindset with focus and confidence. Doing this daily will keep your pathway clear and help you overcome obstacles to your success. This allows you to head into your day and get shit done to its fullest potential. This time is yours not only to revisit and cement your long-term goals but also importantly to journal any thoughts, and assess your body metrics, nutrition, sleep and stress required for the day. It not only helps you stay on track but also reminds you that yesterday is past and today is something that you have complete control over. Your negative self-talk does not get to continue into today. By developing a daily routine of reviewing your daily goals, dreams allow you to pivot easily, when life happens. It builds patience and coping mechanisms required to get through the tough parts. It gives you a purposeful moment to remind yourself of your constant forward movement even when you are feeling stuck.

Question yourself on the purpose of the workouts. If nutrition is an issue, what do you need to focus on in any workout or on that day to achieve that goal? You need to be very clear on your future focus so that small changes can lead to bigger changes. It allows you to see your growth in areas you did not expect. It grounds your thoughts every morning with a clear mindset on what to do today and why.

As a coach, I find myself constantly talking to my athletes about their reasons for starting triathlon in the first place. Once we discover the path to our dreams and remind ourselves of Why we wanted this in the first place. it allows us to revisit, understand, and shift negative mindsets before the day starts. It brings awareness to how precarious our mindset is to small changes in nutrition, sleep, and stress. These are just some of the reasons our brain jumps to “I can’t “, which translates quickly into a downward spiral of negativity.

My focus this year as a coach is to help guide you into realizing your own dreams and goals, by creating a living, breathing document that is constantly under review. Provide the tools for daily reminders of where you are now, and why you started triathlon in the beginning. I want to be a part of helping athletes learn to focus on the things they have control over and those they do not on any given day. My goal is to change coaching to become about learning and discovering new growth within ourselves and working together to find solutions maintain a growth mindset and stay focused on getting you to the finish line of your dreams. I want to be a part of helping you realize you have the power within you. Ask your coach about working to rediscover your living document of dreams, goals, and more importantly YOUR reasons for the goals this year.

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