Elite South African trail runner and Suunto athlete Meg MacKenzie also works as a coach, helping runners to develop the mental skills required to achieve their dreams. She writes below about drawing on the power of commitment.
© Sven Musica
As the trail running season gets closer runners sometimes overcommit to too many events or don't fully commit to any. Both result in half-hearted goals that may or may not be reached. My advice is to think carefully and commit to one or two really important goal races with 100% whole heartedness. Here’s how!
IMT (inspiring, moving and touching)
Choose an event that is inspiring, moving and touching. Choosing an event to commit to 100% requires that it’s an exciting for you. Otherwise your discipline is bound to waver; you will begin to look at other races. Choose wisely and dream big! Make sure it is out of your comfort zone by about 20%. More than this and you may be overwhelmed. Less than this, and it’ll be too easy.
Use the power of speech
There is very real power in our words when we talk with others. We have the ability to create what we desire through our word by using it as an action. A speech act is a verbal declaration of what one is committing to, and by when. For it to be effective, it should be a clear, strong and specific commitment:
“I promise to …”
“I commit to …”
“I shall …”
Avoid weak sentences:
“I want to …”
“I would like to …”
Whatever you verbally commit to must be followed by a clear goal about by when it will become a reality. For example: “I commit to running a sub 3h30m marathon on October 12, 2016.” This is much clearer, and more specific than: “I’ll try to do my best at the marathon.” Another good example might be: “I will lose 3kg by May 30 this year” as opposed to: “I’ll try to lose weight.” Be specific!
© Sven Musica
As people, we constantly try to find reasons as to why things happen to us. Perhaps we keep getting injured, and we look for something to blame. Or our running buddy keeps bailing and then we feel our lack of fitness is his or her fault. The more A type personalities out there might find a convenient reason to justify why they didn’t stick to a rest day. The list is endless! It’s crucial to simply accept and take responsibility for your actions, whatever they are. When you can do this fully, imagine the power your commitments have!
© Sven Musica
Watch the little things
Your subconscious mind is a super powerful recording device that remembers all the times you have or haven’t done what you said you would do. It doesn’t record the excuses, and whether they are legit or not. If you promised to go to gym at 6am but you press snooze and go at 6.30 this is recorded and your integrity is compromised. Likewise, if you promise to meet a friend for coffee at 11am and you get there at 11:05, it’s recorded as a time when you broke your word. These add up and impact your overall integrity or character. The gist is, how can you expect yourself to reach your BIG goals if you cannot trust yourself with little ones? They are directly related, so keep a check on your integrity. It’s the fuel behind the power of your word.