It has been a difficult week.
Balancing day-to-day life with a challenging period of time at work has seen a shift in my running pattern that has led to my not having met my weekly target for this time in the week. Don't get me wrong, it isn't a life-altering disaster but for those who are reading this who do regularly exercise, you will know what I mean when I write that I feel a little off kilter.
This morning typified my current state of mind. I overslept, and pondered heavily about the pros as to not sliding into my running leggings and going out for a run. The warmth and comfort of my bed versus the cold and (initial) discomfort of acclimatising to the body moving at pace; there was only one winner in the end. That's right; I jumped up, donned the gear and got moving!
Well, to be fair, it wasn't quite like that. I didn't exactly jump up. It was really more of a stumble, stretch and puff of the cheeks. And then the morning routine started. I set off for work; parked up and did a swift 4 miles. I was done, showered and at my desk for 8am.
How? I can only put it down to motivation. An intrinsic desire and need to exercise. It's not a 'have to' - it's a 'want to.'
In my experience of running and developing a routine, it is a fear of a negative consequence that helps to drive through those mornings like today. A need and a want to run to avoid that negative consequence. As humans, we surround ourselves in life with things that we believe we have to do. These maintain order and purpose, but often appear to have little joy and we have little choice. I disagree.
Everything is a choice and for most, we do so to avoid a negative consequence. Therefore, what we perceive as being a 'have to' is really a 'want to.'
For example; I, like most people I assume, don't like paying my bills. However, I have to. Don't I? Don't you? The thing is, if I don't pay my bills, I will lose my utilities and the bailiffs will be round when I don't keep up the mortgage payments. This, is therefore a negative consequence I want to avoid. The key world being, 'want.' So, in other words, I really want to pay my bills as this allows me to keep up the payments I need for the utilities I rely on.
So, I tell myself to put a smile on my face, get the bills paid and utilise the things I pay my hard-earned money for. Make a list of all the things in life that you believe that you have to do, and think of the negative consequence that you avoid by doing them. Turn the 'have to' into a 'want to' and switch your mindset. It really is liberating.
This principle, as researched and developed by The Pacific Institute, is a mindset I have continuously tried to harbour and use to enhance my motivation for, amongst other aspects of my life, running. My want to run is enhanced by a number factors; my want to enhance my child's understanding of the importance of exercise; my want to inspire my child to push his limits and achieve what is his potential; my want to maintain a healthy life balance. It's all a 'want to,' not a 'have to.'
Try it for yourselves. Maybe it will have an effect that may just be the key to unlocking your own potential.