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Forget the Numbers to Get the Numbers

As a competitive runner with my own set of neurosis, it’s a trend-topic on runs to explore the notion of goal-development and whether or not (depending on that day or that week) it seems obtainable. It takes a lot of energy, faith and mental acuity to really believe in the goal day in and day out. There will be “off” days, which isn’t the problem. The problem is that most of us tend to focus on the “off” days as more indicative of the outcome, believing they are where our true abilities lie. Maybe it’s easier for us to believe in how we may perform at our worst, than it is to fully buy into how we could be at our best. Perhaps because it’s more rewarding to be right than it is to be wrong; it’s more rewarding to be right about our fears, or to prove ourselves wrong by surpassing them, than it is to set a lofty goal and not obtain it.

Sometimes we are unnecessarily focused on the extraneous aspects of our goals, the little pieces to the puzzle you can’t get a good grasp on. You put all your energy into why it is that you can’t, instead of acknowledging it as a part of the process. You don’t have to understand, you just have to accept that there isn’t one way to the goal.

Maybe we need to be a little more process oriented as opposed to outcome oriented. It’s hard for me to keep faith that the same woman who gets out of bed with stiff legs, hips, arms and sore feet is the same person that can successfully attempt an Olympic Trials qualifier in a few months. But I have to, because if I don’t, I’m closing the door before I’m even standing before it. No one can predict what’s about to happen, yet we practice every day to embody the kind of person we’re going to be in the future, that future race, that goal. You have a less-than-your-best workout, a night of bad sleep, take a weekend off to enjoy a Dave Matthews Festival, and all of a sudden all your confidence is displaced. You think you might have lost something when you weren’t 100% focused or 100% capable. I think that it’s in these stiff, less-than and distracted-from-the-goal moments that you build upon a part of the tenacious, goal-oriented self that oftentimes goes unrecognized. It’s a part of the process, something you forgot to use to your benefit. In a Runner’s World article entitled, Get Your Running In Focus, S. Kirk Walsh writes,
Becoming aware of the messages that encourage you to quit or slow down can help you work through them, according to Kabat-Zinn. Ask yourself if these messages are coming from your body or from your head. Separate your actual physical need to slow your pace from your mind’s attraction to the idea of doing so. Instead of holding onto thoughts like I’m tired or I can’t go on much longer, let them pass through your mind rather than turning them over and over again. ‘If you accept these thoughts as the truth, they have an influence over you,’ Kabat-Zinn says. ‘If you just see them as thoughts, they are like little bubbles in a stream. They come and they go–and they burst. They won’t have influence over your performance.’”

(For the full article:

What Walsh and Kabat-Zinn seem to say is don’t believe everything you think. Don’t throw in the towel on a goal because there are blips in the process. Learn to look at the blips as emotional hiccups. “They come and they go-and they burst. They won’t have influence over your performance…” Believe in the process.

Noble Chiropractic
119 Grand Ave
Bellingham, WA 98225
(360) 671-7067

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